The Main Terms of Six Sigma

The main terms of Six Sigma are as follows:

The customer

The voice of the customer

The voice of the customer (VOC) refers to all the ways (the mechanisms) open to the customer (singular and plural) that allow him to have his opinions heard by the supplier. This does not simply mean that the company has a complaints department, but that the company has a method for canvassing the customer to identify what he feels about the company’s service and performance. His concerns could be related to the product, the service he receives, the ordering system, delivery times, his input to the future development of new products, and so on.

Critical to quality

These are the factors from the point of view of the customer that accounts for quality. They are the standards customer will accept. Interestingly, customers can have a different perspective of what is a failure than the supplier or manufacturer might have. There can be failures that are not seen as an issue by customers and also serious problems to a customer that a manufacturer cannot see. Fashion is a key example. It is one area where having the item while it is in fashion supersedes quality considerations. I guess this explains the market for counterfeit goods.

The teams and the leaders

Green Belt, Black Belt, Master Black Belt. These are three levels of involvement by the team members.

The Green Belt is a part-timer. He can be an employee working on his own job in addition to his part in the team. They can be trained to a lower standard than the Black Belt, but probably has not been.

The Black Belt is a full-time team member with no other work commitments. This allows him to concentrate on their Six Sigma duties. His responsibilities will be similar to a TPM or an RCM team leader or facilitator.

The Master Black Belt is a manager. They will have a higher level of training than the Black Belt particularly in the use of statistics. He is expected to guide all of the teams, advise them on problems, and keep them motivated.

The Champion or Sponsor is a manager with the authority to clear roadblocks. This is part of the duty of a sponsor. They work with the other managers to select the projects for the teams and establish what the company expects as a solution. Six Sigma also needs to have the training, training time, and project time for teams and it must rely on the rest of the company’s manpower for support. This is the function of the Champion.

Six Sigma Controller. This position is the equivalent of a continuous improvements manager except with responsibility for the Six Sigma program. They confirm the projects are in line with the goals of the company.

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