WHAT & WHY OF SIX SIGMA IN EDUCATION ?

Dheeraj Mehrotra (National Awardee) Head, TQM in Education, City Montessori School & Degree College, Lucknow, INDIA Email: tqmhead@aol.com
URL: www.sixsigmaineducation.com

Six Sigma in a trend for DEFECT ANALYSIS. In schools it might find a bit jazzy to start with but the teachers need to be literate to understand that it is a step towards PERFECTION of Results, Culture and Expertise among the staff and students making it a QUALITY WORKPLACE of Excellence and Expertise. Send in your comments at tqmhead@aol.com

An Introduction Integrated with TQM
THE CONCEPT: The marching trend of the new economic order has generated a new capsule of SIX SIGMA as a unified approach to process excellence. The tests reveal that it has transformed some of the most successful companies in the world like Motorola, GE etc. It is activated as an approach to aiming at the target by changing the culture of a company, involving everyone in the company, not just the Black Belts and Green Belts. The concept of SIX SIGMA is to identify the problem in a process, set up project with the processes, evaluate the process and work through the project in order to improve the process in totality. In the

words of JACK WELCH, Chairman of GE, the SIX SIGMA, is “The only programme I’ve ever seen where customers win, employees are engaged in and satisfied by, shareholders are (rewarded), Everybody who touches it wins.” In education it pertains of improving quality of matter taught, the character generated of the pupils in certain and the quality of study and school life. With the revolutionary usage of audiovisuals devices, like projectors, video conferencing, etc., the students can also be asked to write papers on a particular subject and after the presentation of papers, the discussion shall take place on the respective subject. Under this method of imparting knowledge of literacy with quality, the thinking, writing and presentation skills of the students can be kindled. Not only this, the existing method of QUALITY IMPROVEMENT through SQCC (Students Quality Control Circles) have had the value based concept as a simile for the Six Sigma standards. It infuses a spike of excellence, emotional development, humaneness and self discipline. ORIGINS OF SIX SIGMA: The concept of SIX SIGMA originated in the 1980’ as MOTOROLA in response of the threat of Japanese counterpart got excited of the zero defects. Further the concept broomed to Allied Signal and General Electric (GE), as a result it became a news in 1996, that GE had made over $1Billion of cost savings. In academics it is still in infancy. It is dependent on the management gurus for implementation.

TARGET & TECHNIQUES OF SIX SIGMA: The SIX SIGMA tends to raise customer satisfaction by reducing the number of defective from a process to 3.4 defective per million. The progress towards the target is measured by the sigma rating. If it can not be measured it is bound to have a raise instead. Again in academics, it standardises the enhancement of the

result by percent increase. The defects here symbolises the failures or the third divisioners. WHAT & WHY OF SIX SIGMA ? Six Sigma applies a systematic methodology for improving organizations’ processes, based on rigorous data gathering and analysis. The approach focuses on helping organizations produce products and services better, faster, and smarter by improving the capability of processes to meet customer requirements. Six Sigma identifies and eliminates costs that add no value to customers. Unlike simple cost-cutting programs, however, Six Sigma delivers cost cuts while retaining or improving value to the customer. Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps an organization focus on developing and delivering near perfect products and services. The methodology is based on established statistical process control techniques and data analysis methods. It features systematic training of all personnel involved in the activity or process targeted by the program. The Greek letter d (sigma) is a mathematical symbol that represents a measure of variation: the distribution around the mean of any process or procedure. The term “Six Sigma” mathematically defines an optimum measurement of quality: 3.4 defects per million events. If an organization can reduce its product’s average deviation, then less of it will be faulty and cost savings result. In other words, do it right by progressively monitoring and eliminating mistakes. Understanding what the customer considers “critical to quality” is a cornerstone of any successful Six Sigma initiative. The link between Six Sigma and business process thinking often determines the span and depth of performance improvements. Both incremental business process improvement and Six Sigma are intended to develop focused solutions to eliminate root causes of business

performance problems without radically changing existing processes or organizational structure.

CULTURE OF SIX SIGMA: The work environment or the quality of work life suggests the culture with permeates a company in the desire of all staff to achieve that target, to increase customer satisfaction, to increase efficiency, lower costs and improve profitability. This culture provides an important and continuing focus to management. The quality of SIX SIGMA penetrates applying to all of a company’s business, whether ‘defective’ means an out-of-specific time coming off a production line, the amount of ‘re-work’ in a batch of a product, a document with a misprint, or an overlong delivery time. Now, the implementation in the educational arena requires the significance of the teaching fraternity as the employees or the workforce in general. The customers tend to be the parents who pay the fees and want quality in return of the good result of their wards.

APPLICATION OF SIX SIGMA IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS:

VOS – VOICE OF THE STUDENT VOP- VOICE OF THE PARENT
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Every Six Sigma project should satisfy the

STUDENTS/ PARENTS
need and requirements.

The following are some of the common processes in the educational institutions which can be significantly improved by applying the Six Sigma methodology: * * * * * * * * academic achievement the process of college admission teaching and academic programs study program and process institutional effectiveness student learning performance evaluation of the instructional delivery the accreditation process.

The implementation or application starts with the recognition of a problem, and the defining of a project to cure or alleviate that problem. The dependence of any standard of academic or production is totally dependent on the following format for DMAIC.

The project is undertaken by a team using DMAIC, meaning DEFINE, MEASURE, ANALYSE, IMPROVE and CONTROL. These are defined well as: DEFINE : The definition of the project/ assignment, using process map, application area, desired improvement, likely benefits etc. The importance lies of having the chance of a high successful delivery of better quality and saving costs in totality. Here in context of academic strata, the failures include the definition of the problem in as an identity. The others may include projects like real life problems pertaining to “DISTRACTIONS IN THE CLASS ROOM” for example. MEASURE: This involves the analyses of the process to determine its present state and the future, as obtained. The data collection is a well suited frame for this. ANALYSE: This involves the data analysis for identification of parts of process which affect the quality of the problem. IMPROVE: This adds to the process to find a permanent solution to the problem. This may involve better forecasting, better scheduling, better procedures or better equipment, specifying, teaching techniques, work environment for the teachers and school campus quality life. CONTROL: Involves the process of closing the problem by putting in the right procedures and management statistics.

SAMPL E SI X SI GMA P ROJ ECTS I N I NSTI TUTES
L earning  Teaching  Discipline  Attendance  Parents’ Satisfaction  Teachers’ Contribution  Commitment towards Work L ife

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SI X SI GMA TARGET I SSUES I N COMMON
• • • • • • • •

academic achievement the process of college admission teaching and academic programs study program and process institutional effectiveness student learning performance evaluation of the instructional delivery the accreditation process.

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SIX SIGMA PROFESSIONALS:

AS IN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS (AS UNDER) BLACK BELTS: They represent the Six Sigma experts with a thorough grounding with the ability to lead the projects, an upper hand over Green Belts. The incharges of Senior School include in this gentry. In industries, the project leader is called a Black Belt (BB). All BB candidates should have a history of accomplishment. A BB assignment typically lasts for two years during which the BB leads from eight to twelve projects, each lasting approximately one quarter (large projects are broken down into segments of approximately one quarter). The projects will likely come from different business areas, thereby giving the BB a broader view of the business. Reporting on the projects and documenting their impact are important aspects of the BB experience. They enhance the fast-track aspects of the BB experience. GREEN BELTS: These represent the Six Sigma Practitioners, with a thorough grounding of the approach. The Incharges of the Junior School, Primary School activate as these designators. The project team members are called Green Belts (GBs), and they do not spend all their time on projects. GBs receive training similar to that of BBs, but for less time. They typically get their training to participate in an important project for their business. Six Sigma project participants, such as BBs and GBs, tend to be agents of change who thrive in the new business climate of constant change. evaluate new ideas. MASTER BLACK BELTS: These represent people who spend their time on SixSigma, assist leadership for projection and consultation. The Adiministration Officer or the Vice-Principal act They are open to new ideas and are used to rigorously

this position. Master Black Belts (MBBs) are resources for the project teams. MBBs are often experienced BBs who have worked on many projects. They generally have knowledge of advanced tools, business and leadership training, and teaching experience. A primary MBB’s responsibility is training and mentoring new BBs in the organization.

CHAMPIONS or LEADERS: They are the senior managers who ensure that resources are available for training and projects and also conduct reviews. The Principal activate this goal, in collaboration of the management. IMPLEMENTATION OF SIX SIGMA With the outcome of the implementation of this novel concept, researchers have found that successful deployment of Six Sigma involves focusing on a small number of high-leverage items. The following are the steps needed for the successful implementation of this concept:

1. The success improvement must start from the senior level of leadership. This is done by providing training of the principles and the tools needed for the purpose. Simultaneously, the steps are taken to “soft-wire” the organization and to cultivate an environment for innovation and creativity, at totality. The generation of Quality Improvement Teams at the level of Principals and other members of the management. 2. The module is developed for establishing close communication with customers, employees and suppliers. This involves developing rigorous methods of obtaining and evaluating customer, employee and supplier input. The teachers act as these database for reporting and conduct of study.

3. The assessing is made of training as an indispensability. The remedial basic skills education is also provided to ensure that adequate levels of literacy and numeracy are processed by all employees/ teachers. 4. A standardised framework for continuous improvement is developed with a system of indicators for monitoring progress and success. 5. The six sigma projects are conducted by individual employees and teams lead by Green Belts and assisted by Black Belts.

With the above mode of conduct of implementation of the SIX SIGMA, the research proves that firms that successfully implement Six Sigma perform better in virtually every business category, including return on sales, return on Investment, employment growth and share price increase to the level of production within an organisation. With the above as an essential tool of productivity and enhancement of quality, as an everlasting strategy has been the need of the day. What strategy has to be applied in today’s educational arena is a thoughtful concern on the part of the management to dwell into. The above management technique is a proved methodology of success by one and all and pertains to KAIZEN or the continuous improvement philosophy.

IMPLEMENTATION OF SIX SIGMA: How to get it started: First, identify the organization’s key business processes that deliver value directly to the customer and stakeholder. Most educational institutions have between five and eight core customer and/or mission-critical business processes. These

processes include college admissions, academic achievement, faculty and staff development, and academic process management and improvement planning. Map these processes at a midlevel and measure the current process results. Detailed process flows, like those you’d find at the work-instruction level, aren’t necessary here. Instead, outline the major handoffs between functional Next, identify the most important issues or organizations of the business.

“disconnects” between the customer and the school/educational institution’s perspective, and involve the leadership team in prioritizing them. Next, decide on the required scope of improvement and whether to perform process improvement or process redesign. Process improvement usually fixes a segment of a larger process, whereas process redesign involves building a new process to replace an old one. Initially, small to medium-sized schools/colleges should begin by performing process improvement using basic Six Sigma methodology and then measure the results and quantify the savings. Although these steps appear straight-forward, they’re far from effortless. In fact, the following are just some of the elements needed for success: * * * * * * * * * Visible top management commitment Keen sense of urgency Clear definition of customer/stakeholder requirements Shared understanding of core processes and key customers/stakeholders Honesty in measuring current performance Discipline in prioritizing the critical few improvement projects Communicating success stories and proving that the approach works Rewarding and recognizing the performers Institutionalizing the approach.

I MPLEMENTATION OF SIX SIGMA
Your STUDENT wants results and they want them yesterday. You don’t have the luxury of time.  Make sure you can get measurable results before you ever start a project.  You can do this by using this guide make sure your project selection process is as good as it can be.  Nothing can guarantee a project will be successful but poor project selection is the main reason why projects fail.

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A Rising Example on Implementation of Six Sigma In Education: Teachers, according to Hodges (who is one), are great at solutions. Often before they have even identified the problem, they have a solution – or two or three solutions. So, Hodges began every meting with teachers by asking these questions:

*

What’s the problem?

(“Often, I’d get two or three problems they had thought were only one.”) * * How do you know? What are some of the root causes?

* *

What treatment can we apply? What are the results likely to be?

After many repetitions of this process, the teachers began to see the value of identifying the problem before tackling how to fix it, Hodges said. One story in particular illustrated how understanding a complaint requires an understanding of the real problem: Many of the teachers frequently complained among themselves about the poor air quality in the classrooms. Poor air quality led to increased absences, more asthma attacks and labels of “sick building syndrome.” The problem was examined carefully using a Six Sigma approach. An environmental specialist was involved, and data was gathered and analyzed by a team consisting of a teacher and a custodian. What they found surprised everyone. Some of the teachers kept animals in their classrooms, with no protocol for caring for them or cleaning the cages or other husbandry issues. Some teachers, for lack of appropriate space, had placed books, papers and other materials on top of ventilators, thereby blocking effective air circulation in those rooms. Once the factors were identified and analyzed, curative measures could be discussed, chosen and implemented. The result of the Six Sigma project was clean air. Plus, the teachers were thrilled that their grievances had been listened to, and that a solution had been found. To top it off, the school district was honored with an indoor air quality award.

IN A NUTSHELL
6 Sigma is a Quality Philosophy. It's a philosophy that talks about attainable short-term goals while striving for long term objective. Viz. L earning Teaching Discipline Attendance Parents’ Satisfaction Teachers’ Contribution Commitment towards Work L ife

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      

The belief of the above says that it is a great success. In addition: With careful use of the methodology, the teachers analyzed every aspect of the problem, and began to see that it was quantifiable. The result was to pilot one textbook through the ninth and tenth grade levels (and advanced eighth grade) in all schools in the district. At the end of that period, with all students literally “on the same page,” they would be able to test on a particular core of knowledge. Test results would be quantifiable, and there would be the added benefit of a cost savings. With all the schools buying the same textbooks, a larger discount could be negotiated.

SIX SIGMA ISSUES DEPEND ENTIRELY ON:  Visible top management commitment

 Keen sense of urgency  Clear definition of PARENTS’ requirements

 Shared understanding of core processes and key PROBLEM PARENTS  Honesty in measuring current performance/ satisfaction

 Discipline in prioritizing the critical few improvement projects  Communicating success stories and proving that the approach works

 Rewarding and recognizing the PARENTS/ STUDENTS  And above all developing a WIN-WIN approach …………

Six Sigma for the Future
Hodges is full of ideas for new projects and issues that he has long wanted to explore, both on the business side and the educational side. Among these are: * * Using a web-based system (which already exists) to assess what the Employing an internet resource to order textbooks, so that one person,

students actually know. and not four, can order books for the coming school year, and then check the distribution of those books as they are shipped to the various schools. * Finding out why teachers are hired to perform one function, and end up doing something entirely different. This happens quite frequently, Hedges noted.

A workable on-line system for applications for teaching positions is one of Hodges’ pet projects. The district had one, “but no one used it,” he said. A new system is now under development. It is being designed with data gathered from analyzing and testing the old system which had multiple deficiencies. The concept – to eliminate some of the paperwork in job applications – was admirable. “But there was no customer satisfaction in the program,” Hodges said. The old on-line system was difficult to use, cumbersome and tended to quit on users before they had finished the application. Today, in the traditional educational arena, the teacher performs different functions like planning, evaluating and locating appropriate instructional resources, developing complementing instructional resources, handling administration, laisoning with students/ parents/ administration and teach as well. In addition the teachers do have to take care of slow learners changes in syllabi, discipline and adhering to the overall development of the child. The big concern of the survival and success of an institution depends on the extend to which it looks to the future, identifies the opportunities in the turbulent world around it and adapts its special competencies to those opportunities. In general terms, strategy is the fundamental means an institution employs to achieve a match with its environment, or, alternatively, a pattern in a stream of actions or decisions which relates an organisation to its environment. As we move forward, the role of that information services assumes on campus will surely expand to accommodate the burgeoning technology that is finding increasing use in Higher Education. Its role will not only be to provide the traditional academic and administrative computer services, but to develop standards for networking computer acquisition, data interchange, video transmission and whatever other areas are included under his or her control. Attendant to this activity will be the development of organizational structures and enabling policies that will allow the nation to better utilise the technology to satisfy the academic goals at a large. With the accelerating phase of the advent of Information Technology there is an emergence of a new social order. This has made the need for computer literacy among the masses indispensable. Rapid

progress in the area of electronics and space technology have contributed substantially to this phenomena in way with the implementation of Six Sigma In Education. Commitment involving the sense of ownership quality among the workforce has been the root cause of the high competitive environment of the war for TQM among the similar organisations of today. The sense of commitment can well be dwelled into the minds of the humanware by reflecting into them the sense of willingness through motivation, training and inspiration by the management. There has to be a strong dedication towards the job to be executed not for the sake of duty but responsibility. In the educational arena, the commitment on the side of the teachers plays an important role as it brings in totality the better result and not only for the betterment of the students and the community but also fame to the organization at large. Comparably, to the highlightning fact of the education industry of the present scenario, there has had a rough weather of satisfaction of the parents, the ultimate customers, due to the existing ‘TUITION Mafias’ of the schools. Unfortunately, this sorry figure has been the alarming issue for producing quality, in the march towards TQM in academic cell. The teachers, under this category, don’t take interest in their job of conduct, during the class hours and are often interested in minting money by teaching in coaching institutes. The parents of this felled lot, have no option but to get their wards admitted into these so called coaching (scorching) classes, in order to benefit their wards as their ultimate duty. This sorry figure has been practised by over a majority of the Government schools, producing a blow to the philosophy of quality in academics. This even leads to the ridiculous aspect of this philosophy. But we as teachers have a bound responsibility to produce a revolutionary phase of change in the academic arena which would develop a strong cell of commitment towards the teachers of these affected lot, in order to bring laurels to the society.

Gone are the days when “Education” was considered as a ‘Social Work’ for the masses, and literacy a gift to the mankind. Today is the age of professionalism. Here we treat the students as a product and a customer, which has an expectation of total students as a product and a customer, which has an expectation of total satisfaction through the school, the once known temple of learning. It is highly debative of the fact that education is an industry, as the majority of us support being against the same. But when we see the real phase of its existence to our surprise, there is certainly an acceptable fact to this saying. After the declaration of this an industry, the experts have come across to implement the concept of quality management in this arena, through the implementation of quality circles, and much to the surprise, it has had a wide acceptance world wide. It is through this basic concept, the students are given the liberty to come up with their problems, find probable solutions and produce the same before the management for implementation. All in all, the management theory in this direction, practically involves the promotion of the sense of belongingness, without which, the work force consider it normal to rapaciously grab whatever they can lay their hands on with ease, without keeping the interest of the company they are working for. Under the streams of personal management, which covers the promotional activities of the employees towards profitability, an organisation can be truly effective if the employees feel satisfied, are continuously developed in skills, knowledge and behavior, show commitment to the objectives of the institution/ organisation and are ever willing to rapidly change the way things are done as soon as they realize that the utility of something is over. The sound applicability of the flow of inspiration through the department heads and the tablets of motivation out of every success from the side of the management, representing the top manager, is the main result oriented capsule in this direction. Conviction and commitment are the two root causes or any organisation to progress with the aid of total work culture of the employees and it results applicable for Total Quality. Through the framing of the quality circles, there is a certain involvement of the pertaining participative culture, with commitment, conviction and ownership among the employees with a step towards the attainment of TQM. This small group activity is certainly a big

activity, yielding big results for a big growth of the organisation. It is also worthwhile to remember of the fact that the due recognition to a workman at the appropriate time will give him the satisfaction of deriving the benefit of participation in QCs (Quality Circles Approach) of learning. It helps to promote this concept within the organisation and sets up an example for others to show off their hidden talents and interest for the organisation. Surely, but in a slow pace, this set up is bound to render happiness on the part of the worker and results in auguring well for the organisation at large in the long run. The best thing about Six Sigma in the schools, according to Hodges, is that, with help from his colleagues, he has been able to effect change in areas that everyone agreed needed serious overhauling. Six Sigma is now so integral to how things are done in this school system that Hedges teaches it in his classes. “I teach students to follow the same methodology I’ve had their teachers use.” What lies the fact is the inception of this tools of productivity and Quality as the in thing in Education towards excellence in Education in a big way. The need is the universal acceptability. CONCLUSION:

One ought to be proud of the fact that no single aspect of our future has been debated more hotly than education. Our hope for the next century is that education finally will make the individual’s dream a reality for every member of our society regardless of race, economic background, gender or religions affiliation. There is no question that the technological developments during the last several years are creating more educational opportunities for our citizens -or at least for some of them. Educators from pre-schools toddlers through college have embraced the new technology, and most believe it will provide an increase in learning opportunities for students. Inspite of the fact that school corporations

and colleges have spent tremendous sums of money on technology, many are still left behind. Spending more and more money to support technology, that too, affectionately referred to by educators as the toilet that keeps on flushing, may be achieving the intended purposes for some, but is it really achieving the intended purposes for all. Or for that matter, is technology, in fact, helping more students than was the case previously.

In order to achieve the above as opportunities to the academic scenario, in addition to patience, participatory management among well-trained and educated partners is crucial to the success of TQM in education; everyone involved must understand and believe in principles. Some personnel who are committed to the principles can facilitate success with TQM. Their vision and skills in leadership, management, interpersonal communication, problem solving and creative cooperation are important qualities for successful implementation of TQM.

References:
Six Sigma in Education ...www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c011029a.asp Applying Total Quality Management In Academics www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c020626a.asp Quality in Education: Quality In Education? www4.asq.org/blogs/edu/ 2005/11/quality_in_education.html

jGuru: Dheeraj Mehrotra’s Forum Answers ...jguru.com/guru/viewforumanswers.jsp?EID=1255995 Attaining Quality Through Literacy by Dheeraj Mehrotra indianest.com/opinion/0052.htm - 31k – Informing Science Institute ::: Main Page ...informingscience.org/ About Six 6 Sigma From Dheeraj Mehrotra and iSixSigma. www.i6sigma.com/me/six_sigma/default.asp Applying Total Quality Management In Academics europe.isixsigma.com/library/content/c020626a.asp Total Quality Management In Education ...totalqualitymanagement.icestotal.com/ totalqualitymanagementineducation/ software quality assurance testing - an introduction ...www.more-quality.com/ -software-quality-assurance-testing.htm – Transactional Best Practices ...www.healthcare.isixsigma.com/bp/transactional/

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