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Six Sigma – Quick Overview

Six Sigma is a data driven, customer focused, and result oriented methodology utilizing statistical tools and techniques to systematically eliminate defects and inefficiencies to improve processes. It is a systematic method to clearly define the problem, then measure and analyze the business processes to identify critical factors affecting related business results and establishing a cause and effect relation, thereby allowing us to improve the processes and establishing controls around those improved processes.

Today, Six Sigma is a widely accepted quality concept in the corporate world. Starting its journey in the 1980s as a data driven method to reduce variation in electronic manufacturing processes in Motorola Inc. in the USA. Six Sigma became famous when Jack Welch made it vital to his successful business strategy at General Electric in 1995.

Six Sigma is no more confined to the manufacturing sector or to large companies. Today it is used as a business performance improvement methodology all over the world in diverse industries including general manufacturing, construction, banking & finance, healthcare, education, government, KPO/BPO, IT/Software.

The term ‘Six Sigma’ comes from statistics and is used in statistical quality control (SQC), which evaluates process capability i.e. the numerical measure of the ability of a process to meet the customer specifications. It was originated from terminology associated with manufacturing, which refers the ability of manufacturing process to produce a very high proportion of output within specifications. The sigma rating of a process indicates its yield or percentage of defect-free outputs it produces. A Six Sigma process is the one, which produces 99.99966% statistically defect-free outputs, which is equivalent to 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO).

Six Sigma uses a set of quality management and statistical methods through creating a team of experts within the organization (Executive Leadership, Champions, Black belt, Green Belt, Yellow Belt) having specific skill sets required to carry out Six Sigma projects. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of phases with quantifiable value targets e.g. reduction in process cycle time, reducing costs, increase in quality ratings, improving customer satisfaction indices/loyalty measures, reduction in defect rates, etc.

Some high level benefits of Six Sigma:
  • Six Sigma helps companies to reduce cost and improve productivity
  • Six Sigma improves quality of projects output by reduction of inefficiencies and defects
  • Six Sigma increases customer satisfaction, and Loyalty
  • Certified Six Sigma Professionals can help increasing ROI significantly