Six Sigma (Lean) is the most well-known approach to transforming organizations so that they are data-driven and continuously improving. Where Lean addresses process flow and waste issues, Six Sigma focuses on variation and design. These complementary disciplines are aimed at promoting “business and operational excellence.” Even if it’s not fully adopted, the basic method and philosophy of (Lean) Six Sigma can be applied to everyday activities to achieve higher levels of operational excellence.
One of the challenges operational-excellence-focused executives face, however, is getting their entire organization to contribute to and participate in continuous improvement programs. Most companies have multiple ongoing projects but have only a handful of trained team members who are proficient enough in the use of statistical methods to validate cases before and after implementing planned improvements. Allowing process and asset specialists to contribute to these projects would dramatically increase the operational improvements needed to meet the expected organizational goals. Instead, the use of time-series-based advanced analytics can help organizations achieve their desired outcomes – better and faster.
A Way Forward
Six Sigma projects typically follow a methodology inspired by Deming’s plan-do-check-act cycle. This methodology consists of five phases: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control; it’s also known as the DMAIC cycle.