Workspace performance is important for success of any organization. The main thing at efficiency increase is to provide the fulfillment of the operations in order to satisfy the company’s needs. Workspace performance is the major labor indicator; all main indicators of production efficiency, and all labor indicators depend on the dynamics level: production volume, a number of workers, a compensation level, a product cost, profit, etc. Workspace performance is closely connected with the control of its change from the point of view of identification of adverse deviations of a labor productivity level in definite periods of time.
The organizations with better workspace performance massively outperform their disorganized competitors. They make more money, grow faster, have far higher stock market values, and survive for longer (Bendick, 2001).
There are a lot of hard system’s methods, which are used to evaluate workspace performance. Six Sigma is one of them.
The concept of Six Sigma is widely used in the world management. Six Sigma is a statistical concept of measurement of the process of a number of defects in parameters. The achievement of the level of Six Sigma means that there are only 3.4 defects for a million of the possible ones during the analyzed process; in other words, work is fulfilled almost faultlessly. Sigma (the name of a Latin letter) is a statistical term, the parameter of measurement which is also called “standard deviation”. When this letter is used in business, it specifies a number of defects as a result of the process and helps to understand how much the given process differs from the made.
The introduction of the Six Sigma methodology involves the changes in a corporate culture. A special attention is paid to the responsibility for the end result, quantity indicators and management on the basis of the fact sheet. After the introduction of this methodology the enterprise refuses decision-making, based on the subjective opinions, in favor of the analysis based on the real information and application of the statistical methods. It is necessary to use a number of special methods and instruments promoting an establishment of control over the introduction and functioning of the Six Sigma projects in order to make the methodology of Six Sigma the main part of the system and the processes of the organization’s management.
Six Sigma is also workspace performance philosophy in which the basic attention is given to the elimination of the defects at the expense of application of such methods when the rate is put on the analysis of the results of measurements and perfection of the processes.
According to Larson A (2003), the method of Six Sigma is based on such basic principles as a sincere interest to the client, management on the basis of data and facts, orientation to the process, process management and process perfection, proactive (anticipatory) management, cooperation without borders (a transparency of intracorporate barriers), and aspiration to perfection plus condescension to failures.
The “Six Sigma” technique, as well as its predecessors, is based on the following principles:
1. It is necessary to aspire to the establishment of steady and predicted course of the processes for successful business;
2. The KPI indicators, characterizing the course of the processes of manufacture and business, should be measured, supervised and improved, and also reflect the changes in the course of the processes.
3. The involvement of the organization’s personnel, especially top management, is necessary at all levels for the achievement of a constant quality improvement.
Six Sigma is a sequential process that begins by asking hard questions regarding level of defects, time required to perform operations, and customer expectations. The answers provide the “working area of operations” for six sigma projects. It is important to understand that six sigma projects are seldom, if ever, incremental (“kaizen”) quality improvement that is so characteristic of TQM. Six sigma projects are all about robust change--changes that lead to 50% or more improvement in quality and speed (Box, 2006).
A lot of people connect the program of Six Sigma with an aspiration to improve quality. It is possible to consider this concept quite logical, especially in the beginning of the analysis of problems. Six Sigma essentially differs from the quality programs.
The company receives huge economic achievements at the expense of the decrease in all types of losses at the system approach to the introduction of the Six Sigma system - an active support and management participation, creation of a necessary infrastructure and technological support.
One of the key factors of success of the system is its high organization. The whole activity is conducted within the limits of the projects, each of which has the established purposes, terms, budget, distribution of responsibility and powers, requirements to the definition of risks, conducting records, etc. The other major factors doing Six Sigma system so effective are leadership, active position of top management, and also decision-making on the basis of the fact sheet, instead of assumptions.
There is one criterion - an increase in the sum of incomes in the report on the company’s profits. This purpose is treated as follows: if improvement of production quality does not bring additional profit to the company, the quality improvement has no sense. Any project realized within the frameworks of the Six Sigma system should bring additional increase of the indicators in the profits reports. An accurately formalized system of responsibility on introduction of methodology and realization of the projects of the company’s improvement is the second feature of the Six Sigma methodology.
The last distinctive feature of the Six Sigma system is an accurate order of those methods and tools which are directly used for the analysis and improvement of the processes. The Six Sigma system has the same set of tools: starting from seven simple quality tools up to the more complicated such as planning of experiments and statistical control of the processes. The most interesting idea is the devision of these instruments according to the definite project phases which coincide with the phases of the DMAIC cycle (define, measure, analyze, improve, control). The cycle itself is the innovation of the “Six Sigma” system.
Six Sigma is a structured analytic model with the purpose of improving performance through the reduction of process variation. The Six Sigma approach employs the paradigm of DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control). When applied, these steps include: 1) recognizing and defining the problem or opportunity for improvement, 2) measuring and analyzing performance, 3) developing and implementing interventions for improvement, and 4) controlling the improvements to make sure the improvements are sustained through standardization and integration into the organization’s procedures (Jeffery, 2005).
Speaking of soft systems, it is necessary to mention a Checkland soft system. It was published in 1972. The Checkland system considers reality as a problematic and systematic one, but it allows a lot of interpretations. Moreover, the author of the system introduced the concept of a human activity system, in which the actors behave according to own worldview, within the rules and practices, traditional in a definite culture.
The Chekland’s methodology is intended generally for the solution of the problems at micro-level and recognizes that the interested parties will achieve a mutual understanding sooner or later. The Chekland’s approach is guided by a profound analysis of the distinction between hard and soft systems. In soft systems actors can have different views and respectively put forward a set of various tasks which, in their opinion, should be solved in this situation.
The soft system of Checkland has a good methodology; however, it can hardly be compared to Six Sigma. The introduction of the methodology of Six Sigma should cover the following basic processes existing in any organization: management of changes; introduction of innovations - DMADV; the decision of the workspace issues (with the use of DMAIC procedure) and project management. Thus, the future vision of the workspace performance consists in the usage of the Six Sigma methodology. It is the methodology serving for the measurement and an increase of the company’s productivity by means of definition and revealing of the defects in the processes of manufacture or granting of services.