November 25, 2017

Process Improvement using Six Sigma

Process improvement using six sigma was actually the most exciting course I have ever attended. Before starting the module, I was not aware of the Six Sigma approach and its usability in minimising variation and wastes within a process.

In the first week we focused mostly on the theoretical part of SS. The outcome of our presentation topic in SS & SoPK, gave emphasis on the fact that although SS is a data driven approach focusing on process improvement, including the appreciation of a system, theory of knowledge & variation, it fails to address the psychological part (people, leadership, motivation, teamwork, involvement), which is considered the most crucial part in the successfulness of a process (95% of the projects fail due to socioemotional issues).

As concerns the presentation on SS & the successful factors for a project, the three main aspects are centred around process improvement using the DMAIC cycle, the environment/culture within the organisation promoting improvement, as well as the socioemotional issues play an equal role.

Teamwork building and the collaboration between people with completely different backgrounds and viewpoints was also a major lesson throughout this course.

In the second week, we engaged in more practical activities, as well as the application of what we had learned so far, in real examples. The airplane case study was really fun and the lessons from that was that the interaction between hierarchy of a team/organisation is a crucial matter, since the reason why the other team “lost”, was due to lack of effective communication, rather that the process, or peoples’ abilities itself.

The helicopter experiment, gave us an insight of how common cause can be minimised, through Taguchi’s principles. Once again, this active style of learning (learning by doing), practically illustrates the use of those theories in a rewarding way.

Last but not least, all of the three guest lecturers, who illustrated real life example of Six Sigma applications within successful organisations, gave us the opportunity to view the procedure followed depending on each organisations’ scope.

PIUSS I’ll miss you!

March 2023

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