Saturday, January 31, 2009


While we have seen in brief what Six Sigma is and the concept of Quality, we shall dwell on the Origins of Six Sigma and how it has grown over the years.


MOTOROLA is the what you could term as the Birth place for Six Sigma
  • The Term "Six Sigma" was coined by "Bill Smith" an Engineer with MOTOROLA.
  • In the late 1970's - MOTOROLA started experimenting with problem solving through statistical analysis.
  • 1987 - MOTOROLA - officially launched it's Six Sigma Program.

GROWTH OF SIX SIGMAGE is the Company that gets the credit for perfecting Six Sigma.
  • Jack Welch launched Six Sigma at GE in the year 1996.
  • 1998/1999 - "Six Sigma - Green Belt" certification became the criteria for Management Promotions.
  • 2002/2003 - "Six Sigma - Green Belt" certification became the criteria for promotion to Management Roles.
Over the years more and more companies started applying Six Sigma to solve their problem solving capability, and improvement in performance and turnover. To name just a few of the Esteemed Companies that took advantage of this fantastic Methodology:

Besides the above reputed Organizations, scores and hundreds of Organizations are now taking to Six Sigma Methodology. A simple basic reason for this can be summarized in a view as to what Companies Experience by making a one Six Sigma shift (A measure or level in Six Sigma denoting the improvement in performance and Quality against a standard mean, which we will read about in detail in subsequent posts).

Companies that expect to make One Sigma Shift Improvement will Experience*

  1. A 20% Margin Improvement.
  2. A 12% to 18% increase in Capacity.
  3. A 12% reduction in Employees.
  4. A 10% to 30% Capital Reduction.
*Figures are given as guidelines, and may vary according to the Company, Product, and the correct application of the Methodology.

No wonder that so many Companies, Big and small are taking to Six Sigma seriously. Especially in the period of Recession, such Methodologies can mean a matter of Life and Death for the Organization.

More to follow in my next post. Watch out for updates. Subscribe to my Feed to keep abreast of latest updates.



Further to my first post, which was only an overview of Six Sigma, I will go into this topic at length. Six Sigma is a Methodology which cannot be just read and understood overnight. It is a Culture that one has to inculcate within ourselves. I will try to explain in brief each Term, and also try to give links to those pages where you can read at length and in details from the Professionals in this field.

These details have been compiled from innumerable articles from the internet, books, manuals, and Training books. In comments and suggestions are welcome in improving or correcting any error if existing. You kind co-operation in making this blog accurate, and readable will be highly appreciated.

We will in brief try to cover the following topics.
• What is Quality?
• What is Six Sigma
• Uses and Benefits of Six Sigma in Business and Industry.
• The utility and benefits
• Introduction to Six Sigma as methodology
• The Six Sigma organization

What is Quality? - Well the dictionary explains Quality as " the standard of how good something is as measured against other similar things" a very simple definition. In fact it is true that we mention the word Quality when we try to distinguish the excellence of a product or service against the other.

The concept of Quality and the very angle with which we perceive and imbibe it into our systems has changed over the years. 

There has been an Evolution of Quality. Quality can be viewed in two perspectives in so far as Six Sigma is concerned.
  • Reactive Quality- (Historic)
Quality Checks (QC) - Taking the defectives out of what is produced
  • Proactive Quality – (Contemporary).
Create process that will produce less or no defects

Six Sigma follows the second method.

Segments of Quality. When we say segment we understand classification of Quality systems and the way in which Quality is measured and applied to a particular Product, System, or Process.

We can Broadly classify Quality into three major Segments. 

  1. Methodologies.
  2. Standards.
  3. Capability Models.
Let us look at the Segments in brief.

Methodologies: Such as Six Sigma, Lean -Which are Scientific ways to improve capability, and Quality in a process.

- ISO 9000, ISO 14000, COPC, Malcolm Baldrige etc- Sharing "Benchmarked" practices - “Standardizing” 

Capability Models: eScm, CMM, CMMI - Best practices to build capability. 
So What is Six Sigma?
  • It is a methodology for continuous improvement
  • It is a methodology for creating products / processes that perform at high standards
  • It is a set of statistical and other quality tools arranged in unique way
  • It is a way of knowing where you are and where you could be!
  • It is a Quality Philosophy and a management technique 
Six Sigma is not:
• A standard
• A certification
• Another metric like percentage

Two Meanings of Sigma
• The term “sigma” is used to designate the distribution or spread about the mean (average) of any process or procedure.
• For a process, the sigma capability (z-value) is a metric that indicates how well that process is performing. The higher the sigma capability, the better. Sigma capability measures the capability of the process to produce defect-free outputs. A defect is anything that results in customer dissatisfaction.


As we have said we will take one topic at a time to try and get a better and clearer understanding of this fantastic methodology. Watch out for my next post.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Introduction to Six Sigma Methodology



Objective of the this brief Orientation is to prepare associates, leaders, managers to drive & support Six Sigma

Six Sigma – a Term often heard of or mentioned by so many- but used by only a few, is a simple yet accurate way of rendering Quality products, and services to our customers. I have tried to bring out the basic idea of Six Sigma in the abstract I have created, however, it is only mutual interaction and understanding of this methodology with respect to our process that will help us achieve better results.

Definition Of Six Sigma.

What Is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma stands for Six Standard Deviations (Sigma is the Greek letter used to represent standard deviation in statistics from mean, as seen above) Six Sigma methodology provides the techniques and tools to improve the capability and reduce the defects in any process.
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It was started in Motorola, in its manufacturing division, in 1979 where millions of parts are made using the same process repeatedly. Eventually Six Sigma evolved and applied to other non-manufacturing processes.

In Six Sigma we say that quality is a state in which value entitlement is realized for the customer and the provider in every aspect of the business relationship

Today you can apply Six Sigma to many fields such as Services, Medical and Insurance Procedures, Call Centers. The Bottom line is that the Organization should be a Learning Organization

Six Sigma methodology improves any existing business process by constantly reviewing and re-tuning the process. Six Sigma has a Long Term Outlook, & to achieve this, Six Sigma uses a methodology known as DMAIC (Define opportunities, Measure performance, Analyze opportunity, Improve performance, Control performance).

The Six Sigma methodology can also be used to create a brand new business process from ground up using DFSS (Design For Six Sigma) principles. Six Sigma Methodology aims for perfection. It allows for only 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO) for each product or service transaction. Six Sigma relies heavily on statistical techniques to reduce defects and measure quality. It’s important to understand that Six Sigma is a performance target or methodology that applies to a single Critical-to-Quality (CTQ) Characteristic, not to the Total Product.

For those who would like to read more on this article do go to the following fantastic site and get started on the basics.

In this Blog I will make an effort to publish as much information and important links to innumerable sites …from which you could read to your content. There are sites that offer Training courses as well…so take your time and make best use of these Tools.

Keep a watch for my next post which will contain exhaustive information and links to the best sites, and sources for SIX SIGMA.