Learn All About Six Sigma

Many companies are adopting a business strategy known as Six Sigma. It boasts methods that improve production, create success, and deter faults within your business. In a nutshell, by using this process you are aiming to perfect the productivity of your services by eliminating defaults and errors. In order to do this basic models that stress perfection are followed. But what is it, how does it work, and how can it assure that it accomplishes all that it promises? Let’s start from the beginning.

Six Sigma is both a term and quality improvement process that was developed by the Motorola company in the 1980’s. They developed the philosophy when they were criticized for poor production. While taking a deeper (and more statistical) look at their processes, they realized that it wasn’t quantity that guaranteed profits and beneficial results but quality of the products and services. The approach focused on calculable and certifiable figures, strong management, and specialized methodologies like the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control).

Now let’s do a quick breakdown of the word sigma to better understand the process that it is an integral part of. Sigma is the eighteenth letter in the Greek alphabet. Loosely defined, it represents mathematical sum or standard deviation. Here comes the figures part. If you really wanted to get a basic general definition for term ‘six sigma’, you would do so by saying it’s a process that must produce no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities, or DPMO.

Six Sigma represents perfection to six  standard deviations away from the mean.  With each additional sigma level, quality is increased profoundly.  Now these are all loosely rounded up but if you wanted to start from the top, and achieve zero sigma or none, you would be allowing more than 930,000 DPMOs, two sigma and you’re up to no more than around 308,537 DPMOs, three sigma: no more than around 67,000 DPOs; so on and so forth. Hypothetically there could be a seven or eight sigma, but through trial and error, six has proven to be the magic number. Basically you want to allow as little mistakes as possible, while still being realistic about your goals. So how is this done?

There are certain methodologies, tools, and processes that are used within the Six Sigma Methodology to keep things organized. The DMAIC Method is one of those; it stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.  Six Sigma Projects are carried out by trained and certified professionals.  This methodology is deeply rooted in teamwork, and there is a hierarchy of professionals, each with a different role within a Six Sigma Team.  From lowest to highest level of training there are; White Belts, Yellow Belts, Green Belts, Black Belts, and Master Black Belts.  A ‘belt’ designates that an individual has gone through extensive training at a certain level of expertise and has passed a certification examination.

What started simply as a company re-evaluating their managing techniques, now is a fast growing quality improvement process that countless businesses are starting to adopt. There’s a lot more to learn when it comes to the Six Sigma Process; you can start with a little bit of research or get certified in order to guarantee that your business follows this philosophy to success.  It really is an investment into the future gains of your business or organization.