Final Program Evaluation Design
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. This paper focuses on studying the effects of sigma six training program on organization’s costs and quality of its outputs. It starts by giving a brief introduction of the technique then goes further to identify various variables which will affect the study.
In addition, it goes further to identify the research design to be used in the study which is quasi longitudinal study identifying the reasons why it’s fit for the study and thereby disclosing its advantages and disadvantages. The study also identifies the sampling design which is the simple random sampling design whereby it explains the reason for its selection, its advantages and disadvantages. Nevertheless, it also identifies the data collecting method which is the survey design then goes further to lay down the survey questions to be used. The conclusion gives a brief summary of the entire study.
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 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) refers 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. The first research question will be how does the implementation of the Six Sigma Training Program affect costs? And the other will be how does the implementation of the Six Sigma Training Program affect the quality of the outputs of an organization? The study would involve taking a sample of employees in an organization and exposing them to six sigma training program. The sample employees will undergo the training program after which their services will be observed for duration of two years. The aim for this will be to determine any change in organizations operations, services and costs as time goes by. This will help in giving a feedback as to whether the six sigma training program is an efficient technique for an organization to reduce costs and to influence the quality of its services as dictated by the research questions (Johnson, 2010).
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. This is the basis in 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? Dependent Variable Since the study will have two research questions are 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? then it will have two dependent variables. The first dependent variable for the study will be change in costs of the organization following the implementation of the six sigma program within the period of two years. On the other hand, the second dependent variable will be the changes in quality of the goods/services produced by the organization for the stated duration. This implies that the dependent variable for the study will be the focus on the change enlisted by the employees to the organization after undergoing the six sigma training program. Independent Variable Independent variable for the study will be implementation of the Six Sigma training program. This is to mean that the independent variable will focus on how the organization will focus on implementing the program to its operations.
Control Variable The control variable for the study will be controlling the human resources for the stated period and also challenges due to the use other performance appraisal programs. In addition, political factors will be another control variable to be observed in this study. This will involve decisions on investment appraisal and taxation among others. Moreover, infrastructure network will be also another control variable for the study. Since flow of raw materials in the organization and also flow of information among the stakeholders will affect the topic under investigation. Finally, the character of the workers will also be another control variable for the study thus calling for attention as the research progresses.
Research Design In 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?, the appropriate study approach to use is the quasi longitudinal study. Through the use of this approach, it will be possible to make repeated observations on the change in costs of the organization following the implementation of the six sigma program within the period of two years and also the changes in quality of the goods/services produced by the organization for the stated duration which are the dependent variables of the study. By doing so the researcher will be able to make a conclusion on whether six sigma training program is effective (Johnson, 2010). Nevertheless, by using this method it will be possible control all the control all factors affecting the human resources. The first concern of this approach is to identify the variables and then group them in to two or more groups. This is to imply that this approach will be very vital for the study since the variables have been laid down. Moreover, the approach will also be compatible with the study since it does not focus on manipulating the sample which is the employees. Johnson (2010) argues that longitudinal study focuses on a follow up of the same sample of individuals under the study. This is to ensure that the analysis of the study is effective just as the approach advocates. Further, the design will be crucial for this study since it uses the pre-posting testing which are tests conducted even before any data is collected. This will help in identifying whether there is any individual with certain tendencies. In so doing quasi longitudinal study design will allow control of the study. In conclusion, quasi longitudinal study design is the most applicable study design for this study since it focuses on controlling all the variables of the study. However, to yield good results under quasi longitudinal study, the researcher need to ensure proper randomization so as to make the statistical tests meaniful.
Sampling Design Sampling design is a very important tool in any research. It entails selection of a subset of a given population normally referred to as a sample and carrying a concrete analysis on it. It goes beyond that and identifies the characteristics of the sample and still justifies and explains the reason for choosing such a sample. The sampling design should be precise to represent the entire population. In addition it should be cost effective and also should enhance faster collection of data as compared to the entire population. This is to imply that the design should also focus on time efficiency that is, it should be time conscious (Johnson, 2010). In 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?, the appropriate sampling design to use is the simple random sampling design which is a probability sampling design. The sampling frame will be the employees, customers, management and the shareholders of the organization. In simple random sampling design each item under study has equal chance to be chosen. With this argument, this design will be very helpful in studying the Six Sigma training program as the sample will at the end be able to sum up information of the whole population. This design has many advantages compared to other sampling design thus makings it appropriate for this study. First, it is free from any classification error as compared to other complex designs such as stratified sampling design where classification error is the order. In addition, it is simple thus easy to interpret and analyze data. Moreover, due to its simplicity the design is economical both moneywise and in terms of resource management. This is unlike other approaches like cluster sampling and stratified sampling where the sample has to be subdivided further thus making them to be uneconomical. It simplicity makes it to be time effective thus any researcher using the design uses less time as compared to other approaches say stratified sampling design. This approach will thus suit this study following the above mentioned advantages (Lohr, 1999). Although enormous advantages of simple sampling design, the researcher needs to take care when selecting the sample size. This is because the smaller the size of the sample in simple sampling technique, the greater the chance of incurring sampling error which may interfere with the study. In addition, a lot of time and time is required in order to make the research efficient. Thus in carrying this study the researcher need to focus on time and labor in order to increase the efficiency of the study. Data Collection Methodology In 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?, the survey design will used to collect information. Although there is information available on sigma six training program, the research will still exploratory in that it will do specifically for the organization.
In addition, the study will utilize quantitative data collection methodology this is because this method relies on random sampling method which is the research design to be utilized in the study as discussed above. The data collection process will begin with stating and describing participants—these are the units of analysis. This was followed by sampling strategy, data collection methods, research instruments, ethical issues concerning the study, and data management issues. The researcher developed a questionnaire for each group. That is for the organization’s employees, customers, managers and the shareholders. Face-to-face interviews will be conducted with the management and employees with an aim of establishing whether the Six Sigma program was creating changes in reducing the costs of production of the organization. In addition, they will be conducted to the customers of the organization to establish whether there is any change in the organization’s quality of the products (Johnson, 2010).
The advantage of such an interview approach include the number of unfilled questionnaires would be reduced, since the researcher fills them from the responses given. Secondly, the researcher was able to clarify any queries concerning the questions. The advantage of this method is that the presence of the researcher may prevent the respondent from answering freely especially when it comes to sensitive issues. Another disadvantage is that researcher may introduce biasness when explaining queries arising from the interview. The data from each questionnaire will then be transferred to the spread sheet after the interview, and because the questionnaires will be administered by the researcher, all the data fields will be complete. Generally, quantitative data collection method is suitable for this study because it is cheaper to implement thus it ensures efficiency in collecting the data. Nevertheless, it is standardized thus it will enable the researcher to make comparisons more easily and also measure any change with easy (Johnson, 2010).
1. What challenges did you face during the implementation of six sigma training program?
2. Did the employees welcome the six sigma training program?
3. Has the six sigma training program brought any change to the quality of your products?
4. What is the impact of the six sigma training program on your cost of production?
5. What factors did you also incorporate or took control of during the implementation of the program?
6. What other programs did you incorporate to the six sigma training program to ensure its efficiency?
7. Do you think businesses should make use of the six sigma management program?
8. What recommendations do you have towards the improvement of the six sigma training program?
9. What costs implications did you incur during the implementation of the six sigma training program?
10. What are the overall contributions of the program towards your organization’s financial performance?
The study suggests that the six sigma training program is very effective in enhancing the efficiency of an organization. In order to ensure concrete efficiency, there is need to integrate the program with other management techniques say TQM. In realizing its effectiveness this study will analyze different variables namely dependent, independent and controlled variables. There is need to take care of this variable in order to ensure efficiency of the study.
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