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Six Sigma For Small Businesses

Written by Andy Trainer – Tue 22 Jan 2013

Six_sigmaWhen most people think of Six Sigma, they think of huge corporations implementing efficiency-boosting, waste-reducing policies that can mean savings of millions. They don't really think of Six Sigma being used by their local Butcher!

Here's the thing though: Six Sigma is ideal for small businesses and in this post we'll explain why this is the case. In fact, it can even be used for things outside of business like controlling diabetes!

If you'd like to learn more about the processes involved and how to make them work for your business, come on one of our Six Sigma Training Courses.

Why Six Sigma?

So firstly let's take a look at why Six Sigma is so useful for businesses of any size.

1/ Targets Waste and Costs

It's inevitable that some waste and excess expenditure will be incurred in the running of a business. However, this shouldn't prevent you from wanting to minimise both.

Six Sigma identifies where your business is spending too much or using too little from what you have and seeks to find ways to reduce the extent to which they eat into your profits.

2/ Targets Defects

From the inside looking out, it can sometimes be difficult to spot where things are going wrong; where systems are breaking down etc

Six Sigma uses processes that identify where there are errors and defects that are causing problems for your company - whether that's in customer service or manufacturing.

3/ Boosts Margins

By minimising wastes and costs, Six Sigma can thereby increase profit margins. Less expenditure and more efficient use of resources means more money going into the kitty, rather than straight back out again.

happy-face4/ Boosts Customer Satisfaction

When defects in systems are removed and prices are kept low by minimising costs, customers will be receiving a service or product more akin to there expectations and will therefore be more content.

For small businesses especially, happy customers are vital, because there's no hiding behind a corporate fascia. You are your business and your business should be good at what it does, otherwise why would a customer ever use you?

5/ Boosts Employee Morale

Happy employees means a happy business and Six Sigma principles can help achieve this by improving:

  • Motivation - Perhaps the most important thing to get right in small businesses in having people who are genuinely motivated to act within the interest of the company. Setting goals and targets within waste reduction and margins increases for example, makes a difference to how an employee views their role. They will be much more likely to work hard and effectively if they have a tangible goal to work towards.
  • Remuneration - Good employees will want more from their work than just financial compensation. Job satisfaction is a major part of this and seeing how the work they do has an impact on the overall effectiveness of the business will certainly contribute towards a happier work-life.
  • Education - Teaches both employees and managers/owners the ability to solve simple and more complex problems. Like riding a bike, once it's learnt it's hard to forget and so all future endeavours will have greater efficiency and more profitability purely because of the subconscious and conscious application of Six Sigma principles.

6/ Develop the Business

By using Six Sigma, you will be able to identify areas in which growth can be achieved for the business. Whether that's through expanding physically, financially or even virtually, you'll have clearly defined targets for progressing the business.

Equally, by using Six Sigma for the reasons outlined above, you'll already be on your way to developing.

What Are You Waiting For?

Six Sigma is useful for any business in any industry, not just manufacturing giants. If you think you'd like to begin learning the processes that could make you business the best it can be, why not try our 5-day Six Sigma Green Belt Course or if you'd like to find out more about what Six Sigma is take a look at our Six Sigma eBook.

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