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Author's profile photo Hemant Pal

Six Sigma Uniting With SAP to Boost the Production Line

SAP is the leading Enterprise Resource Planning Software that has always been making lives simpler for the professionals, be it either retail, application development or building business across domains. Believing in the life-changing experiences and moving forward by collaborating with more such technologies – like PaaS model of Cloud Hosting – makes it still relevant in the market in spite of being there for the longest time. It would be fair statement to say that SAP software is as ubiquitous as cloud computing these days.

It would be a waste of both of our times to talk about how SAP software is still being so pertinent. There are better things to focus that what more it is bringing to unleash growth and create significant new value.

Six Sigma as a concept

Six Sigma is a methodology that is grounded on statistics and its approach is derived from data along with continuous improvement. It was initially developed by Motorola company and Bill Smith in the 1980s focusing on quality management and then was further been applied within the famous company General Electrics (GE). Since then it got its boost and then several companies from all around the world adopted Six Sigma in their business prospects.

A perfect amalgamation of process, techniques and mindset

The major aim of Six Sigma in an organization to produce through the defect-free process. If a process is running under Six Sigma methodology then only 3 mistakes are allowed among a million, with this you can understand that at what level it is making the process optimum and hence producing faultless product in the end. Customers also these days don’t want to compromise with the quality as the market of any commodity you name is saturated with numerous brands with different quality standards. Now very soon people shift to other’s service if they get unsatisfied at a very basic level. Hence adopting the Six Sigma technique is becoming more and more important by any organization as losing onto even a single customer is a potential loss.

5 phases in Six Sigma are-

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control

The 5 pillars of Six Sigma

These are the pillars of Six Sigma that all together when implemented optimizes the business processes to its very core.

The major objectives of Six Sigma methodology are built upon these 4 –

  • Keeping efficiency and customer satisfaction first and foremost priority
  • Enhancing ROI
  • Finding solutions to problems that are stated “unsolvable” otherwise
  • Implementing tools and empowering the overall deal


SAP and Six Sigma functioning together 

SAP and Six Sigma functioning together can bring miracles into the business by eliminating waste and reducing costs simultaneously. Most of the up-and-coming businesses around the world have understood the fact that implementation of both makes the improvement progress more rapidly and in a more efficient manner. The companies which are benefitted the most are the manufacturing companies but now it has a widespread application.

Manufacturing companies’ objective revolves around customer satisfaction be it by the quality of their product or by the quality of the service. It can only be achieved through products with zero defects and consistent service. Lean and Six Sigma been born in manufacturing to have been very frequently applied in factory operations and industry management. Hence, it has been very much familiar with the processes been performed inside these industries. SAP actively came up with this discussion with the leaders of construction, material and printing sectors with expertise in their individual industry.

Although manufacturers take Six Sigma and ERP as contrasting concepts, they are unaware of the power of them if they are brought together. The major problem that occurs is that most of the industry workers are not aligned with a definite directive, this leads to piling up of the work inside the work stations. This is all because of the unbalanced line i.e. time taken for any process in a single station is not aligned with the very next station and this is carried forward. This leads to extended time on a single station and thus delaying the whole batch for the logistics department and hence hampering the work of the other departments as well.

This is how unbalanced manufacturing looks like…

Looking into this SAP came up with a control chart in the form of a graphical tool that can be used by the quality operators to analyze all the processes and optimize the production and improving the quality in the required areas.

These control charts are more than efficient in identifying the deviations in the ideal quality. A target value is set and then systematic deviations are detected and interferences are measured. These control charts are already the core of the statistical process control (SPC) of multiple organizations.

An ideal control chart measuring deviations using SAP along with Six Sigma…

Then after studying the control charts, major influences are studied and actions are taken accordingly. Processes have to be intervened and the instabilities have to stabilize so as to get the ideal result. The control charts will even help in determining whether the steps taken are optimum or if there is an alternate better way to achieve the optimum result. These control charts have proved themselves to meet the needs of the procurement and dispatching.

The algorithms involved are customizable and are controlled according to the necessity. The best part about these charts is that they find their application across all production orders and inspecting activities.

But the application of SAP control charts involves organizational and behavioral changes and good coordination between management and operators. In chemical industries, engineers use control charts to maintain the stability, capacity, and performance of the processes. They bear the sole responsibility for quality.

The implementation of SPC emphasizes a holistic approach for continuous improvement. This all would not be possible without good training and teamwork. Hence if anything goes wrong in its application then there must be faults in the senior management, improper training or declined responsiveness.

With the assistance of Six Sigma practices and know-how of the SAP software, the variations can be brought down to the negligible state in the manufacturing industries. With this the manufacturing processes will be honed up greater goals can be set in the future.

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