Six Sigma. Worth the effort? [engleza]

Six Sigma is mostly quality-oriented. In 60s, Motorola implemented an innovative program that reduced defects to less than 3.4 per million. The work to reach such level of process improvement is, undoubtedly, both expensive and time-consuming. The question I try to answer is: does it worth?First criticism it received was about focusing too much on quality and overlooking the other two critical constraints: money and time. I agree that, in the end, high quality translates to less waste; investing so much effort in achieving such a high accuracy and precision might overwhelm the benefits.

Six Sigma focuses on measuring performance, and, in case of errors, promptly fix them. Although it seems to prefer the corrective action to preventive action, this is not the case. Having such a narrow margin for error, identification of a trend usually results in a preventive action.

Adversaries of Six Sigma claim that it focuses too much on process appraisal and consumes too many resources. Performance measurements are crucial to the proper evaluation of the status; otherwise, managers would have no data to use when making decisions. Without enough data, any judgment an executive might emit is, actually, a lucky guess.

The core of Six Sigma is process standardization and the constant strive to reduce the variance. Opponents accuse that Six Sigma harm the creativity and contradicts the innovation. This opinion is fallacious and proves that many people do not understand the core principles of Six Sigma. Process standardization does not interfere with creativity; it only regulates the input and the output of an original work. By contrary, the people are encouraged to present suggestions for improvement. Lack of standardization usually looks like chaos, not like a creativity heaven.

Neither Six Sigma nor any other strategy should be implemented without a careful analysis. If it’s chosen, it should be implemented correctly and completely. I don’t say that all procedures should be applied; the management should show caution and chose only the techniques that will help the organization. The real-life usage statistics of Six Sigma proves that it is a solid program and, when applied correctly, it dramatically improved the products quality and overall productivity.