The concept of six-sigma refers to a set of quality management principles and methods that aim to achieve virtually error-free processes.
Although the term originates from manufacturing, it can be applied to any field or process. The main goal is to constantly improve everything from communication to results.
Among other things, six-sigma strives to eliminate errors in production and ensure every product or service meets a certain standard of quality. It also aims to enhance efficiency and productivity by eliminating unnecessary steps or reworking processes.
IBM first developed the six-sigma method in the 1980s, but many companies now use similar quality management systems. Any company can implement their own version of this system, depending on their needs and how severe their issues are with quality.
This article will discuss why it is best to have six-sigma as part of an enterprise management system, why having less than six sigma is not adequate, and why having more than six sigma is unnecessary.
Phases of an EPM system
There are a few typical phases most employees go through in the average employee life cycle.
The first phase is the recruitment phase, where new employees are recruited and start their employment with the organization. In this phase, they receive training on the organization’s policies, procedures, and things like how to do their job.
The second phase is the performance evaluation phase. This is when employees receive feedback on their performance and whether or not they will be receiving a raise or promotion. This is also when employees may be given negative feedback or fired.
The third phase is the tenure phase. In this phase, employees become very familiar with the organization and their job, but there is no change in compensation or recognition. Employees may feel like they are hitting a ceiling, which can cause unrest within the workplace.
The fourth phase is the transition phase. This can occur when an employee either voluntarily or involuntarily leaves their position with the organization.
The first phase in the EPMS model is initiation. In this phase, a request is made for a change or transition in the EPM system. This can be made by anyone with access to the system, including users, stakeholders, and management.
The initiation phase is critical because it determines whether a transformation effort will take place at all. If there is no request for change, then there will be no change.
The more clearly people can articulate their concerns and what they would like to see as a replacement, the more likely it will be that a transformation initiative will succeed.
It’s also important to recognize that not all requests for change are valid. Only requests that are made by those with legitimate concerns should trigger a transformation initiative.
Planning is the first step in any successful project. Planning your EMP system requires you to think about the future and how you want to leverage your resources over time.
You need to think about what kind of resources you will need, how you will obtain them, and how you will share them as time goes on. This involves thinking about both the near and distant future.
Planning ahead also requires you to think about the different stages of life and how your EMP will need to adapt to each one. For example, children require very different resources than adults do, so those needs must be accounted for in the planning stage.
Finally, planning requires that you think about the possible scenarios that may occur in the future and prepare for them. This may include things like financial emergencies or transitions due to health issues.
Phase five is the execution phase, where all the hard work you’ve done in prior phases pays off. This is when you put into action all the strategies you’ve developed throughout the entire EMP process.
You’ve already researched your target audience and developed marketing strategies, created a product or service offering that meets customer needs and wants, coordinated internal resources to produce what is being sold, and set appropriate prices for those offerings.
You’ve already identified channels for sales and distribution, so now it’s time to put things into action. You’re ready to go out there and sell!
But before you do that, take some time to review your goals one last time. Are you hitting your targets? If so, great! If not, go back and make some adjustments before moving forward.
Monitoring and measuring
Having the ability to monitor and measure all aspects of the environment is a major element of an EPM system.
However, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. You have to be sure that you are monitoring the right things in the right way.
For example, if you are monitoring employee productivity, you need to be sure that you are measuring all of the relevant factors that influence this (such as job satisfaction, relationships with supervisors and colleagues, etc.).
You also need to make sure that you’re using the right metrics — such as only measuring sales in terms of output, rather than looking at how much time it takes to produce a certain product.
Perhaps the most important thing is being able to monitor changes in these elements — being able to detect a drop in employee productivity and take action before it has a negative impact on the company.
Feedback and adjustment
As you progress through your career, you will receive feedback about your performance. This can come from a variety of sources, including your manager, team members, direct reports, customers, and the wider world through press coverage.
From these sources, you’ll get notes on what you do well and where you could improve. You’ll also get feedback on how to improve in the future.
Your managers will give you feedback based on what they expect of you. If they expect great things, then there may not be much room for improvement. If they expect average things then there may be some places to improve. Either way, they will have an effect on your confidence and self-evaluation.
Negative feedback can hurt and make us defensive. It is important to take a step back and evaluate the source of the feedback before deciding how to respond.
One of the most important phases in an EPM system is termination. Termination refers to the process of removing a part from the manufacturing process.
In manufacturing, components are assembled into assemblies, which are then assembled into the finished product. At some point, the assembly process ends, and the parts can be separated to be used for other things or discarded.
This is an important phase in the EPM system because it ensures that there are no leftover parts or unfinished products at the end of production.
When there are still parts or products being produced at the end of production, it means that there was not sufficient planning for termination. There may be repercussions from this lack of planning, such as having to store unused parts for a long time until they are needed again.
Why is this structure important?
Because this structure requires all employees to have some level of accountability, it creates a clear line of succession. As employees move through the different phases, others will take their place and help the organization continue to thrive.
Having fewer phases also helps organizations stay agile. While it is known that there are six stages of life, individuals may not realize that there are only five other stages outside of childhood.
Understanding which stage an employee is in and what they need to succeed can help make the transition easier. Continuing to develop employees in their current phase or moving them to the next phase can keep the organization moving forward.
The final reason this structure is important is because it promotes collaboration across departments and generations. Having individuals from different phases working together can help solve problems in new ways.