Measuring involves judging the present performance of a process, identifying why and where errors are being caused, and finding ways to remove them to maintain the productivity of a process.
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The Measure phase of Lean Six Sigma is important in retaining the productivity achieved in a process under a Lean Six Sigma project. This phase involves process discovery, measurement system analysis, and evaluation of process capability.
By using the various Six Sigma statistics, problems in a process are identified and their solutions are developed. The data obtained to establish baselines in an earlier phase is used to determine underperformance in a process, if any. Data is also collected throughout this phase to measure the performance of a process, and keep it as a guideline for judging future and past performances.
What is a Baseline?
A baseline is the standard that is established for a process based on the analysis of the data collected. Every process can have a different baseline or a specific standard in which the process is expected to operate. This measuring stick created in the Define phase acts as a guide to measure and monitor the performance of a process in later stages of Lean Six Sigma, such the Measure phase. A baseline is created at the beginning of a process in the Define phase.
Errors and Defects in a Process
The goal of the Measure phase is to retain the optimisation achieved by earlier phases of a Lean Six Sigma project. Continuous measurement of a process is conducted, and data analysed and judged against the baseline to measure the present state of a process. If a reduction in the performance of a process is found, then the errors or defects that are causing it are discovered. The root cause of the errors are then found and eliminated to make the process reach its optimal state again.
The Measure phase thus stabilises the results achieved by a Lean Six Sigma project. With continuous measurement of a process and removal of errors, a process runs at its optimal level at all times leading to greater productivity and lowering of costs.
A process is expected to show variations. Therefore, to minimise and prevent variations, Six Sigma uses data collection and data analysis to find solutions to reduce variability. Under the measure phase, identification of the various components of variation is conducted so that timely corrections can be made. It prevents and resolves the problem of variation in a process.
Yellow belt holders in Lean Six Sigma are an important part of a Lean Six Sigma project team, and are, therefore, required to have basic knowledge of every methodology and principle of Lean Six Sigma. They are also required to possess necessary skills to carry out tasks in process improvement, management and control. They provide valuable support to the Green Belts, Black Belts, and Champions.
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