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Starting six sigma

For those of who are unfamiliar with the term Six Sigma let's take a minute to find out what it is. Six Sigma is a method or a set of techniques and in the business world it has become a movement that is focused on business process improvement. Six Sigma is a quality measurement and improvement program that is designed to focus on improving the capability of a company's business processes.

Here are the steps you need to follow to start six sigma.

Step one:
The first thing that you need to do is to understand your company's performance. The reason for this is that six sigma focuses on improving profitability rather than just improving quality. And knowing the cost of poor quality is a great starting point because you are able to see just how much money is being wasted.

Step two:
The next thing that you need to do is to see if your company would benefit from six sigma.In order to determine if your company will benefit from six sigma you need to look for some of the following characteristics:
- Quality focus and objectives are not clearly defined or communicated
- Upper management thinks that quality has nothing to do with business and profitability
- Levels and trends to track operations performance are not in place. Some of these measurements are: cost of poor quality, design effectiveness, inventory levels, etc
- Because there are no measurements or there are very few measurements all of the decisions are made by upper management with no other input
- Upper management is busy trying to look busy and bugging employees rather than getting stuff accomplished
- Employees so not like management and are afraid of them, feel like nobody cares about the employees

Step three:
Once you decide that six sigma will benefit your company you are going to need to train upper management in the six sigma methodology, which means teaching upper management what six sigma is all about. What the executives need to understand is the concept of six sigma, the steps, the requirements, the expectations and that management must actively participate in order for it to work

Step four:
Once the executives have been trained in six sigma they are going to need to hand select some employees to train in six sigma. These employees should share certain characteristics such as: passion for improvement, success oriented, positive attitude, and be a person of action just to name a few.

Step five:
After training everybody who needs to be trained your company is finally ready to implement six sigma. In order to implement six sigma a series of additional steps must be followed.

Step six:
The first thing that you need to do to actually implement six sigma is to perform financial analysis to understand profitability, cost of poor quality and key contributors to those problems.

Step seven:
Then you are going to need to have to establish your company's profitability objectives and measure the things that contribute to profitability.

Step eight:
You are also going to want to establish business objectives and define values, if you have already done this it is a great time to take a second look and rethink what you have written down.

Step nine:
You are also going to want to find a firm that can help you with Six Sigma training and implementation. What you are looking for is a company who specializes in Six Sigma so they can give you guidance on how you are doing, what needs to be done and how much you have accomplished overall.

Step ten:
Next you are going to want to choose a pilot project for your implementation process. Basically what you want to do is to test it out in a small area so that you can learn from your mistakes as time goes on and before you begin to roll it out into other areas. You are also going to want to define other projects and develop plans to realize improvement.

Step eleven:
You are also going to want to continue to provide training for Six Sigma. Some levels of training that you need to include at this point are executive, champion, Black Belt and Green Belt.

Step twelve:
You are also going to want to try and solve problems and develop solutions to help reduce the amount of waste, as well as monitoring progress of projects and providing support when and where needed.

Step thirteen:
You are also going to want to celebrate your successes and eventually take Six Sigma company wide.

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