Datazinc - What is Six Sigma

By: Datazinc  09-12-2011

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 success factors:

  • 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 many defects.

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Datazinc - Lean Manufacturing

This combination of best practices allows manufacturers to establish a waste reduction program leading to increased operating profit while reducing defects throughout the system. Lean Manufacturing systems combines the standardizing practices with attention to detail, adopting advanced technology and information systems to improve product flow.


Datazinc - Support Tools

Minitab all-in-one statistical and graphical analysis software package comes with on-line tutorials, help-menu, full documentation and is backed by an exceptional technical support and customer service team. You can apply these advanced analytical techniques to your new or existing spreadsheets to help understand and reduce the effects of variation on new or existing designs and processes.