Understanding the Six Sigma Process

The Six Sigma process pertains to a quality management viewpoint originally instituted by Motorola in 1981 and motivated from Japanese quality control strategies. Its process performance signifies a level of creation quality that makes less than 3.4 mistakes per one million items created in a production line.

Before the Motorola Company created and adopted the Six Sigma quality improvement strategy, the Greek letter Sigma was typically used as a mathematical term, pertaining to standard deviation (SD). This statistical limit describes the inconsistency of a measurement in a group of items presumed to be the same. Analysts graph this limit and visually characterized the allocation of value within the standard. They get a “bell shape” curvature, with several items very close to the standard value and a diminishing number of items with measurements more remote from the standard. Single sigma is the break beneath the curvature that obtains 34.1 percent of the items over the standard.

A manufacturer assesses the class of its production in “Sigma” deviations through calculating the rate of errors on the production line up. Some experts stated that a business normally works at 6,210 failures per million elements or four sigma. Hence, in order to attain a higher level of performance that is near perfection, a company needs to create items that meet client requirements 99.99966 percent of the time, or fewer than 3.4 errors in one million opportunities.  This is also known as 3.4 DPMO or defects per million opportunities.

To execute a process that brings this level of performance, the employees need to correct and catch any small deviation in processes instantly. The company tasks trained and certified employees with examining statistical graphs signifying results of each process step. When they observe a deviation from the standard, assessment teams locate the root cause and constrict the procedure or change the instruction of the workers. The Six Sigma strategy calls for choosing only the process developments that raise profitability for the business.

Sticking to it this process long-term is a serious business commitment, although a very worthwhile one. The business needs to dedicate staff, part-time and full-time, to the accomplishment of preservation of its principles. Training shapes the center of the implementation. The level of instruction follows a value that reflects the practice employed in martial arts. Top professionals represent “Black Belts”, “Master Black Belts”, and “Champions”. These professionals may allot 100 percent of the time to process developments or guide teams to constrict performance in the important parts of the company. “Yellow and Green Belts” study the principles and incorporate the practices in their everyday work, but do not usually lead projects.

Upon training and exhibition of understanding through a proper or formal project, the employees take an examination from a training provider who grants certification awards. The instruction is deep and consists of classes taken either online or on site.  There are many different training providers available and one should be chosen based upon pricing, quality, and reviews from other companies and students.  The Six Sigma Methodology has been implemented in companies both large and small, locally, and globally.

The Six Sigma process and viewpoint came at a time when the other quality systems made their ways in manufacturing and analysts considered advantages of one system over another. Its critics have recognized the error-free performance and great developments in profitability, but worry that devotion to processes left no room for freedom and creativity to invent new products or services.