- Six Sigma is a business strategy that employs well-structured continuous improvement methodology and statistical tools to reduce defects and process variability. It is a quality discipline that focuses on product and service excellence.
- Six Sigma has been employed in numerous companies to reduce operating cost, increase sales and revenue, reduce variability, reduce defects, increase reliability, incorporate innovation in products and services, increase productivity and profitability.
- The objective of a Six Sigma program is to reduce the variation in the process to the extent that the likelihood of producing a defect is virtually non-existent. This means improving quality, and meeting or exceeding customers’
- The improved quality and reliability in products and services leads to higher perceived value and increased market share thereby, increasing revenues and profitability.
- The term sigma (denoted by the Greek letter, is a metric based on the statistical measure called standard deviation and is a measure of variability in a process. A metric is simply a measurement of some quality characteristic (for example, percent of defects).
- The term Six Sigma statistically equates to 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Thus, a Six Sigma process is capable of producing 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO). In practice, this refers to the maximum acceptable range of noncompliance.
Six Sigma seeks to find and eliminate causes of defects and errors in manufacturing and service processes by focusing on outputs that are critical to customers and a clear financial return for the organization. Six Sigma can be viewed as:
- a customer focused approach to create near perfect processes, products, and services all aligned to delivering what the customer wants.
- a project based approach where majority of projects are selected for measurable bottom line or customer impact.
- a methodology that uses well defined set of statistical tools and process improvement techniques by well trained people in an organization.
- a business strategy that has evolved from a focus on process improvement using statistical tools to a comprehensive framework for managing a business.
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