Six Sigma Explained
Six Sigma is a business management strategy as well as a disciplined and data-driven methodology for process improvement. It was initially developed by Motorola in 1986, as a set of practices designed to improve manufacturing processes and eliminate defects. Todays, it is widespread in many sectors of industry and processes, from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.
In Six Sigma program, sigma rating is used as an index for measuring the capability of a process to produce “defect free” products or services with the corresponding expected yield or the percentage of defects. The higher the sigma rating, the less likely a process will produce defects. As sigma rating increases, quality goes up, cost goes down, and customer satisfaction goes up.
The term Six Sigma is a benchmark performance measure to describe the maturity of a process by sigma rating. Thus, it is a vision for operational excellence. To achieve the vision, Six Sigma is a management strategy that uses a set of quality management methods, and creates an infrastructure of people within the organization (champion, master black belt, black belt, green belt and etc.) that emphasizes on customer focus and variation reduction.
Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and variation in the processes. The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is to focus on process improvement and variation reduction through the implementation of Six Sigma improvement projects.
Six Sigma projects follow two methodologies, composed of five phases each; DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) is used in the projects for improving an existing process; DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify) is used in the projects for creating new product or process designs.
In Six Sigma program, improvement projects are supported by the structured management system, comprehensive methodology and tools, with the right people mind-set and skills that make breakthrough improvement possible.