Improvement in the Human Resource Management at Steamatic Inc
Steamatic Inc is a company that started as a carpet cleaning company, which was started in the year 1948. The company is based in the United States of America. In the year 2006, the company was bought by Bill Sims. Since 2006, Steamatic Inc continues to grow and many cleanings services have been identified as a need among the people of America. The company draws upon its global resources in order to meet the needs of its clients. One of the needs that the company has committed to fulfilling is that of Indoor Air Quality for both commercials as well as a residential building. The company saw this particular need more than 25 years ago and embarked on its development in order to meet this need. Moreover, the services that are offered by the company include carpet cleaning, furniture, and drapery cleaning, and air dust cleaning. The company also deals with a number of other cleaning activities including window cleaning in the United States. The services provided by the company to its clients are highly important, as the company’s goal is to ensure high quality as well as customer satisfaction.
Implementing Six Sigma methodology in the human resource functions presents a number of questions, such as how to measure the human resource, how to apply the 3.4 defects per million opportunities rule to the functions of human resources when there is no organization that has a million employees. There is a very high demand from the clients for every company. In order to meet this expectation, it has become highly imperative on the part of the company to perform its best according to its potential. Therefore, the human resource department cannot afford to be an exception. This also means that the human resource department cannot afford to keep from applying the Six Sigma tools as well as techniques in order to enhance its operations. The question that lingers is the reasons as to why the human resource department needs the tools and techniques of Six Sigma in order to improve its processes. This paper illustrates how human resource management can use the Six Sigma methodology in order to enhance its processes. Moreover, interacting with few Black Belt experts working in Six Sigma projects in different organizations, this project will demonstrate how various factors such as change, consideration, captain, and communication may play a very important role in the successful implementation of the Six Sigma methodologies in the human resource functions.
The idea of perfection marks an endless dream for a number of organizations. The quest for man’s flawless performance in entirely all the work is taking him a step high in order to ensure as well as improve his functions. Also, the idea of defects is very dangerous, because defects usually have consequences that are much worse than ever before. Therefore, modern times have forced many of the businesses in the world to explore the various methods in order to improve their processes as well as works in order to ensure defect-free in their products and services. This exploration has contributed to man’s discovery of various methods in order to improve the quality of work. Six Sigma is one of such revolutionary methods, which has profoundly transformed the manufacturing industry in terms of quality as well as excellence. The concept of Six Sigma has also changed the paradigm of excellence in the processes and activities that an organization is undertaking. Most prominently, the concept of Six Sigma has changed the qualitative parameter of quality as a measurable parameter.
Continuous improvements in the quality of products and services are triggered by the execution of carefully selected projects. In order to reach a solution, the management must be willing to step up and try to improve their areas. The human resource management of Steamatic Inc would have to graciously agree to lend their support to offer the proving ground for the process of improvement possibilities as well as resources to work on this project. One of the potential opportunities for improvement would be the human resource processes. The human resource department in Steamatic Inc has previously not taken a keen interest in the process of employees hiring and training. A company needs to have a team of competent employees who are well trained in order to achieve its goals and objectives.
The objective of the study
The goal of this study will be to improve the processes of the human resource management of Steamatic Inc using Six Sigma techniques and tools.
The Six Sigma
The concept of Six Sigma was first born at Motorola in the year 1986 when the company was reigning under huge losses as well as unable to face the level of competition in the market at the time. The term sigma is derived from the field of statistics in which it is used to represent the standard deviation, which is a measure of variability from the mean of the population. In the organizational context, it is used to measure the deviations from perfection, and the lesser the level of deviations, the more the company moves towards perfection. These deviations in terms of sigma may be expressed in terms of defects per a million opportunities. In this concept, therefore, sigma allows only 3.4 defects per a million opportunities. Moreover, the defect per million opportunities values for 2, 3, 4, as well as 5 sigma levels include 308537, 66807, 6210, and 233 respectively. The concept of Six Sigma is inclined by the quality improvements of its proceeding era.
Six Sigma is a statistical tool that measures an organization’s process in terms of defects. Six Sigma is considered to be a problem-solving technique that uses an organization’s human assets, data measurements, as well as statistics in order, identify important factors that can decrease the rate of wastes and defects, while increasing the level of customer satisfaction, company profits, and the value of shareholders. The concept of Six Sigma focuses on creating a world class business performance as well as offering an organization a roadmap and structure through which its goals may be achieved. Even though very paramount in improving the value of goods and services from the perspective of a customer, the idea of Six Sigma is also highly applicable in enhancing the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of all the processes, transactions, and processes of any company. Many of the companies in the world today, have not understood the dire effects of poor quality on their bottom line, as poor qualities would compel many of these companies to rework on their designs, lead to huge wastes in form of scrap materials, warrant many claims, resend products, and facing a number of court cases. In the efforts of tracking companies from many of the industries across the board, it has been realized that the cost of poor quality ranges between 20-30 percent of the total operating costs. However, a company that is engaged in Six Sigma may expect a cut in these costs, which is almost half over a period of three years.
In its methodology, the concept of Six Sigma starts with the cost of poor quality, which can trigger the improvement of quality in a company. The concept of Six Sigma leads to the effort of improving products’ quality from customers’ perspective. Six Sigma helps in setting as well as establishing the benchmarks for comparing the progress made in a process since comparisons are very inevitable. The manner in which performance, as well as quality levels of an organization, are compared with other organizations in the same industry, is also the same manner in which the Six Sigma techniques are compared with other previous quality improvements.
The manner in which Six Sigma works
Focus on defects
It is highly paramount to understand the idea behind the Six Sigma. Six Sigma has been defined as the standard deviation. The concept is 99.9997 percent perfect. The major focus of this concept discipline is on statistics and it is all about how to collect and analyze information in order to determine the rate of defects of whatever is being measured. In the manufacturing setting, it is much easier to identify as well as measure the rate of defects. When following the concept of Six Sigma, most of the information is collected from the voices of the customers.
However, in the service industry, is becomes much more difficult to identify the rate of defects as well as measure how much this matters to the customers. This is so because what is to be defined is intangible. For instance, the definition of clean or a house cleaner’s definition of what is clean may vary. Thus, in the service industry, the concept of defining something may differ from one person to the other person in a significant manner. A lot of these variations are based on the extent of perception as well as acceptance criteria and efforts that are involved.
What many of the organizations have to realize is that, when seeking to define the defects, it fundamentally depends on who is the customer. Many of the service industries lay a lot of efforts into collecting information for customer satisfaction; however, customer satisfaction may vary based on the customers’ last experience. The company could be offering the same level of service, but some other variables might have created negative experiences for the customers. The dilemma of intangible services make it frustrating, if not impossible, to define as well as collect information for defects. However, this is not to suggest that service industries do not need to apply this concept, though the reality of implementing this project might be costly. More often, many of the organizations that attempt to apply the idea of Six Sigma for their services find themselves compelled to focus on the tangible aspects, including transaction volumes, re-work, as well as time consumed.
The concept of Six Sigma has been described as process improvement technique in order to improve the quality perception of customers towards the product and services of a company. Six Sigma has been transformed into a management philosophy for a number of organizations. The human resource department of an organization performs a very important function in the successful operation of Six Sigma projects. However, when it comes to the issue of implementing the Six Sigma tools to the processes of human resource domain, many impediments pose challenges. These challenges range from the questions of feasibility, measurability, to the challenges of applicability. There is a widespread notion that the tools as well as techniques of Six Sigma cannot be applied to the processes of human resource. But, the biggest challenge lies in the perception of human resource professionals towards the Six Sigma methodologies (Albeanu et al, 239).
Six Sigma techniques is a quality improvement process that starts with the voice of the customer and uses data as well as statistics in order to solve customer problems or concerns. The idea of Six Sigma is organized around individual projects with fixed timelines, and each project starts through forming a team in order to identify the customers as well as customer needs. The team is tasked with the functions of measuring how the needs of the customers can be met, analyzes the variables that may affect the level of customer satisfaction, suggests improvements to the processes, and finally, establishes the improvements in order to control the processes. All the parts of the Six Sigma methodologies which includes to define, measure, analyze, improve, and control are applied (Jenab, Kouroush, and Staub 13-23).
It has also been established that there is nothing wrong with the idea of near perfection goods and services for customers. The concept of Six Sigma that is applied to the service industry primarily focuses in offering services, as contrasted to the manufacturing industry that focuses in providing products. Therefore, the manufacturing and service industries are different industries and should be treated differently. The concepts that may contribute to the sense of perfection in the manufacturing industry might not exist in the service industry. For instance, many of the Six Sigma metrics as well as calculations are not sometimes tracked or even captured in similar service processes (Albeanu et al, 304).
The human resource department is no different than any other aspect of an organization being able to deliver the Six Sigma with significant financial gain to the company. Many of the projects are fundamentally directed towards the internal customer through undertaking the human resource functions faster as well as much more efficient, or towards the external customers through contributing to the ongoing transformation of the organization’s achievement of a well functional Six Sigma program.
An unstructured interview will be used and conducted with five Black Belt experts, who work on the various Six Sigma projects in various organizations. Online mode will also be used in order to have discussions with these experts. Moreover, convenience sampling technique shall be applied. This paper will use primary data as well as secondary data from various sources including published journals, books, and online materials.
Six Sigma’s DMAIC process
The DMAIC is a five step process that makes up the Six Sigma technique and its sole objective is to drive the costly variation from the manufacturing as well as business processes. The DMAIC five step processes include define measure, analyze, improve, and control. As the framework of the Six Sigma methodology, the DMAIC leads to a sustained defect-free performance as well as highly competitive quality costs in the long-run.
The concept of Six Sigma is aimed at decreasing the rate of defects. The first step is figuring out what a defect would be. Steamatic Inc may decide that leaving dirty streaks on carpets is a defect because it is a source customer satisfaction. The measure stage is very important as it sets out the nature of the problem that is to be solved through the Six Sigma techniques and tools. This implies that the problem or issue is identified as well as defined during this particular stage.
This is the next step in collecting information in order to find out why and how often these defects occur. This may include process flow maps of where the employees start as well as finish cleaning. Other metrics may include recording what tools the employees use in their cleaning activities.
This marks the third step in the process. After the data is measured, the company’s Six Sigma team would identify that a particular employee is better at cleaning the carpets than other employees. This can also be done through the use of analytic tools including Anova analysis as well as other techniques.
A defect is any incident or event which fails to meet the customers’ expectations. Standard deviation is the measure of variation within a process. It is indicated by the symbol, sigma (s). A review of the normal distribution bell curve shows that:
68% of defects fall within 1s of the mean
95% of defects fall within 2s of the mean
99.99997% of defects fall within 6s of the mean
By aiming processes at Six Sigma, then, there would only be 3.4 defects per one million opportunities. Also, With the Six Sigma defects as a goal, that is 3.4 defects in one million opportunities, then processes can be evaluated to reach a target level with upper and lower limits. In order to reach these limits then the process variation will have to be reduced. As a result the bell curve will become more peaked as illustrated with the green bell curve.
This is the forth step in the process. The team would then implement that particular employee’s process as a standard way of cleaning the carpets. This step is first determined during the third step, which is then adopted during this fourth step. The results found in the analyze step will be very critical in initiating the improvements that are to be made during this stage. The profits are expected to increase as indicated by the following graph.
This is the final or the last step in the DMAIC process. During this particular stage, the company human resource would teach new employees the correct as well as the most suitable manner identified during the improve stage to washing carpets. With time, there will be a significant improvement in the level of customer satisfaction, which will as a result increase the level of business activities in the company. Moreover, it may take the Six Sigma team one or more brainstorming sessions in order to clearly define its processes, but the DMAIC process remain purely the same.
Benefits of Six Sigma to Steamatic Inc
The financial gains of implementing Six Sigma are measured in a number of organizations and they have proved to be highly impressive. The world’s corporate giants, such as Motorola and General Electronic have successfully implemented the concept of Six Sigma and saved a lot of money. This can also be applied to Steamatic Inc in order to help the company in saving its financial resources. Moreover, other companies including Ford, Microsoft, and American Express have used this concept and registered the same benefits. However, the Six Sigma is not only about money, but more of a management philosophy, way of doing things, method of thinking, and above all, the commitment of an organization. In many of the top organizations in the world today, majority of the key managerial slots such as human resource management need Six Sigma certification.
Welch Jack is regarded as one of the greatest chief executive officers in the world; he initiated the concept of Six Sigma in General Electric. It was the most important initiative that the company has ever taken. Moreover, this initiative became part of General Electric as a code of its future leadership. The concept of Six Sigma would help Steamatic Inc to identify and embrace a culture of accountability, because it is a concept that is aligned to the employee expectations as well as effective system or reward and consequences. Similarly, the concept of Six Sigma would have a lot of performance variations. Through managing such variability, the company can raise the overall performance and initiate an organic growth within the company (Brewer 45-49).
The need for Six Sigma in Human Resource
There is very high anticipation from customers for each organization. In order to meet this expectation, it has become highly imperative on the part of each department within an organization to perform to its best level. The human resource cannot be left out and cannot afford to keep distance from applying the concepts of Six Sigma in order to improve its processes (Bloom). There are a number of reasons as to why the human resource of Steamatic Inc should use the concepts of Six Sigma it its human resource department, which include;
Create excellence in the process delivery
In order to deliver the business’s day-to-day service consistently and focus more on its strategic goals, the human resource has to make sure that its processes run more smoothly with no or minimal issues. The idea of Six Sigma marks an excellent method of delivering processes as well as excellence to the company, thus the need to follow the principles of Six Sigma in order to guarantee the sustainability of the company’s excellence in the long-run.
Reduce the rate of defects
From the many queries, which are time-wasting to resolving the issues that surround wrong salaries and inaccurate employee data, the human resource processes are highly prone to generating many defects during the process of delivery. More often, these defects remain unidentified until they start causing problems, which may as a result affect the company at a much higher level and significantly affecting areas, including finance, the legality of the company, as well as customer satisfaction. It is therefore, a high priority to identify such defects and minimize the level of these problems in order to ensure the company’s success. Achieving the Six Sigma rate of 99.9997 percent flawless process might not be a reality in human resource, but through tracking and taking the Six Sigma method, the rate of the company’s defects can be reduced significantly.
Increase efficiency and reduce scrap
Through the concepts of lean technologies and combined with the concepts of Six Sigma techniques and tools, the human resource of the company can work in order to decrease the rate of resources that are lost in ineffective manner, often through unnecessary tasks. The use of Six Sigma in the company can considerably deliver service delivery within the desired standards.
Creating a quality and focused mindset
For the human resource of the company to deliver value, the whole department needs to be focused on quality as a measure of the company service level and customer satisfaction metrics. The concept of Six Sigma initiates this kind of mindset, which the organization needs to implement as well as embed into its organizational culture.
Gain from the best practice
For the human resource of the company to perform effective reviews of the processes that would lead to maximum gain, the Six Sigma tools and techniques offer the best methods that have been found relevant in many organizations. Through this, the organization would be able to make significant advantage in the market and overcome the level of competition.
Fetch clarity to the processes
The human resource processes may contain hidden issues, which might sooner or later impact on the services that are being delivered including significant number of defects. The two of the fundamental process of the Sigma Processes focuses primarily on creating clarity to the processes as well as its metrics through the application of the statistical techniques, which can offer deeper understanding into the inner workings of the human resource processes and the external factors that affect these processes. This in return enables for delivery improvements.
Use of structured and scientific approach
The application of the concepts of Six Sigma not only presents the opportunities for both products as well as service improvement, but also presents a proven method based on well and structured methodologies, which can provide a framework that may be applied in any process improvement within an organization. Moreover, issue of time consuming may also arise due to the processes of communication that are involved in human resource management, the Six Sigma, therefore, helps in reducing the variety of confusion in these processes and initiate a lot of improvements.
Maintaining the control of the company’s processes
It is very common that an effectively designed process can develop a number of issues as well as inefficiencies as quickly as possible. One of the major functions of the Six Sigma techniques is to ensure that after delivery, the new as well as improved processes continue to generate consistent results for a long time as the company’s processes functions.
Strengthen the company’s business case
Six Sigma has proven profoundly successful in a number of businesses in both the service and the production industry, and some of the world’s best and largest companies are benefiting from the results of Six Sigma. Following this, the human resource management of the company can improve its processes and gain more credibility if it is based on the principles of Six Sigma, especially where the methodology has already been used in other parts of the business.
The Challenge of Six Sigma in Human Resource
The challenges of implementing Six Sigma in the processes of human resource include issues surrounding the manner in which it can be done, how it can be measured, how to improve the processes of human resource within the company, as well as how the human resource of the company can be at 3.4 parts per million, since it does not deal with a million people.
The concept of Six Sigma is essentially a data driven method, which is motivated, to eliminating defects as well as improving the processes of products and services. Thus, it is obvious that for any kind of process to be subjected to concept of Sigma evaluation, it has to produce data for from its operations. This means that the process must be measurable. When applying the concept of Six Sigma to the human resource processes of the company, an inevitable issue that emerges deals with the extent to which the human resources processes within the company are measurable. Measuring these processes in the manufacturing industries becomes a bit easier. However, some factors may also come into play. These factors entail:
- The measurability of a process relies on the perception of the individual human resource personnel.
- Human resource might not be considered as a major function within many of the organizations due to the issues of non-measurability nature of the human resource processes.
- Many of the organizations fail to consider the human resource management as a human capital.
- The human resource of a company need to ensure that there is excellent returns on the level of investment in the human capital.
As illustrated above, a number of challenges that pertain to the use of Six Sigma in the processes of the company’s human resource are present. Nevertheless, human resource marks a very important component of any organization and without its critical functions, the future of the business lies in a balance. It is important that the functions played by human resource management within the company be received in equal measure as any other department within the organization (Barone, Stefano, and Franco).
The use of Six Sigma within an organization has been proved to be of high relevance to the operations of the company. The concept of DMAIC has enabled a number of companies in pursuing their goals as well as objectives. The Six Sigma to the processes and functions of human resource are complicated as compared to other functional areas of a business. This is attributed to the abstract nature of the functions as well as processes of human resources department. However, in regard to the competitive nature of the market environment in the world today, it is very paramount to analyze the processes of human resource within an organization in order to ensure sustainability as well as success.
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