Last Updated on 9 September 2023
When you first start with Six Sigma, it can be unclear where to start to the point where it can be overwhelming. There are so many potential projects to perform that will all come with benefits and risks, but there are only so many hours in the day, and so many people to allocate, especially when the benefits have yet to be proven to management.
The first step is to create a list of all projects you can do, which you can then prioritize. To find potential projects it’s worth looking both externally, to see where you can increase your sales, and internally, to see where you can cut your costs.
Sales improving projects; an external view
First of all, you need to get the voice of the customer. This will show you what their priorities and worries are. You can also look at your competitors, to see if there’s any areas where you are behind the market, or where there are possibilities to get ahead in meeting the needs of the market and your customers.
Cost-cutting projects; an internal view
Cost cutting projects can often come from internal sources, so you can find them by looking round your organization:
• Where are the majority of your defects coming from?
• Are there any bottlenecks in your processes?
• What areas are producing a lot of waste
• Have your colleagues raised any issues with you?
The two main sources above (external and internal views) will generate a huge amount of project ideas, which you won’t have time or resources to start them all now. You will need to prioritize your Six Sigma projects.
You can first of all filter by which projects are Six Sigma compatible:
• There is a gap between where we are (current performance) and where we need to be
• The cause of the issue isn’t clearly understood.
• The best solution is not initially obvious
If the cause or solution are immediately apparent, you don’t need to do a Six Sigma project, you can go directly to the solution. Projects remaining on your shortlist is now your potential Six Sigma project list.