Application of Six sigma concept to Effective Academic Library Management and users satisfaction

N.Suresh. M.Com, M.L.I.Sc (NET), M.Phil,

Assistant Librarian and Information officer,

Anna centenary Library, Chennai-25


Fundamental objective of six sigma is users’ satisfaction. This paper reviews the application of six sigma in Academic Library Management. Emphasis is given to application issues such as what are necessary critical success factors and key performance Library in order for a Provide better service to the users. The aim of this paper is to help widen the scope of six sigma application in Academic Library Management.

I .Introduction

Modern library management lays great emphasis on objectives to be achieved by the system. In library and information centres the foremost objective is to satisfy the need of its users. To achieve this goal proper library management based on scientific principles is very important. Six Sigma is a business management strategy is to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.

The eventual goal of any library is user’s satisfaction. Through implementing Six Sigma we can do continues appraisal and can full fill users’ needs. To improve the quality of the library, this paper insisting to implement Six Sigma in library management. The principle of this study is to seek for applications of Six Sigma as a result for well-organized Management. In addition it aims to launch information resources and quality service in the competitive world to improve users’ satisfaction.

The intention of the paper is to apply of Six Sigma as a tool for efficient service provider to library users. Six Sigma will improve the quality of the library, maximizing the users’ satisfaction and efficient library management.

II. Definition.

Six sigma is a philosophy, a measure, and a methodology that provides businesses with the perspective and the tools needed to achieve high levels of performance for both product and service offerings (Basek and Roy, 2005).

six sigma is “a disciplined method of using extremely rigorous data gathering and statistical analysis to pinpoint sources of errors and ways of eliminating them” (Harry and Schroeder, 2000).

Six Sigma stands for Six Standard Deviations (Sigma is the Greek letter used to represent standard deviation in statistics) from mean. It is statistically based methodology for improving product quality to meet the users’ needs. Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes (Antony 2002).

Six sigma is a well-structured, disciplined, Datadrivnmethd methodology defects, waste, or quality control problems of all kinds in manufacturing, service delivery, management, and other business activities it is a business strategy that allows companies to drastically improve their performance by designing and monitoring everyday business ( Harry, CEO of Six Sigma Academy, Phoenix, USA).

It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization ("Black Belts", "Green Belts", etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified targets. These targets can be financial (cost reduction or profit increase) or whatever is critical to the customer of that process (cycle time, safety, delivery, etc.) Six Sigma can be defined and understood at three distinct levels: metric, methodology and philosophy. In simple words we can say Six Sigma is a quality improvement

III. Advantages of Six Sigma.

Six Sigma helps to understand and manage user needs

v Line up the key process to achieve the needed requirements

v Exploit accuracy in data analysis to minimize defects in the process

v Bring fast development and continue improvement to management process.

v Minimizing the effort and maximizing the users satisfaction

v Helps to work smart rather than hard.

v Bringing the efficiency among employees

v Training is integral to the management system

IV. Disadvantages of Six Sigma.

Ø They opined that the quality standards should be according to specific task and measuring 3.4 defects per million as standard leads to more time spent in areas which are less profitable.

Ø Six Sigma gives emphasis on the rigidity of the process which basically contradicts the innovation and kills the creativity.

Ø People argue that Six Sigma is a bit gimmicky and simply a rebranding of the continues improvement techniques and tools as practiced by Toyota. It thus promotes outsourcing of improvement projects with lack of accountability.

Ø Six Sigma implementation constantly require skilled man force.

Ø While converting the theoretical concepts into practical applications there are lot to real time barriers which needs to be resolved.

V. Quality management in libraries.

Generally libraries are giving much attention on quality service to focus on users satisfaction.Quality service can be delivered if libraries improve its management efficiency. In general ready made service will help to satisfy users. Ready made service can be efficiently done through the process of Sig Sigma.First define the demand of the users then measure it , analyze the same, make in control and improve the quality then serve to users.

Library is a place where enormous of information is acquired, stored, classified and disseminated to its users at the maximum to satisfy their needs. To achieve this task library should have quality management process in libraries. So we have define the actual needs of the library users’ by focusing on their demands, measure, analyze, and control over it

VI. Key Concepts of Six Sigma.

In general Six Sigma has few concepts such as Critical to Quality, Defects, Process capability, and Stable Operations.

VI. (A) .Critical to Quality: This is one of the concepts of Six Sigma which insists to have attachment with users. In general if you have close relationship and contact with users you may easily come to know their needs, demands and complaints. The base for the quality is to know the important and significant need of the users.

VI. (B). Defects: This process helps you to overcome the failures at the same it will help you to minimize the defects. When you eliminate the defects simultaneously you can reach the point of what the customer wants.

VI. (C). Process Capability: This step helps you to analyze yourself to know the capability and capacity to process the delivery. Through this course you can analyze and improve the procedure to deliver your goods to users.

VI. (D) Stable Operations: Every action has its own reaction. Likewise if you follow the above methods you can develop the consistency, can predict, can process and can improve what exactly customer sees and feels.

The above all concepts will guide you to meet customer needs in an easiest way.

VII. Methodologies of Six Sigma.

There are two types of methodologies in Six Sigma one is DMAIC and another is DMADV.

DMADV stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify, which is used to create new product designs or process designs.

DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. DMAIC, which is used to improve an existing business process.

In this study we have applied DMAIC and PDCA methods. Both are insisting to have Continuous assessment, improvement, and guide to bring excellent services to library users to satisfy them at the maximum.

DMAIC, methodology contains five stages to improve the quality, service, resources of the library.

Define: Define library users’ needs and their expectation?

Define the better service to provide to the library users by defining the user group?

Measure: Measuring defect unit/result analysis according to the age, sex, scholarship, occupation and frequency of the library visit.

Analyze: Analyze the root cause of the problem to find the better solution. In general it is toughest task.

Improve: Improve the procedure and try to find out the new ideas, plans, thoughts, and ways to do better than the previous to attract the library users

Control: Control the existing systems and policies to prevent the repetition of the problems. In this stage we learn to plan to how to tackle the threat and danger which comes in the future.

We may adopt PDCA has four phases.

Plan: Setup the goals and objectives to processes necessary improvement for the library.

Do: Implement the processes and reach the expected standard result

Check: Study the existing one and create a new one to suit the betterment for the library users.

Act: Determine the changes to bring the betterment to improve the process.

In this paper we are going to discuss about DMAIC method as this is useful to the library to improve the existing one.

VIII. DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control).

First emphasize on “Define” the problems, the opportunity, the process, the projects, the goals and the users. The second one is “Measure”, which helps you to decide current level, current process and decide customer needs and requirements. “Analyze” is the step which guide you to decide the origin and source of the defects. The fourth step “Improve” is to improve the process by eliminating defects / performance / current procedure / standard of work. At last the finest step is “Control”, which makes you to look and take control all the above acts. DMAIC cycle method should repeat again and again for continuous improvement

VIII. (A) Define:

This is first and foremost stage. Where, we have to start the process. We have to find out what is the problem, define it clearly and analyze from where it starts. This phase helps us to make “problem statement”. This problem statement will provide a clear description of the problems and present significant details about the problems.This ‘define’ phase provide to know the existing problems, makes us to have our own objectives and users’ needs and demands. Based on their requirement we can define and set the objectives and goals to meet their needs. In general we can raise the following questions.

• Define library users needs?

• Define the better service to provide to the library users?

• Define the user group of the library?

• Define the current problems, present and existing requirements for the library users?

• Define the solutions for forthcoming and existing problems in the library?

VIII. (B) Measure:

The second stage of DMAIC process is “measure”. The purpose of the stage is to collect data and facts related to problems with users.Measurement will be done based on data collection and analysis, mapping the process andunderstanding and description of the process. Data collection is one of the important processes before analyzing the situation. Measuring defect unit/result analysis according to the age, sex, scholarship, occupation and frequency of the library visit.Measure the procedure in detail, precise the data collected to know the functionality and judge the points within the target process. Measure the available sources and services in the library. Measure the attitude and behavior of the library users. Librarian and library staff should have sound knowledge about users’ behavior and deeds to serve them in a better manner and to improve library services. Set up measurable and achievable targets or goals to bring up better services and strategies. And this is what we have to do.

VIII. (C) Analyze:

In this stage, we have to analyze the origin of the problem. Analyze the structure to make out the ways to eradicate the distance between the library users and library staff. Analyze the root cause of the problem to find the better solution. In general it is toughest task. If the root cause has found then we can analyze the library users’ demand in an easiest and systematic way.This process helps to minimize the distance between library employees and library users. So,close relationship helps to serve the library users in a systematic way. Study the above steps, analyze the results and identify what we have learnt.

VIII. (D) Improve:

This stage makes to improve the library condition from past to present and help us to do better in future. In this phase, we can improve the procedure and try to find out the new ideas,plans, thoughts, and ways to do better than the previous to attract the library users. This phasewill help the library to improve the work quick and fast. Ultimately library employees can save their time and improve their work as well as can serve the library users in fastest and quickest way. Efficient and systematic approach is indispensible to improve the library quality. This stage will full fill this requirement. This phase guide the library employees to work smart rather than work hard. Ultimately this helps to minimize the work and maximize service to the library users.

VIII. (E) Control:

The ultimate stage of DMAIC is ‘control’. This stage helps you to review and update the process. It takes overall control of the above all stages or phases. Here it is mandatory to determine the effectiveness, processes and implementations.There is a saying goes “prevention is better than the cure”. In such way control the existing systems and policies to prevent the repetition of the problems. In this stage we learn to plan to how to tackle the threat and danger in comes in future. This process guides us to learn to control and eliminate the library users’ complaints. This stage helps us to improve the efficiency of library employees.

IX. PDCA. (Plan – Do – Check – Act)

Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle for the better quality control.

PDCA is the most important structure for the overall strategic planning, needs-analysis, curriculum design and collection development, library goal-setting and evaluation, provision for development and enhancement of users’ services and their needs, and library instructions.

IX (A) Plan:

Determine what, when, why, and how should improve the existing library services and sources. Plan to find out the solutions for the problems being faced by the library users. Planning will be done based on customer needs and their satisfaction. Here the output is users’ satisfaction. So design new one or redesign the existing one to improve and to do better service to the library users’.

IX (B) Do:

Do is the second step to execute the plan what we have planned in previous one. Implement the processes and reach the expected standard result. Implement what you have planned and Decide when, where, and how will you execute your plan. Have a flexible and time-based decision to have all types of solution for all types of problems.

IX (C) Check:

This is step is important one as in this stage we have to check and study the above two’s. This phase will help you to proceed or not proceed. After analyzing and checking thoroughly we can decide to go next step. This is almost a check point for the above phases. So, check the activities so far you have done and ensure the output to give highest and the best service to library users.

IX (D) Act:

The final and the last step is ‘act’. Decide and precede the PLAN -DO-CHECK into action. Decision will be taken in this phase. Act to implement the amendments so far done in the above steps. Analyze, determine and implement the above actions in for the betterment and improvement of the library administration.

X. Impact of Six sigma

v Continues efforts will reduce process variation and help to achieve users' needs and demands.

v Six sigma helps to achieve short-term rather than long term performance.

v It helps to minimize library employees work effort and maximize the users' needs.

v It helps to achieve users’ satisfaction and to develop the quality of the library.

v Six sigma guide the employee to work smart rather than work hard.

XI. Conclusion.

Dr. S.R .Ranganathan father of library science said his five laws of library science fifth laws is Library is a growing organism. It is possible only librarian must thing innovate and adopt some new management concepts to library. Six Sigma is generally used in manufacturing sectors to minimize the wastages and to assure ths quality in such a way the same can be implemented in libraries to develop the process and improve the standard of the library to satisfy the users. It insists on continues improvement and development of the library as well as library staff members. The ultimate goal of the library is to satisfy its users. This can be achievable by the Six Sigma. It helps library employees to have a better management to evaluate the services to library users.


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