All entries for Thursday 07 January 2010

January 07, 2010


During the period I was working on my PMA, I can say that my work experience in manufacturing is very poor; as I worked all these years in the financial sector, therefore in consider this learning process as a very rich source of knowledge, wherein I try to link all my previous experience with what I learnt in the lecture. As an accountant I would have never taken in consideration the idea of standardizing processes to improve the working system as Six Sigma suggests, all of the departments I have worked for are very independent from each other, even though in theory they should work as a collaborative entity, the reality can be completely different, and now I see the importance of working together for the same goal.

Six Sigma in all areas

Six Sigma is a tool which boosts efficiency and effectiveness of all processes and operations within any organization (William Truscott, 2003), not only for the manufacturing sector, but any company pretending to set improvement programmes to become a world-class organization. Nowadays, even service firms are also implementing this tool to boost performance in all departments (Biolos, 2003). Companies are executing the six sigma approach for everything, from health services operations to enhancing accounts receivables (especially in the health sector as variation has to be almost zero for obvious reasons), from the financial area to the legal department. However, Six Sigma might need some adjustments as it does not work for every service process, but it is still applicable for any area.

Biolos, J. (2003). Six Sigma Meets the Service Economy- Six Sigma: It’s not just for Manufacturing. Retrieved December 20, 2009, from the Harvard Business School website:

Truscott, W. (2003). Six Sigma: Continual Improvement for Businesses, USA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

six sigma–key elements

Key Elements of Six Sigma

Pande et al considers six critical ingredients to successfully achieve Six Sigma implementation within an organization, and these are:

1.                 Genuine focus on the customer

This is a priority factor in Six Sigma. As previously stated, it is necessary to measure customer satisfaction to calculate defects per unit produced. Therefore, the organization needs to define the customer requirements and the processes that conduct to achieve satisfaction, in this manner, the company can hold control over its processes and will be able to keep a customer. 

2.                 Data-and Fact- Driven Management

The author alludes that companies make important decisions based on unreliable data. Six Sigma instead, identifies the key drivers of the processes and collect real relevant data from actual business performance.

3.                 Process Focus, Management, and Improvement

Six Sigma team must identify the core business processes on which customer satisfaction lies, and where improvement has to take action.

4.                 Proactive Management

This is the point where manager’s creativity and innovation flourish, by setting goals and priorities in a challenging fashion, to anticipate obstacles. Six Sigma provides the tools to proactivity.

5.                 Boundaryless Collaboration

This is an interdepartmental activity, where all areas need to collaborate, aligned with the organizational goals. Six Sigma requires this collaboration attitude, to benefit everyone within the company, attaining better results.

6.                 Drive for Perfection, Tolerate Failure

Companies need to be prepared for setbacks when utilizing diverse methods, Six Sigma teams often confront risky decisions, but still, decisions must be undertaken to change processes for betterment.

Pande, Peter S.; Neuman, Robert P.; Cavanagh, Roland R. (2002). The

Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook: An Implementation Guide for Process Improvement Teams, USA: McGraw-Hill.

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