Aseem Sharma, managing director, "apps" Management Systems and Consultants
Aseem Sharma is managing director “apps” Management Systems and Consultants, a Six Sigma consulting firm, in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. The dynamic and diverse firm deploys and implements Six Sigma hands on and is involved with quality and productivity management systems, total quality management, Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, statistical process control and quality management systems. The firm has helped other companies implement these quality tools and methods, which has resulted in big financial impacts and breakthrough achievements for small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses. The firm trains HR departments in the following courses:
• Six Sigma Black Belt.
• Six Sigma Green Belt.
• Design of experiments (DoE).
• Process failure mode and effects analysis (PFMEA) and design FMEA (DFMEA).
• Measurement system analysis.
• Statistical process control (SPC).
• Mistake proofing.
Sharma earned two bachelor’s degrees—he has a degree in science and another in engineering, in the field of pulp and paper science. Both degrees are from I.I.T. Roorkee, in Roorkee, India. Sharma has completed the following certifications: ISO 9001:2000 lead auditor from the Indian Institute of Quality Management, Six Sigma Black Belt (twice), Six Sigma Green Belt and ISMS 27001/2005 internal auditor.
Sharma holds the following certifications from Resource Engineering Inc., a computer based training program:
• Advanced SPC.
• Measurement system analysis.
• PFMEA and DFMEA.
• Six Sigma startup.
• Define, measure, analyze, improve and control problem solving.
• Mistake proofing.
• SPC workout.
• Ford’s eight disciplines problem solving.
Sharma has designed three Six Sigma Black Belt programs and more than 40 Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt tools and templates in Microsoft Excel. Of those tools, 15 have been displayed on ASQ’s Six Sigma Forum (www.sixsigmaforum.com) webpage. Additionally, he has published many articles in IPPTA, Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Association’s publication, on quality and Six Sigma. Sharma is currently working on a book, Six Sigma in the Paper Industry—A Breakthrough Management Strategy in Pursuit of Excellence.
Sharma recently answered questions about the importance of Six Sigma and quality.
What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
The most important aspect of a Six Sigma project is to identify key business processes and sub-level processes and define the problem clearly before taking any measures. Then comes the measurement stage, which should pass the SMART gate (specific, measurable, achievable, reliable and time bound). If one is not able to define the problem accurately and in a precise fashion, then nothing further can be done. Also, the top management commitment is most important when one is working with the top-down approach. One can also work with a bottom-up approach, implementing key projects and then let the management know the real gains. Good projects, good people and choice of the right Black Belts and Green Belts with the top management leadership commitment and strictly following the define, measure, analyze, identify and control roadmap are also some key aspects in completing Six Sigma projects. Six Sigma is 80% people and 20% tools.
Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
Six Sigma deployment is important for an industry’s economic growth because a better economy makes the world a better place to live. Six Sigma is a rigorous, relentless and ruthless pursuit for variance reduction. It is a breakthrough management strategy that gives high financial impact to an organization, and at the same time, it aligns with a company’s business strategy.
Six Sigma is important because it is:
• A way of running a business and a way of life that includes fewer mistakes.
• A quality philosophy that helps us deliver world-class products and services with approximately zero defects.
• A key business strategy that results in an overall cultural change, which leads to employee empowerment and uses a proactive, rather than reactive, approach.
• A great help in improving quality and productivity, thereby reducing wastes, downtimes, cycle times, rejects, defects, scrap and rework.
• A structured problem-solving approach that assumes all work is a process.
• A broad business approach that contains data-driven facts based on the method of driving all defects into parts per million of opportunities. This provides a high financial impact to the organization and at the same time, aligns with a company’s business strategy.
Why do you think quality is important?
These days, quality is defined where value entitlement is realized through all key business processes to the organization, its customers and its suppliers in every aspect of the business relationship. Quality means delivering world-class products with approximately zero defects.
What is your favorite benefit of quality?
My favorite benefits of quality are:
Delivering world-class products.
Proactive, not reactive approach.
Teamwork support and growth.
Problem solving with high business financial impact.
Good supplier and customer relationship.
Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
After completing a bachelor of engineering program in 1990, I worked in operations. I realized that without automation, meeting the target and specifications of the critical-to-quality parameters could only be completed with experience as well as the trial and error approach, which was totally reactive. Later, throughout 2000, I was handling a customer service department at a large-scale paper mill. The eight to 10 daily customer complaints were the main highlights, and it was painful to resolve the issues. I then started taking interest in quality. I became interested in statistical process control (SPC) and using a bottom-up approach.
The first two quality books I read were Total Quality Control by Armand V. Feigenbaum and Quality Planning and Analysis by Joseph M. Juran and Frank Gryna. I became interested in SPC and using a bottom-up approach. I started implementing SPC and statistical quality control in my own applications and attending lectures on the topics.
Then my first article in IPPTA, a technical journal of the Indian pulp and paper industry, was published. The article was about reducing process variability and customer complaints using the desirability concept. I started learning the main applications of the process capability indexes and taught them to my peers. In 2002, I was a team member of total productive maintenance’s Hinshitsu Hozen, or quality maintenance pillar.
At that time, total productive maintenance (TPM) was being implemented. I was a leading member of the implementation team and was handling all work, including completing the homework the TPM consultant gave us and being on hand to answer his questions. From TPM, I learned Six Sigma.
From there, quality became my passion. I read more books: Managing for Total Quality: From Deming to Taguchi and SPC by Nikos Logothetis and 100 Methods in Total Quality Management by Gopal K. Kanji and Mike Asher. This led into deeper interest in quality and Six Sigma, and I completed my first Six Sigma Black Belt and Six Sigma Green Belt certifications. Later, I took an ISO 9001:2000 lead auditor course and completed my second Six Sigma Black Belt certification and ISMS-27001/2005.
Experiencing this kind of knowledge is exciting—but it’s even more exciting to participate in advancing knowledge. After completing four Six Sigma Black Belt projects, my interest in quality and Six Sigma deepened.
What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
Quality requires dedication, hard work and application of tools at the right time and in the right way. Even if you fail to achieve results once or twice, don’t get bogged down.
Sharma has published numerous articles on quality and Six Sigma, and he is currently writing a book on Six Sigma in the paper industry. Additionally, he is a frequent contributor to the Six Sigma Forum tools and templates exchange.