Is Six Sigma Right for You?


This lesson covers how to decide if Six Sigma is right for your business. When deciding on whether to implement Six Sigma, consider the following:

  1. Does the Business have a clear strategic direction that includes a focus on continual improvement?
  2. Is there a clear vision for the business’ future and it is well understood and communicated to all?
  3. Is the organization good at responding effectively and efficiently to change? (such as a change in management)
  4. Does the business affectively focus on and meets customer requirements?
  5. How well is the business with cross-functional processes management?
  6. What other change efforts or activities might conflict with or support Six Sigma?
  7. Is the business prepared to invest time, money and resources?

It is important to remember implementing Six Sigma is a large commitment and it is crucial that everyone involved be on board. Six Sigma offers many benefits to a business, including:

  1. Generates sustained success
  2. Sets performance goals for everyone
  3. Enhances voice of customer (VoC)
  4. Accelerates the rate of improvement
  5. Promotes the learning and cross fertilization of ideas
  6. Executes strategic change

In addition, Six Sigma is an expensive endeavor. Consider the following:

  1. Additional consultation costs to teach Six Sigma skills and advice on how to make efforts successful
  2. Payroll for dedicated project individuals, indirect payroll for the time devoted by executives, team members, and process owners involved in activities like data gathering and metric analysis
  3. Improvement implementation costs
    1. Automated tools
    2. Documentation of process and procedures

Once a business decides they would like to use Six Sigma, take the following steps:

  1. Plan: there are many options. DMAIC or not. Tools which help.
  2. Identify objectives: what do you want to achieve? Establish priorities.
  3. Stay within what is realistic: Set up a plan which matches your commitment, resources and abilities
  4. Prepare Leaders: they must have knowledge and commitment
  5. Create a Six Sigma organization
    1. Training: Requires all levels understand Six Sigma
    2. Piloting Effort: Piloting can be applied to any aspect of the company; be prepared to capture what works and what does not (after action).


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