Six Sigma and the Internet of Things (IoT): A Match Made in Heaven

Users of Six Sigma are embracing the IoT and what it has to offer organizations. The surge in data that process managers have at their disposal is largely thanks to the internet.

Internet connectivity helps companies because of the information it provides is invaluable. With just about everyone’s phone, tablet, or computer connected to the internet, a lot of their personal data is available for organizations to use.

Data usage and ethics

Speaking about data usage does not mean hacking and stealing information. Search algorithms and social media platforms provide experts with a lot of information about the user’s personal preferences. Using this data is not unethical because the user has agreed to terms and conditions for its use. As long as the information is legally obtained, it’s use is sanctioned.

Think about your social media pages. Have you ever noticed how ads pop up in your feed that is related to things you’ve searched for in the past? Using artificial intelligence, the platform has detected your preferences and is using them to expose you to content it thinks you would like to see.

How IoT data is used in Six Sigma

The data one would get off the internet is raw, garbled, and meaningless unless it is analyzed and interpreted. Once converted to information using business analytics programs, it can be interpreted as intelligence. What the information reveals is an indicator of what a company should be doing to satisfy its customers.

With Six Sigma certification, translating the information into actionable intelligence is relatively easy. The system already relies on data to inform problem definition and control of interventions. With the IoT, it merely gives the process management professional even more data to use to make informed decisions.

Embracing the IoT and using it to the company’s advantage over competitors is the way to go, says Peter Peterka of 6sigma.com. There’s no such thing as too much information when it comes to making significant changes to how an organization operates.

Retailers and manufacturers benefit the most from this type of data gathering, and several large companies have turned around and survived owing to decisions made based on the IoT and Six Sigma principles.

Application of Six Sigma with data from the internet

Six Sigma expounds a five-step process. It works as follows:

D – Determining the problem that is hindering the organization from accomplishing its goals. This is root cause analysis, and additional data from the IoT proves helpful.

M – Measuring the situation as it currently is so that it can be compared to the same data after interventions. The IoT provides a lot of data about people’s preferences.

A – Analyzing the data to confirm the cause of the problem and start identifying interventions and solutions.

I – Implementing the selected remedy in the wake of the first three steps.

C – Controlling the implementation of the solution by collecting, collating, and interpreting new data to determine the intervention’s success.

Data integrity

As much as data from the IoT is useful, it is important to remember that some of its value may be lost during its interpretation. The human touch, in the form of data analysts, can tarnish the data, leaving it converted into less-than-accurate information.

Using the Six Sigma methodology, you are making data-driven decisions. However, you should make allowances for the fact that the data might have been corrupted, even unintentionally, before it reached you.

Compromised data integrity can wreak havoc in your process improvement plans. If possible, you should always have a secondary way of verifying the data, especially when you’re about to make sweeping changes in an organization.

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