Products and services have to stand out in today’s market because quality is key. As long as Six Sigma continues to produce measurable, solid bottom-line results, it will continue to be relevant for a long time. Six Sigma identifies and eliminates sources of errors and defects in business processes, allowing us to focus on outputs critical to customers. Although the “next big thing” in Six Sigma will change over time, the core principles will still remain the same.
In light of this, does this approach pose any risks?
Six Sigma can have considerable consequences for organizations when it is used to assign ambitious projects to “black belts” (so-called technical experts). It is impossible to assume that everyone is a “black belt’, their abilities vary widely depending on what certifying body they belong to, and the levels they are at vary according to their industry.
It is also risky for many senior managers in organizations to believe six sigma solves all of their problems immediately. We expect Six Sigma to continue developing new tools, particularly those from healthcare, finance, and sales.
Six Sigma will keep developing as the statistical thinking principles it encompasses are strong. Six Sigma in your organization can build a culture in which everyone in the organization can be deeply rooted in analyzing statistics. As this attitude evolves, it may change. As a quality management tool, Six Sigma has shown a much better track record than total quality management and business process reengineering over the past 30 years.
Where do we go from here?
It is certain that the existing Six Sigma methodology will, in the future, be enhanced and improved as the need for improvement grows and changes. For businesses to achieve and sustain excellence in operations and service, Six Sigma has long been recognized as a powerful business strategy. Though Six Sigma was initially centered on manufacturing, it has now become widely accepted in both service and transactional settings.
The goal of Six Sigma is to make manufacturing processes better by reducing defects. Although there are some disadvantages, the main ones are the higher costs that come with improved quality. So far, Six Sigma has more been seen as an opportunity than a problem in the manufacturing industry, so we’ll see what happens next.