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Sunday 2 February 2020

What is Six Sigma? Why everyone have to read Six Sigma?

What is six sigma?

Six sigma is defined as a method which provides tools to improve process capability.It is a highly disciplined process that helps us focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.

Aim of Six sigma is to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimising variability in manufacturing  processes.

History of Six sigma:

  • In 1980s engineers in Motorola inc. in the USA used Six sigma for an in-house initiative for reducing defects in production processes, because it represented a suitably high level of quality.
  • In 1991, Motorola certified its first ‘Black Belt’ Six Sigma experts, which indicates the beginnings of accredited training of Six Sigma methods.
  • In 1995, Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric decided to incorporate Six Sigma in GE.
  • In year 2000, Six Sigma was effectively established as an industry in its own right, involving the training, consultancy and implementation of Six Sigma methodology in all sorts of organisations around the world.
  •  ISO 13053:2011 was published by the  International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) which defines the Six sigma process.

Key Elements of Six sigma:

There are three key elements of Six Sigma Process Improvement.
1. Customers
2. Processes
3. Employees

1.The Customer

Customers define quality. They expect effeciency , reliability, reasonable pricing, delivery on time , simple and accurate processing of transaction  and more.
Today, delighting a customer is a necessity. Because if we don’t do it, someone else will!

2.The Processes

 The main element of Six Sigma is identifying processes and identifying metrics and measurements for processes. Quality involves looking at a company from the viewpoint of the consumer. In other words,  from the outside-in we have to look at given processes. By understanding the transaction life cycle from the customer’s needs and processes, we can discover what they are seeing and feeling. This will give a chance to identify weak area within a process and then we can improve them.

3.The Employees

 All workers must be active in the Six Sigma program at the organisation. The company must provide opportunities and incentives for employees to focus their talents and ability to satisfy customers.
To six sigma, this is crucial for all team members to have a well defined function with tangible objectives.

Six Sigma Methodology:

Methods used in six sigma



Define the issue or mission objectives that needs to be addressed. The first step is to set Define. Only four major tasks are performed during the classification phase-
1. Project team is formed.
2. Document Customers’ Core Business Processes
3. Develop a Project Charter
4. Develop the SIPOC Process Map


Measure the issue and method by which it was created.
The overall output of the Core 
Business Process is calculated during Measurement Phase.
 There are three important part of Measure Phase.
1. Data Collection Plan and Data Collection
2. Data evaluation
3. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis – FMEA


Analyse data and process to determine root causes of defects and opportunities. "Six Sigma seeks to identify the causes of defects, measure those defects,to quantify such defects and to examine them in order to reduce them."
We will find five different forms  of research which will help to further the project goals . These are an overview of the source, method , data, resource, and communication.


Improve the process by finding solutions to fix, diminish, and prevent future problems.If the project team does a thorough job in the root causation phase of Analysis, the Improve phase of DMAIC can be quick, easy, and satisfying work.
Improve Phase aims to recognize breakthroughs in progress, recongnize high gain alternatives, pick preferred solution, plan the future environment , evaluate the current Sigma standard, conduct cost/benefit analysis,  plan."


Implement,monitor  and maintain  the solutions for change  to keep the cycle on the new path.
DMAIC's final step is monitoring, which is the period in which we ensure that the processes continue to work well, achieve desired output results, and maintain quality levels. You should concerntrate on four different control elememts, which are:
1. Quality Control
2. Standardisation
3. Control Methods and Alternatives
4. Responding When Defects Occur




Defining the issuse or Project priorites that needs to be tackled. Business will define the consumer and what form of a product and expect from it. These are analyse by using flow causes and effect diagrams, check sheets and Pareto analysis.


Measure and determine customer’s needs and specifications. Company will collect the baseline data to determine where the process stands as compared to where it needs to be. And also see the critical to quality characteristics and estimate current process capability. Then find out the current sigma level according to those identified characteristics that are mostly important to the customer.


Analyse the process for meet the customer needs. This shows the amount of improvement necessary to make the Critical to quality characteristics the best in the industry. For this phase, company use
some descriptive statistical methods like mean, mode, median, etc.


Design a process that will meet customers’ needs. Design details, optimise the design, and plan for design verification. This phase may require simulations.


Verify the design performance and ability to meet customer needs. Verify the design, set up pilot runs, implement the production process and hand it over to the process owner(s).

Six Sigma Belts:

3 levels (3 belts)
Based on level of competency in understanding and applying related tools.
1. Green Belt: Simple analytical method, working on project less complex.
2. Black Belt: Emphasise on application and analysis, works projects with the help from green belt.
3. Master Black Belt: Understanding application and statistically theory behind application, trains other belts, lead project review.

Benefits of Six sigma:

1. Defined process for problem solving.
2. Proven methodology for problem solving.
3. Consistency with results.
4. Focus on bottom line which encourages credibility/support from top management.
5. Significant financial results in 4-8 months.
6. Accelerating fast breakthrough performance.
7. Ensuring Six Sigma is an extension of the Corporate culture, not the program of the month.
8. Results first, then culture change.

Written by

Paras Manchanda 
Also Read

FMEA- Failure mode and effect analysis

PPAP (Production Part Approval Process)

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