The project team has worked its way through Define, Measure, Analyze, and Improve. It’s time to begin the Control phase. The key stakeholders gather to evaluate the solution as implemented and create a plan to sustain the improvements. The goal is to standardize the improved processes, establish an audit schedule and schedule periodic follow-up to identify additional opportunities for improvement.
C – Control
At the end of the Control phase, the team hands the improved process and a control plan over to the process owner. The control plan establishes rules and metrics for monitoring the output of the improved process and taking corrective action, if necessary. It also contains documentation, training material, OCAP (out-of-control action plan) and an audit schedule. The process owner, who was involved in the project right from the start, should be confident they have everything they need to manage the improved process successfully.
Some of the tools used during Control are:
- OCAP (out-of-control action plan)
- Tolerance limits
- Gage R&R
- Work instructions
- Process capability analysis
- Post-control plan (audit schedule)
Wait! There’s More.
There is a sixth phase, known as Post-control. This is a predetermined period of time during which the improved process will be monitored and measured to make sure that it is permanent. Since they’re made entirely of humans, organizations have a tendency to backslide into old habits. It requires discipline and vigilance to make lasting improvements. The project team will create a post-control plan and formally hand it over to the person or team responsible for auditing the process.
Used correctly, Six Sigma helps companies serve their customers better. It reduces the everyday frustrations that make work less satisfying. In a Six Sigma environment, managers can make decisions based on accurate, relevant data. C-level leadership can define the company’s strategy and vision operationally, enabling them to measure performance objectively, take early and effective corrective actions and capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.