"... the most powerful breakthrough management tool ever devised"
Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder Six Sigma: The BREAKTHROUGH Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World's Top Corporations
"Six Sigma is arguably the most important business and industry initiative that has involved statistical thinking and methods."
Ronald D. Snee "Impact of Six Sigma on Quality Engineering" Quality Engineering Volume 12, Number 3, 2000
"Six Sigma has spread like wildfire across the company and its transforming everything we do."
Jack Welch, CEO, GE Business Week special report June 8, 1998
Six Sigma Vs. Lean Manufacturing
Six sigma and lean manufacturing are methods to improve business and manufacturing processes and drive profitability of companies. Both six sigma and lean manufacturing, are proven concepts and have saved companies billions of dollars and are the leading continuous improvement methods utilized today.
Lean Manufacturing Focuses on eliminating the 7 or 8 wastes and is based on the philosophy of getting all levels of an organization involved. It was developed by Toyota in the late 1950’s.
Six sigma is a philosophy of doing business with a focus on eliminating defects through fundamental process knowledge. Six sigma methods integrate principles of business, statistics and engineering to achieve tangible results.
Six Sigma holds the improvement process in the hands of a select group of “belted” individuals
In 1986, Bill Smith, a senior engineer and scientist at Motorola, introduced the concept of Six Sigma to standardize the way defects are counted.
Six Sigma provided Motorola the key to addressing quality concerns throughout the organization, from manufacturing to support functions. The application of Six Sigma also contributed to Motorola winning the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award in 1988.
Since then, the impact of the Six Sigma process on improving business performance has been dramatic and well documented by other leading global organizations, such as General Electric, Allied Signal, and Citibank.
Today, Motorola continues to implement Six Sigma throughout its own enterprise, and extends the benefit of its Six Sigma expertise to other organizations worldwide through Motorola University.
Six Sigma was derived from the statistical term of sigma which measures deviations from perfection
Six Sigma History
1986: Motorola Defines Six Sigma and in 1987 Chief Executive declares Motorola will be at 6 σ by 1992 (5-year goal)
1988: Six Sigma consortium is formed:
Motorola, Raytheon, ABB, CDI, Kodak
1989/1990: IBM, DEC try Six Sigma -- and fail
1993: AlliedSignal adds a new level to Six Sigma : Dedicated Black Belts with a supporting infrastructure
1995: Jack Welch of General Electric adopts Six Sigma
1996-1998: Six Sigma implementation expands significantly as companies observe the success of Allied and GE : Siebel, Bombardier, Whirlpool, Navistar, Gencorp, Lockheed Martin, Polaroid,Sony, Nokia, John Deere
1999: Starting to see exponential growth. Formal Six Sigma training begins at ASQ: Johnson & Johnson, Air Products, Maytag, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Honeywell, PraxAir, Ford, BMW, Johnson Controls, Samsung
Sigma Level A value from 1 to 6 that signifies the maximum number of defects per million: 1 Sigma = 690,000 defects/million = 31% accurate 2 Sigma = 308,537 defects/million = 69.1463% accurate 3 Sigma = 66,807 defects/million = 93.3193% accurate 4 Sigma = 6,210 defects/million = 99.3790% accurate 5 Sigma = 233 defects/million = 99.9767% accurate 6 Sigma = 3.4 defects/million = 99.999997% accurate
Six Sigma Key Concepts
At its core, Six Sigma revolves around a few key concepts.
Critical to Quality : Attributes most important to the customer
Defect : Failing to deliver what the customer wants
Process Capability : What your process can deliver
Variation : What the customer sees and feels
Stable Operations : Ensuring consistent, predictable processes to improve what the customer sees and feels
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) : Designing to meet customer needs and process capability
Six Sigma Methodology
Six Sigma has two key methodologies:
DMAIC and DMADV.
DMAIC is used to improve an existing business process.
DMADV is used to create new product designs or process designs in such a way that it results in a more predictable, mature and defect free performance.
Statistical Process Control Methodology
Statistical process control is an important part of Six Sigma methodology, which proceeds through the following steps, also called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control):
1. Define - benchmarking, process flow mapping, flowcharts
2. Measure - defect metrics, data collection, sampling
3. Analyze - Fishbone diagrams, failure analysis, root cause analysis
5. Control - SPC control charts, performance management
Six Sigma Five Phases
Basic methodology consists of the following five phases DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify):
Define - formally define the goals of the design activity that are consistent with customer demands and enterprise strategy.
Measure - identify CTQs (Critical to Quality), product capabilities, production process capability, risk assessment, etc.
Analyze - develop design alternatives, create high-level design and evaluate design capability to select the best design.
Design - develop detail design, optimize design, and plan for design verification. This phase may require simulations.
Verify - verify design, setup pilot runs, implement production process and handover to process owners. This phase may also require simulations.
Six Sigma Key People Roles
Executive Leadership includes CEO and other key top management team members. They are responsible for setting up a vision for Six Sigma implementation. They also empower the other role holders with the freedom and resources to explore new ideas for breakthrough improvements.
Champions are responsible for the Six Sigma implementation across the organization in an integrated manner. The Executive Leadership draws them from the upper management. Champions also act as mentor to Black Belts.
Master Black Belts , identified by champions, act as in-house expert coach for the organization on Six Sigma. They devote 100% of their time to Six Sigma. They assist champions and guide Black Belts and Green Belts. Apart from the usual rigor of statistics, their time is spent on ensuring integrated deployment of Six Sigma across various functions and departments.
Black Belts operate under Master Black Belts to apply Six Sigma methodology to specific projects. They devote 100% of their time to Six Sigma. They primarily focus on Six Sigma project execution, whereas Champions and Master Black Belts focus on identifying projects/functions for Six Sigma.
Green Belts are the employees who take up Six Sigma implementation along with their other job responsibilities. They operate under the guidance of Black Belts and support them in achieving the overall results.
ASQ American Society for Quality
Six Sigma Academy
Institute of Industrial Engineers
ISSSP International Society of Six Sigma Professionals