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Control Techniques

The choice of control technique may be project specific.
As a guideline, the following techniques may be useful in Transactional environments.

1. Control Charts - To monitor process performance over time and diagnose/correct if process go out of control or shows alarm signals. For transactional environments, c and u charts or p and np charts may be useful to track attribute (count) (eg., invoicing defects, non-compliant insurance claims, etc.,). If you are monitoring a "variable" characteristic (like cycle time, cost etc) the Xbar-R, X-MR, XBar-S may be handy.

2. If human generated errors are a large component, a choice of poka-yoke (Mistake proofing) tools can be utilized. Simple methods like templates, checklists, work sequencing, introducing validation in software programs, input control (making tick / check box forms instead of narrative fields) can help minimize data errors. Along with with visual alerts/controls and ongoingtraining, these techniques can be very valuable to reduce defect rates. If there is scope to redesign/optimize the process during /before transition phase, one can incorporate mistake proofing techniques by "design" as part of the process itself. A credible incentive / penalty system may be be a complementing enabler to enhance process performance.

3. Standardization in the form of SOPs, Process Flow diagrams, Training, Audits and effective communication through various means (electronic, softboard posters, visual displays) can help to ensure the standards are well understood and practised. Concurrent interaction with client representatives will give the opportunity to pick up any new issues that may come up that may also require standardization.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma implies that organizations deliver defect free products and services to their customers.

"Defect" is an occurrence where the product or services fail to meet "Customer Specifications" or "Business Specifications". For e.g., if you board a flight and it is expected to reach the destination airport at 8.00 pm. but reaches late, then a defect may be considered to have occurred.

Lower defect rates in the delivery of a product or service implies (better) higher Sigma levels. A 6 (Six) Sigma level signifies very low defect rate (i.e., just 3 times reaching late out of a million trips run - as in our example above).

A key tenet of Six Sigma is "defects" are caused due to "variation" in the process. The key focus of Six Sigma initiatives hence is to reduce "variation" and thereby reduce defects and achieve superior Sigma levels in the product or service delivery processes.

Organizations have successfully utilized Six Sigma philosophy and methods to understand their current level of performance, follow the "DMAIC" roadmap to improve the process (i.e, reduce process variation), cut defect rates and thereby enhance customer satisfaction and business results performance.

DMAIC stands for Define - Measure - Analyze - Improve - Control.
A structured understanding of Six Sigma performance improvement philosophy and methodology can be acquired via formal training and certification programs so that professionals get equipped to improve business and organizational processes, reduce defects and deliver enhanced customer satisfaction and business results.