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Variation Is Evil: Reduce It with Six Sigma

Your customers want predictability and reliability. Whenever there is a cost, quality, or lead-time variation from specification, it’s a recipe for disaster. Six Sigma is a powerful tool that identifies and isolates the causes of variation. We will examine how it can be used to help your business save money and deliver a better experience to customers.This week, you will:

  • Explore the key objectives of Six Sigma
  • Summarize the phases of a Six Sigma project
  • Apply Six Sigma tools and techniques to improve outcomes

Discussion

Applying Six SigmaSix Sigma projects are widely used to improve the quality, cost, and time performance of processes, products, and services.Watch the Six Sigma Foundations course and answer the following questions:

  • Provide an example of variation in the products or services in your industry and explain how this variation impacts customers.
  • Select one specific Six Sigma concept or tool seen in the Six Sigma Foundations course in LinkedIn Learning that you found to be most useful.
  • Explain why you selected this particular concept or tool. How easy or difficult would it be to apply this in your industry?
  • Support your responses with specific references to the Six Sigma Foundations course.

Post your initial response by Wednesday, midnight of your time zone, and reply to at least 2 of your classmates’ initial posts by Sunday, midnight of your time zone.​

1st person to respond to

Melaine,

Good evening Professor and class - 

Healthcare is one of the industries that register high variations in the provision of services. That being said, various impacts are brought about by this variation. One of these is the increase in poor services. Over the years, Americans have posted a multitude of complaints regarding the quality of services they receive in healthcare facilities. In some cases, patients lose their lives owing to laxity or denial of services. The second impact is brought out through the manifestation of healthcare inequalities. For Americans, accessing healthcare is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, the impoverished and those belonging to minority groups are constantly subjected to poor-quality healthcare services owing to costs and other prevalent complexities.

Standardizing healthcare services is not a walk in the park. One of the Six Sigma tools that can help address this variation is value stream mapping. In this case, I chose this tool because it can go a long way in mapping a patient’s path to treatment and using it to enhance services and reduce delays. According to Marin-Garcia et al. (2021), value stream mapping can also help in prioritizing or championing the patients’ value. To some extent, it would be somewhat easy to apply this tool in healthcare. In this case, there are various tools that can help expedite the process. Among these is the process activity map. This can help avail techniques that can be used to eliminate waste, inconsistencies, and irrationalities (Hines & Rich, 2017). Moreover, it can go a long way in ensuring the provision of high-quality healthcare services inexpensively and easily. However, this tool can also be used with others, such as Kaizen, to enhance outcomes.

Hines, P. & Rich, N. (2017). The seven value stream mapping tools. International journal of operations & production management, 17(1), 46-64.

Marin-Garcia, J.A., Vidal-Carreras, P., & Garcia-Sabater, J.J. (2021). The role of value stream mapping in healthcare services: A scoping review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(3), 1-25.

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be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.

JWI 550 (1208) Page 1 of 9

JWI 550: Operational Excellence

Week Eight Lecture Notes

© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University Confidential and Proprietary information and may not
be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.

JWI 550 (1208) Page 2 of 9

VARIATION IS EVIL: REDUCE IT WITH SIX SIGMA

What It Means

In the world of operations management, variation is evil! Whether it’s in the making of a product or the
delivery of a service, an operation that produces a consistent result can lead to fewer errors and happier
customers. Six Sigma is a well-known methodology that is focused on reducing variance. It was created
by Motorola and widely adopted at GE and many organizations worldwide. Six Sigma employs statistical
techniques to measure, analyze, and improve processes, products, and services. Practitioners argue that
we should focus not just on whether average performance is on target, but also on how to minimize or
eliminate variation.

Why It Matters

• Your customers want predictability in what they can expect from you – in many cases the
success of their businesses depend on it.

• By reducing variation, your processes, products and services become more reliable, your costs
decline, and your customers are happier.

• Customers are more vocal about negative experiences than positive; organizations that deliver
inconsistent products and services may not even know their customers are unhappy, but they will
see the fallout in declining sales

“Averages stink; variation from the mean is
what counts.”

Jack Welch

© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University Confidential and Proprietary information and may not
be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.

JWI 550 (1208) Page 3 of 9

THE CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR MANAGERS

Six Sigma can be deployed company-wide, led by the CEO and executive leadership. The methodology
and tools of Six Sigma can also be used in individual projects.

If Six Sigma is deployed as part of a company-wide initiative to achieve operational excellence, then there
is a company-wide awareness of how it can contribute to competitive advantage. With the