Six Sigma is a methodology for improving quality through a continuous effort to eliminate defects. The defects can be in a product, a person, a process, anything. Six Sigma defines a workflow for identifying a defect, determining its probable cause, fixing the underlying issues, and integrating the evaluation process as a part of organizational culture. Six Sigma stresses continuous evaluation with a goal of reaching a statistically consistent product. Continuous evaluation is a requirement because it not only continues to identify new defects, it also inhibits the reintroduction of defects that have already been eliminated. The basic Six Sigma design is described by the acronym DMAIC, which identifies the five tasks within the Six Sigma process: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control. These tasks are mapped together.
Alarm management provides a structured mechanism to control alarm related changes and must be
integrated into your culture as a part of normal procedures. Without a complete circuit of review, the
alarm management process will break down, eventually degenerating into special interest silos at
odds with each other regarding the “right” way to use alarms. Managing this cycle without
overloading resources requires careful orchestration.
The Six Sigma process is perfectly suited for adaptation as an alarm management methodology that
remains sensitive to resource scarcity and business constraints. Applying a Six Sigma structure to an
alarm management effort creates a pathway to sustained alarm improvement, heightened situation
awareness and enhanced operator effectiveness.