As most people are aware, six sigma is a concept of process measurement and improvement used by many companies around the world. The goal in any six sigma process is to have no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. An opportunity is any specific task which is performed. It could be anything from the manufacturing of a product to the helping of a customer. To improve a process and remove defects the program helps design methodologies which standardize different tasks.
If it is possible to perform a task in the exact same way every single time than there is very little risk of errors or missed opportunities. This process can be applied to virtually any tasks and has nearly universally accepted as a great goal for quality assurance in nearly any type of industry. When looking for ways to improve a process to the point where it is considered six sigma approved, however, it may be smart to use other strategies combined with those laid out in the six sigma concepts and principles.
Lean & Six Sigma
In many manufacturing facilities combining the lean manufacturing strategies with the six sigma quality standards can quickly help identify problems and eliminate them. Finding where the waste is occurring in any process and cutting it out will help to standardize a process which will further reduce the risk for defects. It is simple to see how the combination of the lean manufacturing and six sigma can be extremely valuable for a wide range of different facilities.
Lean standards are typically focused in manufacturing facilities, though they can be used in other situations. Six sigma is more widely adopted, but it is extremely useful for manufacturing which is why it can be so beneficial when combined with the lean concepts. Each facility will want to implement these strategies in the way which works best for them, but while still staying within the general guidelines of both the lean and six sigma standards which have been proven over time.
5S & Six Sigma
While it may be a mouthful to say, 5S and the six sigma strategies also go hand in hand for many facilities. Improving the efficiency of any process will almost always reduce any defects. The just in time methodology is also extremely valuable when it comes to meeting the goals of a six sigma standard since it greatly reduces the amount of potential defects in any one area.
While commonly thought of as very different concepts six sigma and these other strategies should actually be used together to help improve the way a facility functions. Depending on the size and scope of a given facility a single individual can be responsible for all of these different strategies. If, however, a different person is primarily responsible for each of them it is important that they work together to ensure the success of each of these processes. Since there is so much overlap in these different strategies it can be very helpful for everyone to focus on similar projects to get the best results.