In the early and mid-1980s, Motorola engineers decided that the traditional quality levels
— measuring defects in thousands of opportunities – didn’t provide enough granularity.
Instead, they wanted to measure the defects per million opportunities. Motorola
developed this new standard and made a cultural change associated with it. Six Sigma
helped Motorola realize powerful bottom-line results in their organization – in fact, they
documented more than $16 Billion in savings as a result of our Six Sigma efforts.
Six Sigma has evolved over time. It’s more than just a quality system like TQM or ISO.
It’s a way of doing business.
Six Sigma at many organizations simply means a measure of quality that strives for near
perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for
eliminating defects (driving toward six standard deviations between the mean and the
nearest specification limit) in any process – from manufacturing to transactional and from
product to service. A Six Sigma defect is defined as anything outside of customer
A Six Sigma opportunity is then the total quantity of chances for a defect.
The statistical representation of Six Sigma describes quantitatively how a
process is performing. To achieve Six Sigma, a process must not produce
more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
Two popular Six Sigma methodologies are DMAIC (define, measure, analyze,
improve, control) and DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify) processes.
Companies use DMAIC to improve existing process sets that are consistently
falling below specification, and DMAIC is designed to garner incremental
improvement. DMADV is used to develop new processes or products with high
initial quality levels.
DMAIC is a data-driven quality strategy used to improve processes. It is an integral
part of a Six Sigma initiative, but in general can be implemented as a standalone quality
improvement procedure or as part of other process improvement initiatives such as lean.
DMAIC is an acronym for the five phases that make up the process:
-> Define the problem, improvement activity, opportunity for improvement, the project
goals, and customer (internal and external) requirements.
-> Measure process performance.
-> Analyze the process to determine root causes of variation, poor performance
-> Improve process performance by addressing and eliminating the root causes.
-> Control the improved process and future process performance.
The application of DMADVis used when a client or customer requires product
improvement, adjustment, or the creation of an entirely new product or service.
The application of these methods is aimed at creating a high-quality product
keeping in mind customer requirements at every stage of the game.
Key concepts of six sigma
—> Critical to Quality: Attributes most important to the customer
—> Defect: Failing to deliver what the customer wants
—> Process Capability: What your process can deliver
—> Variation: What the customer sees and feels
—> Stable Operations: Ensuring consistent, predictable processes to improve
what the customer sees and feels
—> Design for Six Sigma: Designing to meet customer needs and process
1) In order to improve the entire process, Six Sigma does the required things
better and faster, that too at a much lower cost.
2) This quality improvement methodology can be employed in various facets of
business, right from human resource to production and order entry to technical
support with utmost ease and convenience.
3) The best part of adopting Six Sigma approach is getting a clear focus on
quality improvement methods that are extremely crucial to the valuable customers.
4) It can wonderfully eliminate the process variation and also inconsistency.
5) This methodology is known to bring about active participation of top
Unfortunately, no process is perfect and there are plenty of instances when
utilizing Six Sigma projects are not right for your business, such as:
—> If your organization is a small business or your production line is very simple,
you could easily spend more time and effort on working to improve processes that
may not be costing you very much at all.
—> In fact, you may be wasting time by trying to perfect steps in your process that
really do not need perfecting. Due to the nature of an ever-changing market, it is
virtually impossible to create a process so perfectly in tune to the customer that
no change is ever needed.
—> Additionally, when your Six Sigma improvement processes involve making
changes to better the product, unless you are investing money into marketing
those changes that you have made, the customer will not perceive an increase in
value and you will have trouble getting a higher price for what may be an improved
Any process in an organization can be implemented with Six
Sigma. Although there are many examples of successful
implementations of Six Sigma in organizations, the best of these
are found in manufacturing, retail, sales and marketing.
Those products or services that seek quality improvement are
the type that mainly benefit from Six Sigma. Nevertheless,
smaller deterministic steps are the easier way to achieving
analysis, measurement and improvement.
A defect is defined in Six Sigma as being any product or service
specification nonconformity. In essence, any process in Six Sigma
cannot create more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities to be
fully Six Sigma-compliant.
Produces 99.9997% accuracy, with only 3.4 defects per million
Six Sigma is designed to dramatically upgrade a company's
performance, improving quality and productivity. Using existing
products, processes, and service standards. Here comes the need of
Six-Sigma methodology to upgrade the performance or productivity
of the company.
Much like other strategies for improvement in the workplace,
Six Sigma processes are executed by individuals who have
achieved a level of certification, benchmarked against a
qualification scheme. In Six Sigma these are designated by
colored belts (as in Karate.)
The colors run from Six Sigma Green Belts at the bottom
up to Master Black Belts at the top. Each level must be
certified by the level above them.
Factors of six sigma
Six Sigma is a useful strategy for small businesses to adopt if they want to enhance the quality of
their products and services. Several factors come into play when using the Six Sigma method:
-> Emphasis on Quality: Six Sigma’s central theme is to deliver quality that the customer can
-> Identify Defects: As the Six Sigma methodology analyzes business processes, information
is gathered and used to identify problems and defects.
-> Process Delivery: The Six Sigma approach stresses that processes should be evaluated
from the point of view of the customer to identify what she feels and sees.
->Process Consistency: The lack of variation in a business process and the consistent
application of quality standards is one of the main assertions of the Six Sigma method.
-> Process Design: As Six Sigma ideals become ingrained in a company’s culture, a sustained
shift toward quality initiatives occurs in all areas of the organization.
-> Including quality into design standards which has already been explained in the earlier slides.
Key Factors of six sigma
1. Senior Management involvement
2. Selection of Six-Sigma projects
3. Selection of project Teams
4. Inclusion of Six-Sigma projects in Performance
5. Customization of Six-Sigma to the Organisation
6. Recognition and Celebration
Six Sigma activity dictates the use of Six Sigma tools often
referred to as a "tool belt," and these are frequently found where
Six Sigma is practiced. Some of the more common tools used in
Six Sigma include thought process mapping, affinity diagrams,
measurement system analysis, cause and effect analysis, mistake
proofing and many others.
A lot of these tools are like the ones used in the Toyota
Production System (TPS) and enjoy the same Japanese
nomenclature (e.g., Poka Yoke, mistake-proofing).
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