Introduction Description of the Issue under study( Six Sigma Training Program) The study focuses on answering the research questions how does the implementation of the Six Sigma Training Program affect costs? and how does the implementation of the Six Sigma Training Program affect the quality of the outputs of an organization? This is to mean that the study would involve taking a sample of employees in an organization and exposing them to six sigma training program. Six sigma training will be availed to employees where measurements will conducted at the end of the training program. Various variables namely dependent, independent and control will be incorporated in the study this will help in answering these questions. Therefore, a more understanding of the background of the six sigma training program is a key success. The study thus focuses on discussing the literature, the background and overview of the six sigma program. Pande & Holp (2002) defined Six Sigma as a management tool and a strategy applied by organizations with an aim of improving the efficiency of an organization. This program was established by the Motorola Company in 1985 and has today been adopted by several other industries following its success. Its main purpose is to improve the quality of an organization operation process outputs by identifying and removing any errors as well as minimizing variability in the operations. Six Sigma is drawn from a statistical field referred to as process capability. The strategy incorporates statistical and quality management methods and utilizes various individuals within the organization. Six Sigma training program remains one of the most important business management strategy for organizations. Through the use of the program many organizations have been able to identify the causes of defects and how to deal with them in their business operations. This has helped in reducing the risks and threats which might be disastrous to the organizations business success. In addition, six sigma programs have been credited as the best management strategy for improving output quality of organizations. Whenever an organization has a quality output then it implies that this organization will attract more clients. Background of Six Sigma Training program The topic came as a result of the pressing need to improve the efficiency in organizations. This is where I saw it important to study on Six Sigma training program with an aim of establishing it its effect on organization costs and also on the quality of their products. It is important to focus on the same in order to find an alternative for organizations in improving their operational efficiency. There is a great need to come up with various quality management techniques as an organization as a strategy of providing quality services in organization which will see them improve the productivity and also improve its financial performance. Six sigma program came up as a result of the need to improve manufacturing using a set of practices whose purpose was to eliminate defects. With time the program was also extended to other forms of business process. The process refers any process which does not yield customer specification as a defect and tries to do away with it. The CEO of Motorola established the program with a sole purpose of improving the quality of its products. Today six sigma program remains better as compared to Total Quality Management which is another program which is mostly applied by many manufacturing organizations. This is because, TQM focuses on quality improvement methods implying that it aims at attaining preset quality levels which lead to increased efficiency but it prevents the organizations from realizing the maximum potential. On the hand, six sigma strategies ensure that there is consistent quality improvement which exists up to when the organization becomes fully optimized. This paves way for the organization to concentrate on other levels of quality. The good thing is that the program continues till all the business processes become fully optimized. To protect the program, the adopters namely Motorola and General Electric came up with certification programs. These were aimed at certifying other organizations who adopt the six sigma program whereby it has levels namely Green Belt and Black Belt. As a result, many organizations in the year 1990 started applying the program. To ensure its efficiency, they gave certification to their employees. Black Belt certification required persons to pass a written examination after having undergone project training. Bodies like International Quality Federation have been very helpful in ensuring the adoption of six sigma program by offering online exams in which organization would be able to make their internal certification. Six Sigma came up from the view that when one has six standard deviations between the process mean and the nearest specification limit, then it implies that no item will fail to attain specifications. Thus as the standard deviation increases, or as the mean of the process spreads from the center of tolerance, fewer standard deviations fit in between the mean and the nearest specification limit. As a result, this decreases sigma number thus increasing the likelihood of items exterior specification. For many organizations, the program has indicated that it performs well in the short term rather than in the long term. Therefore, sigma numbers existing between the processes mean and the nearest specification limit will definitely decrease as time goes on. Studies has also shown that any process that fits 6 sigma between the mean and the nearest specification limit for a short term will in the long term fit about 4.5 sigma. This is because the long term standard deviation of the process will be more compared to that in short term.
Six Sigma program has been subject to several criticism among various organizations. First, six sigma program is criticized for its lack of originality. According to the promoters of the program say Joseph Juran, six sigma has been referred to as a basic unit of improving quality. This is to imply that the process of the program lacks anything new (Gygi et al, 2005). The main idea derived in this criticism is that the program does not bring new inventions in the organizations using it. In addition, there has been a controversy among the role of the consultants especially when fostering an industry of training and certification of the same. The criticism is that several consulting firms have come up who are overselling the service to many organizations. The irony is that most of these consultants do not understand the idea behind six sigma program. Implying that they do not also know the techniques and tools applied in this program (Cano & Moguerza, 2012). Furthermore, Six Sigma program has been subject to various negative effects. First, six sigma program is said to work well when only applied to what it was intended to do otherwise it is not effective. It is said to be rigid in the sense that it stresses on methods and tools. More concern when using the program is dedicated to minimization of variation and identifying any significant factor. This means that less attention is dedicated on developing robustness. Nevertheless, the use of multiple regression and significance testing techniques by the program has led to increased risk of making more errors within the organization operation (Harbour, 1997). Finally, Six Sigma program is criticized for lacking systematic documentation. This is to mean that overreliance on six sigma program may affect the culture of the organization. Apart from the experienced leading companies on the program say Motorola and GE, there is lack of documentation by the other organizations implying that it is more in literature than in concepts. Although many of this organization think that they are improving their processes, much about clarity lacks.
Literature of the Topic Larson (2003) refer Six Sigma as a continuous quality improvement technique which has been designed following the principles of Total Quality Management. It does this by focusing on making improvements on the organizations processed and minimizes defects and wastage in organization’s operations. Despite its use among several organizations in the world, lack of enough proper training remains a big challenge to these organizations. There are very few institutions offering the training as a course thus making the program to appear new to many of people who end up working in those organizations which have adopted the program. This study focuses on the quality fostered by the six sigma program once adopted by an organization. The quality of items in many of the organizations is determined by the top management or the design sector. For the six sigma program it entails every stakeholder to adopt the concepts behind the program in order to yield good quality in the organization. Six sigma management technique is advanced from Total Quality Management technique. Following the criticism of the Total Quality Management by many organizations, six sigma techniques came into use. For instance, according to Harry and Schroeder (2000), Total Quality Management focuses on employee operations but fails to consider the processes unlike six sigma which considers both. Six Sigma program stresses on coming up with extremely high objectives, collecting data, and analyzing results to a high level as a step to reduce defects in products and services. Sigma is a Greek word which in most cases is used to mean variation from a standard. The principle behind Six Sigma is that when one measures how many defects are present in a given process, then he or she can pinpoint out ways of systematically eliminating them and thus ensure perfection on the same in long run (Johnson, 2010). In order for an organization to attain Six Sigma, then there is needed to produce not more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities, where an opportunity is taken to mean a chance for nonconformance. Two sigma processes are available namely six sigma DMADV and six sigma DMAIC. These processes are named with respect to major steps underlying the process. Six Sigma DMAIC involves a process which defines measures, analyzes, improves and makes appropriate controls to the existing processes that lie below the sigma stipulations. On the other hand, six sigma DMADV defines, measures, analyzes, designs and does verification on any new processes or products that a focusing on attaining six sigma quality (Taghizadegan, 2006). Six Sigma promoters argue that its benefits lead to 50% process cost reduction, increased customer satisfaction, cycle-time improvement, a better understanding of customer requirements, less waste of materials, and more reliable products and services. It is clearly understood that Six Sigma can be costly to implement implying that it can take an organization many years before it sees significant results in its operations. There is great need for organizations to train their employees on six sigma so as to make them improve their performance thus increasing productivity. The training program involving the six sigma technique needs to focus on all areas of total quality management. Nevertheless, there is also need to incorporate the six sigma functions and theory. There is also need to come up with objectives which surround the purposes of the program. Conclusion From the study it is clearly that six sigma program is an efficient method of ensuring customer satisfaction, quality improvement and minimization of defects in an organization. However, to ensure this an organization need to incorporate its functions and theory. This is to imply that the organization should use the program as planned and not just applying it anywhere as it may not work. The organization need to train its employees on the program in order to improve their performance which will definitely improve its productivity. To improve its functioning there is great need to incorporate the concepts of Total Quality Management (Besterfield, 2003). Despite its criticism, six sigma program has become one of the most efficient technique and unlike in the past when only few organizations used the program, many organizations have entered the bracket. The future of the six sigma program will depend on how organizations incorporate other management techniques and their concern in bringing all their stakeholders into the bracket of the training program.
Besterfield, D. H. (2003). Total quality management (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Cano, E. L., & Moguerza, J. M. (2012). Six sigma with R statistical engineering for process improvement. New York: Springer.
Gygi, C., DeCarlo, N., & Williams, B. (2005). Six sigma for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub..
Harbour, J. L. (1997). The Basics of Performance Measurement. Portland, Oregon: Productivity
Press. Harry, M., & Schroeder, R. (2000). Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy
Revolutionizing the World's Top Corporations. New York: Currency and Double Day of
Random House Inc.
Johnson, G. (2010). Research Methods for Public Administrators.2nd Edition. New York: M.E. Sharpe
Larson, A. (2003). Demystifying six sigma a company-wide approach to continuous improvement. New York: AMACOM.
Pande, P. S., Neuman, R. P., & Cavanagh, R. R. (2000). The Six Sigma way: how GE, Motorola, and other top companies are honing their performance. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Pande, P. S., & Holpp, L. (2002). What is six sigma?. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Taghizadegan, S. (2006). Essentials of lean six sigma. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Thomsett, M. C. (2005). Getting started in six sigma. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.