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Six sigma manufacturing techniques pros and cons

Six sigma is a set of practices associated with lean manufacturing.It originated and was developed by Motorola to improve process within businesses (mostly with education, government and manufacturing) by eliminating defects.A defect is defined as anything that can potentially lead to customer dissatisfaction.Six sigma is continually trying to reduce variation in process outputs, measure, analyze, and control business processes, and achieve quality improvement.Implementing Six Sigma in your manufacturing plant has its advantages and disadvantages.Before you decide if the six sigma manufacturing techniques are right for your company take a look at the pros and cons.

Six Sigma manufacturing technique pros
1. Six Sigma places a clear focus on achieving measurable and quantifiable financial returns of an organization.A six sigma project is never approved unless the bottom line has been defined.

2. Six sigma utilizes the tools and techniques for fixing problems in business process in a very sequential order.There is a certain amount of discipline to the way that problems are handled.All the tools and techniques have a unique role in where, when, why, and how they are used and applied.This makes all the difference is the success and failure of the program.
3. Since the main focus is systematic, statistical thinking and proven statistical tools and techniques are encouraged.
4. The character of leaders and their passion within the six sigma techniques and tools is greatly valued and extremely important.The commitment from passionate leaders makes this program so successful.When individuals believe and are devoted to a better change, good things happen.
5. The method in which six sigma takes in problem solving brings many different factors into the equation; cultural changes, and customer focus which are two of the main ones.Six Sigma integrates all aspects into the program and creates improvement within the company.
6. Six Sigma creates a foundation and development for master managing.
7. Decisions that are made for Six Sigma techniques and tools are made only with the facts and data rather than just assumptions and hunches.With six sigma techniques and tools measurements are always in place and essentially considered part of the norm.
8. The focus is clearly on achieving measurable returns to the bottom line of an organization.Projects do not get approval unless the bottom line as been defined clearly.

Six Sigma manufacturing technique cons
1. There is a challenge largely with always finding good quality data especially in some instances where there is no data available at all.This alone can take much of the time in itself.
2. Prioritization becomes an issue as it is a critical factor in whether or not the six sigma program succeeds or fails.There are few tools available to help with this process so most of the prioritization is based on subjective judgment.
3. The is a large discrepancy between what a statistical error is.Since six sigma is 3.4 defect per million and a defect is described as anything that does not meet a customer's needs where do you draw the line?
4. Non standard procedures in the certification process of "black belts", "green belts" etc are inconsistent across different companies.
5. Many consulting firms claim to be experts in six sigma when they do not understand the tools and techniques at all.

There are many pros and cons to implementing six sigma tools and techniques in your manufacturing plant, but make sure that you know all there is to know and that it is right for your company before you implement anything.

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