Six Sigma And The Small Or Home Based BusinessSix Sigma And The Small Or Home Based Business

I'll admit the first time I heard the words "Six Sigma" I was a bit intimidated. I wasn't a stat major in college and although I had spent a lot of time around statisticians I never heard the words six sigma before. Major corporations in the manufacturing realm have adopted the six sigma culture for well over two decades and it has now filtered down to the services sector where the terminology has the same meaning but is applied to operational and non operational processes.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma was developed primarily by the Motorola Corporation, about thirty-five years ago, to track manufacturing defects and determine what acceptable standards those defects were in a particular manufacturing venue. Operating at a Six Sigma level would mean that your toleration for defects would be no more than 3.4 defects per million units manufactured. When you are making widgets that's a very low tolerance for defects. If you are servicing a customer base that's a very low tolerance level. It can be a very high tolerance level for other services or manufacturing. A Sigma level determines how far away you are to the standard deviation. For example a 3 Sigma would mean that you are allowing your process to generate 66,807 defects per million.

What's all this have to do with small business?

The answer is it has a lot to do with any business that deals with manufacturing a product or servicing a customer base, even a small business or a home business for that matter. The six sigma mindset is a way of perfecting the way you do business and understanding what the true cost of errors are in your business. Yes the numbers make much more sense for companies that manufacture millions of widgets and have millions of customers but the six sigma tool box can be adjusted down to look at smaller numbers as well utilizing different sampling methodologies.

If you have stayed with me so far and you are scratching your head saying " what the hell is he talking about?" you are in with the majority of most CEOs and CFO's of many major corporations. In other words your are in good company. As I first stated this is first a business mindset. You need to get your team on board to implement any type of program which has a productivity component. Secondly you need to have guidance and direction from a trained source. At he end of this article I'll post a source for Six Sigma training and certification.

How does it work for a small business?

Simply put you can tailor a productivity program for any business that has a product or a customer base that is interacted with on a daily basis. If you are operating a small business on the Internet for example and you want to continue to operate on the Internet you know that your customer file and base is your most important asset. Without your customer base you have very little in terms of high cost benefit for your marketing. Treat a customer badly and you could wind up being the next major BLOG target. Bad news travels fast especially with RSS. On the other hand treat a customer well and you could be the next "Positive" BLOG target. That's a good thing, by the way.

I have been debating weather or not to include a Six Sigma section on my own site: Home Business Research. By the way you can get quite a bit of information from Rath & Strong a Six Sigma consulting firm you can visit on the Internet. One of the best in this field.

by Rick Carbone
References and Bibliography

Rick Carbone has been on the Internet since the early nineties and has been the editor/publisher of Home Business Research since 1998. His background is over 30 years of Marketing, Sales and Risk experience and a six sigma black belt. He is the author and publisher of "A Beginner's Guide To Starting a Business on the Internet," "My Own Home Biz," "Pay Per Click Know-How" and "Go Online 1-2-3." Home Business Research recently has branched out into additional eBooks and software which can be found on the main site.

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