Understanding Six Sigma Software

Manufacturers use software as part of Six Sigma projects to identify inefficiencies in production processes and reduce errors while meeting customer and stakeholder requirements.

The Six Sigma methodology improves quality by minimizing process inconsistency and removing defective systems. Six Sigma is grounded in data-based decisions and uses tools that perform data analysis. Other tools create control charts or process maps to improve products and services.

Lean Manufacturing is closely related to Six Sigma. However, there are also differences. The main one is that lean manufacturing focuses on the entire business, while Six Sigma reduces inefficient production processes. Lean Six Sigma combines both methods, creating a powerful solution for reducing wastage.

Six Sigma software uses the DMAIC method: Define, measure, analyze, improve, control. By reducing flawed processes and improving results, Six Sigma tools offer a “well-defined means to closed-loop continuous process improvement”. As organizations seek to identify inefficient practices, the DMAIC approach guides them to identify, solve issues and improve business processes.

What is Six Sigma and Why is it Used?

Six Sigma is a collection of tools and methods for improving production by reducing the frequency of errors. Six Sigma is based on the Greek symbol "sigma," which measures the deviation from the process goal or target.

  • One sigma represents a single deviation. If there are six “sigmas”, three above and three below the mean, the error rate is defined as extremely low. However, if all sigmas are below the mean, there is something not quite right with the production process.
  • Goals are achieved through identifying the manufacturing problem and its solution. Examples of questions a manufacturer may ask could be: Where is the problem on the production line? What should it look like, what is it, and is it critical enough to need correcting?
  • A typical goal in identifying a solution may be to improve practices to reflect desired outcomes.

Six Sigma focuses on the customer, measures value, identifies issues, eliminates waste, involves all stakeholders, and implements a responsive ecosystem. Six Sigma improves productivity, reduces process variations, and increases profits, while boosting employee morale, and the quality of goods and services.

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What is the Concept of Six Sigma?

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A Six Sigma program has five stages or steps. The “Define” phase identifies all pertinent information needed to break down a project problem, or process into concrete, actionable terms. The goal is to achieve process improvements based on actual, measured, and data-driven information rather than abstract goals.

In the Measure phase, manufacturers evaluate their current process capabilities. Organizations need a data-based baseline to make changes in support of improvements listed in the Define phase. In the Analyze phase, the Six Sigma approach assesses data to identify specific root causes of issues.

Meaning is extracted from the data. Insights begin to scaffold concretized process improvements. In the Improve phase, a Design of Experiment plan is deployed to identify the underlying cause of a problem.

In the final stage, Control, quality teams develop a control plan and deploy new standardized processes, outlining improved daily workflows. Each of these phases creates a repeatable template, which measures manufacturing processes' effectiveness and efficiencies.

Is Six Sigma a Tool?

Manufacturers and other businesses use Six Sigma as a tool to improve processes and quality control. Not only does Six Sigma improve business performance, it also reduces errors, defects, cycle times, and costs.  

Essential aspects of a project design include fact and data-based decisions, improving manufacturing procedures, and training that encourages initiative. Six Sigma is a quality and statistical approach that minimizes variation in processes. It also uses tools such as control charts, histograms, process capability, and others.

Six Sigma software

Reducing Costs: According to the Global Business and Management Research Journal, “uncontrolled variation in processes” is an obstacle to production. Often variation in production processes causes poor quality, reduced efficiency, and slow cycle times. The Six Sigma method reduces variation in manufacturing procedures and products by adopting a design/redesign approach.

Six Sigma practitioners focus on the impact of financial goals by optimizing processes that are closely linked to customer satisfaction. Customer needs are crucial, especially when making measurable improvements that are critical to quality. Practitioners also implement quality measures that relate to customer needs, such as the timeliness of product delivery. 

What Six Sigma Software is Used?

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Manufacturers use software for measurement system analysis and to perform statistical methods. The main purpose of the software is to support teams with tools and solutions that reduce the effort expended on projects. Low and no-code platforms are ideal for manufacturers to start digitizing processes.

Factory staff use Alpha TransForm to craft online or offline mobile apps with the latest features. Alpha Transform is a no-code platform that requires minimal coding expertise.

Benefits of Six Sigma solutions include a standardized industry analysis solution which makes interpreting results easier and quicker. Tools also reduce the frequency of human errors, thus winning the confidence of stakeholders. Other advantages are that Six Sigma tools perform complex analyses that humans cannot.

Minitab is a popular package that is used to analyze data. Features range from descriptive statistics to more complex simulations and distributions. iGrafix conducts process analysis and design using its process mapping tool. Manufacturers create process maps that are compatible with What-If analysis, Enterprise Modelling-Impact & Gap analyses, and other collaboration tools.  

What are the Best Six Sigma Apps?

Using Alpha TransForm to Craft Customized Six Sigma Apps

Alpha TransForm allows manufacturers to build data collection or quality inspection apps that measure performance, and spot flaws in production processes.

Employees can build solutions that improve data collection accuracy, speed data delivery, generate quality insights, and integrate with existing systems. Software developers and IT can then add user controls, advanced features, and security functions.

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Preparing for Six Sigma Certifications and Statistical Reporting

Upward Mobility prepares professionals for their black belt and green belt Six Sigma certifications. Features include 150 questions for each certification. OEE Monitor is a mobile app for iOS. Features include easy-to-view graphs that identify if processes are improving adequately.

The Advantages of Six Sigma

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Six Sigma provides guidelines to limit risk exposure while improving efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of products or services. An example could be reducing the process cycle time or LEAD time. LEAD time is the delay or waiting time between the start of a task and its execution.

The outcome could be standardizing a process with fewer handoffs, rework, or flaws. Minimizing these obstacles to production efficiency saves money. Other benefits could be consistently meeting supplier agreements, avoiding fines, and generating revenue faster.

Alpha Software helps manufacturers build digital quality control and inspection apps rapidly. These custom apps can leverage the latest mobile features: camera, GPS, digital signatures, and more for fast, accurate data capture.

Improved Production Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction

Six Sigma projects also improve timeliness. Goals may be to reduce machine setups, improve production or assembly lines, or partially or fully automate processes.

Before a Six Sigma project can be implemented, manufacturers must define all aspects of efficiency goals. Defects in processes or products must be evaluated using data, figures, and information.

Manufacturers conduct Six Sigma projects to identify how much variation customers experience and how to reduce the number of dissatisfied customers.

Six Sigma projects can be conducted to increase supplier satisfaction. Six Sigma projects can also help anticipate customer needs and manage them through a streamlined process.

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Digitizing Six Sigma Products

Manufacturers may use software to perform complex calculations, generate control charts, visualize mapping, or automate other tedious tasks during a Six Sigma project. No-code and low-code software solutions can add additional efficiencies to Six Sigma programs allowing employees to instantly reduce repetitive activities. Digitizing Six Sigma projects decreases errors, roots out the cause of inefficiencies, and increases production and profit for organizations.

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The Best Manufacturing Solutions for Six Sigma Shops

Quality management software is essential for all types of manufacturing businesses, especially smaller companies. Studies show that it improves quality standards while increasing production levels and customer satisfaction. It can also lower the cost of quality efforts when it's used for preventative measures.

Research shows QMS software provides a high ROI, reduces errors, and creates continuous improvement across the enterprise. Alpha Software works with manufacturing leaders to understand your unique needs and craft the right solution for your business