There’s a lot to learn when you’re new to Lean Six Sigma, and lots of strange words and concepts. People start talking about Muda (waste), 5S (keeping an orderly workplace) and DMAIC (process improvement), and it can easily seem like a foreign language. People speak about them as if they’re obvious terms, when sometimes you need explaining from the start.
What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is about improving processes, and is applicable to all businesses. It aims to reduce the number of issues in your processes which cost you time, money and customers. It has its origins in manufacturing, but can be applied to all sorts of businesses, where you want to remove error and mistakes which affect productivity. Six Sigma as a term means that 99.9997% of what you produce is free from defects (3.4 errors per million operations).
Why use Six Sigma?
A lot of modern businesses are full of waste and error. 1 in 1000 is a very small amount of error compared to most companies. Is it OK if 0.1% of operations go wrong, is it OK if 0.1% of bank transfers to go wrong? When customers can choose suppliers from all the countries of the world, will they be happy with 0.1% of your product being useless. Or will they pick one which won’t give them regular problems?
Six Sigma is a tried and tested method to remove this error and variance from your company. It will save your company time, money and greatly improve your reputation with your customers.
Why become a Six Sigma Black Belt?
Being a Six Sigma black belt makes you more valuable on the job market, opening up more jobs to you, and increasing your earning potential. Even without being in a Six Sigma organisation, or having it as part of your job title, you can learn skills and techniques that can save you time, and your organisation money.
Where to Start?
Sometimes the hardest thing is the first step, so where’s the best place to start when getting to know Six Sigma? If you want to work out which level you want to reach, you could start by looking at the different Six Sigma belts. If you want to dive straight in and do a project, I’d personally go for DMAIC, which is the core part of a lot of Six Sigma methodology. For more of a browse, there’s the Tools page to have a look around, and it might be worth having the terminology tab open for if I’ve accidentally used some unfamiliar jargon (or if your colleagues at work do).