The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Six Sigma

Logistics expert David Kiger has always pointed out the perks of including different management methodologies and philosophies in the governance of a company. Although he has previously stressed the importance of studying and putting in practice the teachings of Kaizen, Kanban and Six Sigma, the universe where these philosophies coexist is much wider than what meets the eye. Six Sigma, as it has been mentioned before, is a management tool and philosophy which enables organizations to effectively use data and information to get rid of existent flaws in any process —processes and procedures are supposed not to yield defects more often than 3.4 times per million opportunities. Using Six Sigma as the main tool for achieving efficiency while ruling out possible defects and waste, as well as attaining a certain degree of operations control, however, there are some other, roughly unknown, uses for this philosophy that can help companies harness its benefits in more depth.

Entrepreneurs and managers, startups and well-established companies ought to pay special attention to the entire scope of Six Sigma. Aside from what Kiger has already mentioned, using Six Sigma at a company allows employees manage their time much more effectively, which, in turn, results in more efficiency and ultimately more productivity. It is important for managers and business owners to apply the principles of Six Sigma to every milestone and goal they have towards the future while paying special attention to the methodology that must be carried out for doing so. Six Sigma stresses the importance of measuring what can be measured in hopes of improving it while getting rid of the waste and inefficiencies —employees ought to consider, for instance, how much time they are losing because of interruptions. Furthermore, they are encouraged to assess how their tasks are effectively helping them achieve the company’s (and their) goals. This philosophy, since its inception, has always pointed out the importance of coming up with an action plan as a way of making employees more efficient and joyful, as they will not have to guess somewhere down the line what to do should they face discrepancies between their activities and the way the company is being managed.

Six Sigma is also a great tool for avoiding delays. Most companies, whenever they start a project, end up delaying the project’s deadline. This is commonly due to changes in both the scope and the people involved, nevertheless, by using Six Sigma organizations and companies can set up a team of the most qualified employees from all levels which will be responsible for assessing and pointing out the elements that could negatively impact the project leading it to go beyond its deadline. The idea of organizing teams is to enable companies attain shorter cycle times for every endeavor they embark on while finding a solution to the potential issues that could affect projects and initiatives.

Besides, the philosophy embodies what is commonly referred to as strategic planning: once companies and organizations have come up with their initial mission and vision statements, Six Sigma allows them to focus on the areas that are bound to require changes and improvements —it can be used as tool for identifying which processes, whether internal or external are subject to changes, and which processes can increase outcomes while reducing inefficiencies. It is also a way to cut expenses in different areas as well as exposing what areas should require another strategy towards the future.

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Image courtesy of Caribb at Flickr.com

In fact, although this philosophy was conceived years ago, its applicability is capable of fitting any juncture: now, in the juncture of the fourth industrial revolution, Millennials, and the digital world, customers are not as loyal as they used to be. It is no secret that companies and organizations want to hold their customers, however, and given the fact that most companies often fail at fulfilling the customers’ needs as well as at providing outstanding levels of satisfaction, most customers are really difficult to retain. There are many causes for customer dissatisfaction: false promises, bad customer experience, and bad customer service. Six Sigma, however, shrinks the likelihood of companies and organizations having unhappy customers, since employees have already gone through a solid formation plan where all specifications regarding customer service and the products have been discussed. Bear in mind that today’s customers want to feel that they are being taken into account by companies and organizations; that their voice is being heard by businesses. Long gone are the days where a company could just launch a product hoping that customers would buy it, now, and given the amount of digital devices, customers and organizations are inexorably bound to engage through the different social platforms, for it is what they want. And it is how companies may attain a higher level of loyal and happy customers —Six Sigma methodology addresses the importance of coming up with a general outline for dealing with customer service as well as the importance of using technology in the company’s favor.

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