Six Sigma: a Solution for all Companies?

Several managers are interested in the Six Sigma method. Some want to apply this methodology without even knowing what needs it meets. The topic is not only known 

by most project managers but his addressed in several articles that do not actually help managers to determine if the method meets their needs. 

Six Sigma in brief: 

Six Sigma is a quality management tool that aims to reduce the variability of products and services. More precisely, this tool co

nsists of all the elements of a process being found in an interval that is at most 6 Sigma away from the overall average. Reducing the variability reduces the possibility of errors or non-compliance with t

he recipient’s requirements. Instead of fixing errors, this method aims to produce in the manner expected from the first time. It provides organizations with tools to optimize their processes and reduce defects. 


Elements to consider: 

To apply this method, it is important to be able to measure the process in question. We must also consider that Six Sigma is a long process that must be learned to master. Therefore, it is important to entrust this change to professionals in continuous improvement. There are several criteria to consider before thinking about implementing Six Sigma: 

Available time 

Implementing Six Sigma in business processes takes time and is not suitable for short-term improvement needs. 

Investment capacity 

The application of the Six Sigma method is generally expensive since it requires the purchase of equipment, the training of employees and the restructuring of certain processes. However, the return on investment is usually very high when the method is well established. 

Business culture 

Openness to change and the commitment of management are essential to implement this method. We must also look at the level of employee engagement. For example, if employees are not motivated, dissatisfied, or do not realize the expected benefits from their work, it is difficult to implement Six Sigma properly and efficiently. In this case, the solution is found on the one hand in terms of human resources. All members of the organization must be ready to understand and participate in the establishment of Six Sigma. 

There are several other quality management and continuous improvement tools and each respond to a need. 

  • Kaizen: increase the efficiency of processes and eliminate wastage
  • 5S: organize the work environment
  • VSM: mapping processes to facilitate decision-making on change
  • SMED: decrease the time of change of the production lines
  • Kanban: getting the right materials at the right time to reduce shortages and costs

The Lean Six Sigma approach combines many of these tools to promote the quality of products and processes to eliminate waste. Stay tuned for our next publications to find out more. 

Implementing a continuous improvement approach successfully requires a lot of knowledge and multidisciplinary know-how. Before investing time and money, it is important to consult professionals in the field. By entrusting this improvement project to consultants specialized in operational management, you avoid overburdening your project managers who already have mandates to achieve. This also ensures that your project is in good hands with industrial engineering professionals. 

Consult an expert at Groupe Clermont Conseil to better understand the needs of your organization.