Six Sigma Methodology | Six Sigma Model | 6Σ / 6σ

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What is Six Sigma? Description

Six Sigma (6Σ, 6σ) is a quality management methodology that provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation leads to defect reduction and improvements in profits, employee morale and quality of product. This quality measurement and improvement program was pioneered by Mikel Harry and Motorola. It focuses on the control of a process until the point of six sigma (standard deviations) from a centerline, or 3.4 defects per million items. It includes identifying factors which are critical for the quality as determined by the customer. It reduces process variation and improvement capabilities, increases stability and designs systems to support the six sigma goal.

Six Sigma 6 Σ

The Six Sigma model is a highly disciplined approach that can help companies to focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services. It is based on the statistical work of Joseph Juran, a Rumanian-born US pioneer of quality management. The word "Sigma" is a Greek sign used for a statistical term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection (standards deviation). If the sigma number is higher, you are closer to perfection. One sigma is not very good; six sigma is defined as only 3.4 defects per million. The central idea behind Six Sigma is that if you can measure how many "defects" you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how you can eliminate them. Thus you can almost come to "zero defects".

The Japanese origin of Six Sigma can still be seen by the system of "belts" which it uses. If you are new to Six Sigma and you go on a basic training, you get a green belt. Anyone who has the responsibility for leading a Six Sigma team is called a black belt. Finally there is a special elite group called Master Black Belts who supervise the Black Belts.

Five Steps in Six Sigma. Process

Typically, a Six Sigma process has the following five stages:

  1. Definition. The first step in any Six Sigma project is to clarify the problem and narrow its scope in such a way that measurable goals can be achieved within a few months. Then a team is assembled to examine the process in detail, suggest improvements, and implement those recommendations. In the manufacturing world, project managers and their sponsors typically begin by defining what constitutes a defect and then establish a set of objectives designed to reduce the occurrence of such defects.
  2. Measurement. In the second step of a Six Sigma project, the team gathers data and prepares it for high-level analysis.
  3. Analysis. Once a process has been mapped and documented, and the quality of the hard supporting data has been verified, the Six Sigma team can begin the analysis. The team members usually start by identifying the ways in which people fail to act as needed, or by identifying the ways in which people fail to ensure effective control at each stage.
  4. Improvement. Recommend, decide and implement improvements.
  5. Control. In the final stage of a Six Sigma project, the team creates controls. These are enabling the company to sustain and extend the improvements.

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Six Sigma Special Interest Group.

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Forum discussions about Six Sigma. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

topic Six Sigma in an R&D context
Is it possible to use Six Sigma to improve the quality of R&D processes? Or do R&D activities naturally defy systematic improvement efforts?...
Comments8 comments
topic Six Sigma DMAIC and DMADV
Two Six Sigma sub-methodologies are called: DMAIC - Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, and DMADV - Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify. They are both systematic, structured and fac...
Comments4 comments
topic The 5 x Why Method (The 5 Whys)
DESCRIPTION OF THE 5 WHY METHOD The "5 x why" method has been developed by Toyota to perform an iterative Root Cause Analysis of production-related problems. The "5 x why" method is one of the availa...
Comments35 comments
topic Focus of Six Sigma: The 6 Rights
Six Sigma management can focus on following 6 Right (Rights): - Right Support - Right Project - Right Road Map (DMAIC) - Right People (training) - Right Tools - Right Result (high performance, h...
Comments1 comments
topic Statistical Process Control (SPC)
According to many, Six Sigma is based on Statistical Process Control (SPC), a method of visually monitoring production processes. In Six Sigma, each business process must be measured and for this ofte...
Comments4 comments
topic Is Six Sigma Enough? (To Improve the Quality Level of an Organization...)
In order to improve a process, or to get a new standard or higher quality level in an organization, is 6 Sigma a good approach? My partners say that 6 Sigma is just for solving actual problems (d=def...
Comments10 comments
topic Six Sigma for Marketing
Six Sigma for Marketing (SSFM) is the newest Six Sigma variant. SSFM links interdependencies of strategic marketing, tactical & operational processes. It proactively drives growth (e.g., new offering...
Comments1 comments
topic Add Standardization to DMAIC Phases in Six Sigma (DMAICS)
In my experience I implemented the Six Sigma process following 6 instead of just 5 phases. The first five are the classical phases (DMAIC) for the analysis, solution implementation and solution effect...
Comments2 comments
topic Six Sigma in Medical Transcription
How can Six Sigma be used in the field of medical transcription? What are all the gradients that need to be worked on in medical transcription with Six Sigma?
Editor: Medical transcription is the p...
Comments4 comments
topic Differences Between Six Sigma and TQM
Although invented at Motorola, Six Sigma has been perfected at General Electric. GE is truly the home of Six Sigma. The factors differentiating Six Sigma from Total Quality Management are Six Sigma's:...
topic Evaluating Six Sigma Project Leaders
How can I evaluate the talent of Six Sigma project leaders (presentation skill, answering, strategic thinking, and so on)? What grading and evaluation of the factors do you recommend?...
Comments2 comments
topic Disadvantages of Lean Six Sigma. Drawbacks
Hello! I am a student and I am trying to investigate why not every company is willing to implement Lean Six Sigma (LSS) in their environment. I found out that some of them say that it is: 1. Too expe...
Comments1 comments
topic Best Practices Lean Six Sigma in Social Care
I have been using Lean Six Sigma (I'm a Black belt) in Adult Social Care in the UK and to my knowledge I am the only person in the UK using this in this business area. It is proving to be extremely us...
Comments2 comments
topic Six Sigma Manufacturing Example
Businesses who are not very active in quality management most of the time have a process quality from 2 or 3 sigma. This means a failure of about 66.700 products per million opportunities. At first si...
topic Quality Lessons in Dealing with Contractors
In the last 2 years I learned the following lessons working with Home Remodeling contractors. Lesson One: Be careful who you hire. Top contractors find and keep top craftsmen while contractors that d...
Comments1 comments
topic Six Sigma for Retail
What is best way to measure defects in a retail business in order to improve efficiency?...
Comments5 comments
topic 6 Sigma Timeframe/Period
Hi..., I have a concern regarding the execution of 6 sigma... When a business has to move from one sigma level to another, for how long we have to measure and analyse and how long (approximately) does...
Comments1 comments
topic Six Sigma in Passengers Handling
How can Six Sigma be applied to passengers handling services in air transportation at an airport?...
Comments4 comments
topic Six Sigma Black Belt Certification
I would like to know to what educational degree one can compare a Lean Six Sigma (L6S) Blackbelt certification? Thanks for your input....
Comments5 comments
topic Six Sigma In Inbound Call Center
How can Six Sigma be used in an inbound call center? What are the basic parameters to be defined?...
Comments5 comments
🔥 7 Key Principles of Six Sigma
In brief, Six Sigma is a methodology that ensures quality processes are followed every time to reduce variations. The 7 key principles of Six Sigma The seven key principles of Six Sigma are: A...
topic Next Step after Voice Of Processes have been Defined?
We have defined all the Voice Of Processes for our 6Ϭ Lean Manufacturing project. What should be our next step to construct a 6-Sigma Project charter in line with VOP?...
Comments1 comments
topic Organizational Development + Six Sigma or Lean
Have any of you integrated tools from Organizational Development with the use of Lean and Six Sigma. I would be interested to hear your reactions and experiences....
Comments4 comments
topic Should Six Sigma start after Lean Implementation?
My perception to Six Sigma is that it should start after Lean Implementation, at least basic (Stability Phase and Continuous Flow), then can go in parallel, since Lean helps set the standards and Six ...
Comments1 comments
topic Good Practitioner Books on Lean - Six Sigma, S&OP?
Hi all, short question, currently I am working in a pure logistics field but would like to develop my supply chain knowledge further. Especially looking at job adverts the topic lean and Six Sigma are...
Comments1 comments
topic Lean 6 Sigma in Laboratories
Hello, I want to know about Lean 6 Sigma in as I am laboratory supervisor. How can I use this approach to reach to high quality in my organization?...
Comments1 comments

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Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about Six Sigma. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 3 Additional Six Sigma Levels
Besides the Sigma levels 1 to 6, we can actually also distinguish between 3 other levels of using Six SIgma: A. Use Six Sigma as a statistical measurement unit (comparable to degrees or dollars) B. ...
🥈 The Basis of Six Sigma? Statistics and Discipline
Many of the tools of Six Sigma (and the concept of lean manufacturing with which Six Sigma is most closely identified) can be found in statistical process control, total quality management, statistics...
Comments2 comments

🥉 Implementing Six Sigma: Roles
The following names (some are from martial arts) are used for Six Sigma professional roles: Sponsor - Senior executive who sponsors the overall Six Sigma Initiative. Leader - Senior-level executive ...
Comments5 comments

topic Sustaining Momentum of Process Improvement over Time
Improving business processes using methods like Lean, Six Sigma and Agile often works well initially, however quite often the gains fade very quickly, according to recent research by Holweg and all. ...
Comments2 comments

topic Tools for Finding Root Cause in 6 Sigma
Which tool is preferable in Six Sigma methodology to detect or find the root cause from special cause variation and then solve accordingly? And how to differentiate if the tool is suitable to use for ...
Comments7 comments

topic The Cost of Poor Quality: Tools for Effective Control & Reduction
Which Six Sigma tools are effective to determine and reduce the cost of poor quality (in the manufacturing sector)? Since there are lot of quality tools used in industries, selecting correct, effect...
Comments7 comments

topic Preparing Six Sigma: Requirements
In order for Six Sigma to be successful in an organisation, the concept should be embraced from the grass roots to top management. Involvement of all stakeholders should be emphasised, as data is gen...
Comments4 comments

topic Evaluating Six Sigma Projects
How can I evaluate the quality of 6 Sigma projects (logical think, creative, right tools, effectiveness and so on). What grading and evaluation of the factors you recommend?...
Comments4 comments

topic Six Sigma Effectiveness
Please, can someone evaluate the effectiveness of Six Sigma process improvement methodology....
Comments7 comments

topic Hypothesis Testing in DMAIC Projects
Is hypothesis testing a must in DMAIC projects? Why (not)?...
Comments10 comments

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Six Sigma. Here you will find professional advices by experts.


Six Sigma Implementation Principles

Implementing Six Sigma Succesfully
In the article 'Six Sigma - the route to business excellence' (Management Services, Winter 2005), John Morgan argues tha...

Six Sigma Approaches / Steps Compared

Commonly Six Sigma projects focus on re-designing processes and systems and improving performance of existing systems. W...

Good Six Sigma Project Management

Six Sigma Project Characteristics
In their article 'Six Sigma in Service Organizations' (International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 2...

Hypothesis Testing in Lean Six Sigma Explained

SS Hypothesis Testing
How to do simple hypothesis testing in lean six sigma? How to simplify the basic roadmap in a hypothesis test? Using th...

6 Management Responsibilities in 6 Sigma

Six Sigma Implementation, Best Practices
The six imperative responsibilities top managers must take on in the early stages of a Six Sigma process: 1. Develop a ...

Human Sigma

Improving Employee-Customer Encounters
Although Six Sigma is an extremely powerful tool in manufacturing contexts, it falls short when it comes to the employee...

Six Sigma in Service Organizations

According to Jiju Antony ('Six Sigma for Service Processes', Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2005),...

How Six Sigma Supports TQM

TQM, Six Sigma
Forrest B.Green suggests in a paper called: Six-Sigma and the Revival of TQM that Total Quality Management (TQM) is unde...

Six Sigma Lessons Learned

Process Improvement of Six Sigma Projects
Although six sigma programs typically start of well, they all too often fail to have a lasting impact as participants gr...

Six Sigma in Service Organizations

Challenges and Difficulties
Although the adoption of a Six Sigma business strategy in service organizations can lead to considerable benefits, follo...

3 Critical Success Factors for Six Sigma Projects

Getting results out of a 6 Sigma project
3 Critical Success Factors of a Six Sigma project are: 1 Executive Engagement: - Support consistently the organization ...

3 Six Sigma Variants

Differences in Six Sigma Approaches
Behind the success of 3 major companies who innovatively applied Six Sigma in Supply Chain Management there are differen...

Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)

Testing Measurement Systems, Improving Measurement Systems, Assessing Measurement Systems
WHAT IS MEASUREMENT SYSTEMS ANALYSIS (MSA)? MSA is a type of experiment whereby you measure the same item or object rep...

Generic Six Sigma Project Ideas

Identifying LSS Projects
Here are some general 6 Sigma project ideas: • Reduce expenses at… • Reduce scrap… • Reduce downtimes… or increase up...

Design for Six Sigma

Supply Chain & Quality
In addition to the two common key methodologies: DMAIC and DMADV of Six Sigma, there is another separate approach which ...

How to Make Value Stream Map? Tips

Making a Value Stream Map, Creating a Value Stream Map
Hi, here's a great explaining youtube clip on tricks for making a VSM. Enjoy!...

DMAIC Approach is Sequential, But...

Six Sigma Implementation
The DMAIC approach is designed to allow for flexibility and iterative work, if necessary. As more is learned through thi...

The DMAIC Process Step by Step Example

Six Sigma Implementation, DMAIC Process
In order to better illustrate the DMAIC process, consider the case of a janitorial company that wants to boost the calib...

Lean Six Sigma Programs

Driving Innovation
Based on an analysis of Caterpillar and other companies that used lean Six Sigma programs to drive broad-based innovatio...


Six Sigma Method
What Key Overall Requirements are there? Requirements come from the customer (VoC) and the business (VoB), depending on...

Six Sigma Improvement Team Composition and Procedure

Six Sigma
Six Sigma teams should be multidisciplinary. The diversity of perspectives in the team — which includes someone with exp...

Appropriate Sample Sizes in Six Sigma

Six Sigma
The first question faced by a statistical consultant, and frequently the last, is, “How many subjects (animals, units) d...

Radical Innovations

Assessing Your Level of Preparedness
According to the article “Using a Lean Six Sigma Approach to Drive Innovation” by George Byrne, Dave Lubowe and Amy Blit...

Control Charts and Control Limits

Controlling the Process
Elements of a Control Chart There are three main elements of a control chart 1. A control chart begins with a time ser...
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Six Sigma. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.


Six Sigma Dictionary (250 terms)

6 Sigma Terms
Short explanation of 250 six sigma terms. By Luis Garcia Guzman....

Great Truths about Six Sigma

Introducing SIx Sigma
Humorous introduction to Six Sigma with cartoons from various cartoonists....

Six Sigma Explanation

Business Process Improvement
Definition of “Six Sigma” Six Sigma Best Practice Implementation framework Key Ingredients for a Successful Six Sigma ...

Lean Assessment Tool

Lean / Six Sigma Assessment
Spreadsheet calculates current and future Lean and Six Sigma scores based on scoring in 28 criteria. Generates Lean Over...

Six Sigma Intro

Introduction to SS
Introduction presentation by lakhanpalv....

Y=f(x) + E

DMAIC Project Control
This document guides and helps you through the DMAIC process using the well known Six Sigma formula Y=f(x) + e....

Six Sigma Calculator

Calculating DPM and PPM
Determine the process performance in terms of Defects Per Million (DPM) or Parts Per Million (PPM)....

Business Process Management and Improvement: Six Sigma, BPR and (R)Evolutionary Change

Process Management, process Improvement, Business Process Reengineering, BPR, Six Sigma
Presentation about process management, particularly process modeling simulation and design. The presentation focuses on ...

SS Origins and Destinations

Six Sigma and Sustainability
Presentation by Prof. Rick Edgeman explains DMAIC, DFSS, the role of 6 Sigma in biophysical sustainability, environmenta...

Introduction to Project Quality Management

Quality Management, Project Quality Planning, Project Quality Assurance, Project Quality Control
Presentation about Project Quality Management. A large part of the presentation is about Six Sigma as a quality manageme...

Overview Six Sigma

Six Sigma Method
Presentation defines Six Sigma as a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects in any pro...

8 Wastes Assessment and 5S Analysis in Office Environments

Lean, 5S , WASTE
In the office environment, our work does not take place on our desks, but on our computers and in our digital networks. ...

Six Sigma Demystified

MEASURE – SIX SIGMA IMPROVEMENT METHODOLOGY A. Ask each Customer: What do you need from the service / product we provi...

Using the Whys Method

Six Sigma, Toyoda, Toyota, Lean Production, Root Cause Analysis
To solve a problem effectively, you need to drill down through the symptoms to the underlying cause. Sakichi Toyoda, one...

Plan for Every Part

Lean Production, Parts Management, Value Stream Mapping, Continuous-flow Manufacturing
Business Managers are making progress in realising flow as more they learn about VSM (Value Stream Mapping) and continuo...


Lean, HoT
Japanese manufacturing techniques have had a major affect on the approaches taken in manufacturing and management in man...

Continuous Sampling Planning

The concept of continuous sampling planning originated in 1943 by Dodge. Known as CSP-1, continuous sampling is used whe...

Battle of Champions in Performance Improvement: Six Sigma versus Lean

Performance Improvement Lean Six Sigma
While both Six Sigma and Lean focus on waste reduction as a key aim (recognizing waste comes in many forms), this is the...

Six Sigma Diagram

Quality Assurance
Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in ...

Certifications from Various Accreditation Agencies

Six Sigma Certifications
The attachment gives an overview of existing Lean Six Sigma Certifications. When you want to find or become yourself a ...

Errors in Hypothesis Testing

Errors in Hypothesis Testing
An article with example how we can circumvent errors in Hypothesis testing. Setting the value of α is not automati...

A Guide to Control Charts

Applying Control Charts, Types of Control Charts
Control charts have two general uses in an improvement project. The most common application is as a tool to monitor proc...

Rolled Throughput Yield

Calculating Yield of a Process
Rolled Throughput Yield allows us to expose the "hidden factory" by providing visibility into the yield of each process ...

Sample Size Calculation

Calculating Sample Size, Determining Sample Size
The first question faced by a statistical consultant, and frequently the last, is: “How many subjects (animals, units) d...

Design of Experiments (DOE)

Designing Experiments, Designing Statistical Experiments
Quality managers who understand how to apply statistical tools for Design of Experiments (DOE) are better able to suppor...

Six Sigma Capability Studies

Determining the Six Sigma Level
For many years industries have used Cp, Cpk, Pp and Ppk as statistical measures of process quality capability. Some segm...

Research Links

Jump to further research sources regarding Six Sigma.













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