Datazinc - What is Six Sigma
What is Six Sigma?
It is an overall business improvement methodology that uses
data to measure and improve a company's operational performance by eliminating or preventing 'defects'
in processes. This proven method, evolved from its origins at Motorola in 1986, consists of these key
- Data-driven structured approach to problem solving
- A wide range of existing tools, such as pareto charts, hypothesis testing, DOE, simulation and lean concepts, are used in a logical sequence, known as Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC)
- Emphasis on sustainability
- Strong controls are put in place to ensure the improvements are permanent
- Focused application on real business issues
- Classroom learning is immediately applied on projects to resolve current problems
- Documented business impact
- Financial controllers endorse projects with quantified business impact
- Cross-functional teams
- Project teams include representatives from all aspects of the business that are involved with the process
- Accountability to produce timely results
- Attention is concentrated in order to achieve success in the near term
- Targeted training for key individuals
- The right training is delivered to the right people at the right time
- Enabling infrastructure
- Champions, mentors, Master Black Belts, Black Belts, Green Belts, Finance, and IT support are deployed to transform the business
- Top leadership support
- Executives visibly sustain the methodology to ensure long term results.
The method can be applied to any business process, from sales to manufacturing/service to collections.
It results in increased profits, capacity, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. It embraces
a culture change of relentless continual improvement.
The word "sigma" is a term used in statistics to represent standard deviation, a measure of
process variability. "Six sigma" describes a very high quality process: only 3.4 defects per
million opportunities. Most organizations operate at a lower quality level, 3 to 4 sigma. This means
they could be losing as much as 25% of their total revenue due to processes that produce too