Six Sigma is a highly disciplined data-driven method for achieving near perfect quality. Six Sigma analyses can be applied to production or service, and has a strong emphasis on statistical analysis in design, manufacturing and customer-oriented activities.
For a process to achieve Six Sigma, it can’t have more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
Six Sigma History
Six Sigma was developed by Motorola in 1986 as a statistical method to reduce variation in their manufacturing process.
Measuring defects in parts per million was introduced together with Six Sigma, as defects in terms of thousands that was used earlier was seen as insufficient. The terminology Six Sigma with capitalised letters was following used as a branded name, and was equivalent to 3.4 defects per million.
In the late 1980’s Six Sigma was officially used internally at Motorola as an improvement methodology rather than only for defect reduction.
1995 General Electric decided to implement Six Sigma in GE, and when they stated it had saved the company more than three quarters of a billion USD in 1998, the use of Six Sigma became increasingly popular.
In 2000 Six Sigma was established as an industry on its own involving training and consultancy, and is today used by all sorts of organisations around the world.
Six Sigma Development
When Six Sigma first came out in the 1980’s it was more or less a statistical term referring to a performance target of 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO).
This have then gradually developed over time, and in the mid to late 1980’s Motorola extended it to include many existing quality methods and tools like Statistical Process Control (SPC), Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), and Process Mapping just to name a few. Following Six Sigma was extended beyond manufacturing to improve performance in other areas of the business.
Six Sigma quickly grew from a process for reducing defects in production to a management methodology for Continuous Improvement that make an organisation focus on
- Understanding customer requirements
- Aligning key business processes to achieve those requirements
- Using data analysis to minimise variation the processes
- Driving sustainable improvement to business processes
Six Sigma Model
Six Sigma use the DMAIC model for process improvement and is an acronym for:
- Define opportunity
- Measure performance
- Analyse opportunity
- Improve performance
- Control performance
Six Sigma Belts
- Master Black Belt: Trains and coaches Black Belts and Green Belts. Develop key metrics and the strategic direction program level.
- Black Belt: Leads problem-solving projects and trains and coaches project teams.
- Green Belt: Leads Green Belt projects and support with data collection and analysis for Black Belt projects.
- Yellow Belt: Participates as a project team member.
If you are interested in Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement, then our FMEA Training might be interesting for you as well, as it is one of the quality tools that focus on preventive maintenance and is part of Six Sigma.
Otherwise you can continue to our quality training page for an overview of the training we provide.Go to Quality Training