Any competitive company must be aware of and put to good use the best methods and processes possible in order to ensure good quality of their products and/or services and in effect enhance profitability for their business.
Ensuring good quality by focusing on the needs of the target customers is made possible through the application of the science that is quality engineering. This method oversees the flow of the processes in the design and manufacture of the products or services being offered and this involves making sure that everything is aligned with the vision, mission, and goals of the company and of course, with the standards and expectations set by the target customers.
Quality control and management is very important in making sure that the product or service that will be produced shall ensure or generate total customer satisfaction. Among the most widely-used business process models for this sort of quality control and management is the six sigma process.
The six sigma process is a business model or philosophy that aims to continue the enhancement of a product based on customer standards. This approach also focuses on quality improvement through checking products or services for the prevention of flaws. This model also emphasizes the implementation of company-wide activities in order to motivate the designated employees and teams for a higher performance. These teams will be monitored and hence motivated consistently into trying to measure up to the standards of quality set by the target customers and also to making sure that there is minimal deviation from the standards and requirements that were originally designed for the particular product or service to be marketed.
The six sigma process proves to be very beneficial when it comes to making sure that quality in products is achieved at a faster rate and that customer satisfaction is maintained. This is achieved through constant motivation of teams and employees in maintaining the good performance required of measuring up to the target customers’ standards and expectations. This then leads to higher viability and profitability for the company that chooses the six sigma approach to quality improvement.
A quality improvement model that is used under the six sigma approach is one that has been credited to WE Deming. This quality management model is called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control).
- Define- this first step in dealing with a product or service involves defining or determining the problem or cause for the flaw in quality. It also means determining the resources available (such as time, costs, manpower, etc.) that will enable for proper treatment of the problem. This step can also be roughly compared to “diagnosing the problem”. Being able also to determine the scope of the development plan to be undertaken is part of this first process.
- Measure- this step entails determining the point of reference or yardstick for the measures to be done for the development plan to be undertaken. It is important to specify the rate of the defect that has been discovered as well as all other significant information that can be used in order to formulate the solution for the development plan to be implemented against the flaw that has been discovered. Measuring is gathering the necessary initial information necessary for formulating a solution.
- Analyze- this step is now the “formulation of the solution”. This means having had the necessary initial information on the problem or flaw, this step now entails the need for being able to make a plan or solution that will address the flaw that has been discovered, and then putting this solution to the test. There does not need to be only one solution however, the practitioner can implement experiments on certain samples in order to determine which the best solution is. Another function of this step is also to eliminate all the other selections and to then determine accurately the solution that will work best. This step can also be roughly compared to “formulating a hypothesis”.
- Improve- This step now means putting into action the solution that has been formulated. This means actually putting the development plan into real application and evaluating whether it truly works to solve the discovered defect or not. More trial-and-error experimentation may be needed in order for this step to truly be effective in determining the best way to solve the problem.
- Control- this step is a defining feature of the DMAIC approach to six sigma. This step aims in making sure that progress remains on an uphill climb and not downhill. The usual assumption with quality improvement plans (and with most other business plans in general) is that the optimum performance can only be achieved at the beginning and that as time goes on, the performance lags and must then be replaced by a new development or business plan. The control step ensures that this will not be the case as steps and methods for making sure that development is continuous will be implemented.