Originally posted on 6 Jan 2014

In an earlier Blog, I referred to Six Sigma.

By way of explanation: Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps an organisation to focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.

The word is a statistical term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection. Thus, Six Sigma is a management philosophy focused on eliminating mistakes, waste and rework – the central notion behind it is that if you can measure how many “defects” you have in a process, you can systematically work out how to eliminate them and get as close to “zero defects” as possible. Zero defects means quality and perfection. It cuts costs, enhances customer satisfaction and contributes more than anything else to business success.

Most businesses operate at a three- to four-sigma level, where the cost of defects is roughly 20% to 30% of income. By approaching Six Sigma (3.4 per 1million opportunities) the cost of achieving quality drops to less than 1% of sales. Although zero defects is the goal, as a measure Six Sigma will drive a business toward achieving higher levels of customer satisfaction and reducing operational costs.

There are three key elements of quality: customer, process and employee. If an organisation wants to be and remain a world-class quality company, it needs to focus on these three essential elements. Customers value consistent, predictable business processes that deliver world-class levels of quality. This is what Six Sigma strives to produce.

In my view, it’s much easier to apply Six Sigma to manufacturing processes that to professional services but I am aware that some service organisations have achieved that status, but not accountants or lawyers yet, as far as I know.

I’ve written a publication on this subject. If you would like a free copy, please email me at mpollins@bizezia.com

Martin Pollins
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