Six Sigma Not Just for Big Companies


By Richard McKenna

Many people in small and medium-sized manufacturing companies believe that process improvement projects using Six Sigma techniques are for big companies only. This could not be further from the truth. Six Sigma projects can be applied in any business and may in fact have a greater result in small to medium-sized businesses.

Every organization, whether large or small, has processes that can be improved. Using the ideas and techniques encompassing Six Sigma, small and medium-sized organizations can have a dramatic effect on the organization.

Six Sigma can be very effective because smaller organizations can easily recognize poor processes and react sooner to make changes. Small and medium-sized organizations can gather data quickly and share that data with management in order to make changes. The results of a process changes can be seen sooner in a small or medium-sized business.

By applying the fundamental elements of Six Sigma, your organization can dramatically impact the daily operations. Areas such as accounting, billing, purchasing, production, shipping and receiving can be targeted for improvement without launching a major organizational effort.

Six Sigma is built around the following elements: Recognize, Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. Used as part of a coordinated process, each of these elements can be used to improve the processes in your organization. The challenge is to effectively manage the execution of these elements, and to identify reasonable and effective process changes.

In many cases you may want to start small. Select a process that you know is not as efficient as you would like, and apply the basic elements of Six Sigma to go about improving the process. Once you have fixed one process, more on to the next. Six Sigma can be part of your objective to be always improving and always getting better.

Six Sigma is not just for large corporations. It can be applied in a business just like yours.

If you would like additional information about Six Sigma, please feel free to contact Schneider Downs Business Advisors.

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