From a practical viewpoint, it is very essential to generate a master deployment plan as a road map throughout the Six Sigma implementation cycle. The master plan can be developed and divided into four phases: measure, analyze, improve, and control phases.
The detailed steps for each phase are described as follows:
- Define Phase
- Measure Phase
- Analyze Phase
- Improve Phase
- Control Phase
The essence of Six Sigma is to solve problems that are impacting business. The process of improvements starts immediately with the “Define” step. When a Six Sigma project in a firm is launched, goals are chalked out to have an idea about the degree of satisfaction among customers. These goals are further broken up into secondary goals such as cycle time reduction, cost reduction, or defect reduction.
- The Define Phase comprises of base lining and benchmarking the process that needs improvement.
- Further goals/sub-goals are specified and the infrastructure to accomplish these goals is established.
- An assessment of changes in the organization is also taken into consideration.
Top management plays a very important role in the entire Six Sigma deployment processes. Therefore it is very important that in the initial phase of implementation of the Six-Sigma program, it should be fully accepted by the employees and they should show full commitment towards the steps of improvement. In the initial phase, development of a thorough infrastructure would help the functioning of the deployment process, and manage the implementation process. This phase should be developed as follows:
Establish Leadership Commitment and Involvement
- The Six Sigma implementation processes must involve the top-level management. Total commitment and involvement must be there throughout the implementation process.
- Senior management must assign a Management Champion to lead the Six Sigma implementation and make him the authoritative head for the entire Six Sigma project in the organization.
- The Top management is responsible for forming a Six Sigma Core Team. The Management Champion heads the Core Team.
- The main role of the Core Team is to develop and manage the Six Sigma implementation and to assure the readiness of the organization for the implementation.
- Assistance can be taken from experienced quality facilitators for the implementation process, especially for SMEs (small and medium enterprises)
- The facilitators coaches the Core team in deploying Six Sigma implementation and in providing necessary training for all Six Sigma project participants.
- To understand the benefits and general approach of the Six Sigma implementation, the top management and the core team should attend an overview on Six Sigma.
- The Core Team should attend the training on Six Sigma development, deployment, and management.
- Reviews must be scheduled periodically in the initial stages of the Six Sigma program including the defining, developing, and implementing.
- The top management must be informed about the activities involved in the Six Sigma implementation.
Form a Core Team
- Team up with outside Quality Facilitators
- Provide Six Sigma Deployment Training
- Schedule Periodic Top Management Reviews
In this phase, the gaps are identified between current process performance and the business goals. The gaps are further transformed into improvement projects, and an integrated system is established to support the implementation.
Define Business Goals based on Organization’s Strategic Plan
- The organization’s purpose, structure, and flow, including interfaces with other organizations and primary customers must be fully known by the Core team.
- It is very important to understand the corporate policies and procedures that affect the Six Sigma Quality Management System (QMS).
- The short-term and long-term business goals must be defined by the Core team. These goals must be based upon the organization’s strategic plan.
- It is important to identify the overall process of the organization, showing how products or services are created and supplied to the customers.
- The Core Team must perform a high-level “gap analysis”.
- After the performance, the gap analysis results have to be further reviewed by top management.
- Identify the Existing Processes Performance
Define Six Sigma Improvement Projects
The scope and the goals of Six Sigma improvement projects are defined based on the “gap analysis”, which should include: process management, human resource development, training system, quality tools, supplier management, and customer management.
Create Performance Measures for all Six Sigma Projects
- The detailed performance measures for all Six Sigma projects are defined based upon the gap analysis.
- These performance measures should be consolidated into an organizational information system.
- The organizational information system is enhanced in order to provide the information about individual project progress and the overall Six Sigma implementation performances.
- An incentive/recognition system is essential to Six Sigma implementation.
- Top management is responsible for designing a system to motivate employees in the Six Sigma implementation.
Establish an Incentive/Recognition System
In this phase the improvement project teams are composed to provide Six Sigma project-related training to the team members. As the progression of the projects take place, it is important to constantly monitor the status of each project.
Form the Six Sigma Project Teams
- The Six Sigma project teams are composed by the Core Team.
- The Six Sigma project teams are responsible for the delivering of the project goals assigned to each project.
Plan and Provide Six Sigma Training to Members of Project Teams
It is very important to develop a training plan and strategy, and provide further training to all members of Six Sigma project teams.
The training plan should focus on: Six Sigma overview, measure-analyze-improve-control (MAIC) discipline, and utilization of quality tools.
Implement the Six Sigma Projects
Project teams should evaluate the existing processes and proceed with the MAIC discipline.
In this stage, the existing systems are measured. The potential critical processes/products are identified and described.
In this stage, the system is to be analyzed to identify ways to eliminate the gap between the current performance of the system or process and the desired goal.
In this stage, the improved outcome is measured to determine whether the revised method produces results within customer expectations.
In this stage, the new system is controlled and the original problems are stopped from recurring.
Monitor and Review the Status of each Project
- The Core teams should obtain inputs of each project on an ongoing basis, to monitor and review the status of each of them.
- The Core Team provides directions and support to the Six Sigma project teams.
The main aim of the Control Phase is to appraise the performance of the processes, to ascertain the level of success of each project, to adjust the business strategic plan, and re-start the implementation cycle.
Audit the Projects’ Results
After the projects are completed, the results of the completed projects are audited by the Core Team and top management.
The improved systems have to be maintained.
Institutionalize the Improved System
Policies, procedures, operating instructions, and other management systems are modified, to institutionalize the improved system.
Apply the Incentive/Recognition System
The appropriate incentive and recognition is applied to the project team members based on the project performances.
Apply Continuous Improvement Mechanism
The organizations, strategic plans and related action plans are revised according to the project performance. Therefore the new Six Sigma projects are derived from the revised strategic plan.