Understand Six Sigma Method: Features, Benefits, Challenges

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What Is Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a business strategy that employs well‐structured continuous improvement methodology and statistical tools to reduce defects and process variability. It is the quality discipline that focuses on product and the service excellence. Six Sigma has been the employed in numerous companies to reduce operating cost increase sales and the revenue increase reliability incorporate innovation in products and the services increase productivity and profitability.

The objective of a Six Sigma program is to be reduce variation in the process to the extent that likelihood of producing a defect is the virtually non‐existent. This is a means improving quality and the meeting or exceeding customer’s expectations. The improved quality and the reliability in products and services leads to the higher perceived value and increased market share thereby increasing revenue and the profitability. The term sigma denoted by the Greek letter is a metric based on the statistical measure called standard deviation and is the measure of variability within a given population around the mean.

Process Capability

In Six Sigma (SS) a metric  is a measurement of the certain quality characteristics for example; percent defect. The term sigma also refers to be the population falls within plus or minus six standard deviations of the mean.  Of the   Statistically Six Sigma equates to the 3.4 defects per million opportunities. The Six Sigma process is capable of the producing 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO). In practice, this refers to the maximum acceptable range of the noncompliance.

History of Six Sigma

  • The Originated at Motorola in the early 80’s
  • Doesn’t use the Quality in the name Uses a modification of the Deming Plan -Do it.
  • The Uses a modification of the Deming Plan Do Check Act PDCA the cycle
  • Adopted widely in the 90’s by major corporations the including AlliedSignal now Honeywell GE Kodak and the growing list.

Six Sigma Methodology

The Six Sigma approach is a collection of the managerial and statistical concepts techniques that focus on reducing process variation and the preventing product deficiencies. As a mentioned earlier the variability in a process is described by the sigma. This is a sigma standard deviation of the measurements around the process mean. The process has achieved the six-sigma capability will have so much smaller the variation.

In the many processes we establish a relationship between the response output and input variables and the Six Sigma approach identifies the process variables that is a cause variation in the products. The Some of an input variables are the controllable and are critical to be the maintaining quality. These variables must be controlled within a specified the range.

Six Sigma is the based on a strategic improvement methodology known as (DMAIC) which stands for the Define Measure Analyze Improve and the Control. The steps in (DMAIC) methodology contain several simple to the advanced statistical tools and the other process-improvement tools the used to carry out the structured philosophy of Six Sigma. The (DMAIC) process is the briefly explained below followed by a detailed explanation of the each.

Features of Six Sigma

  • Six Sigma’s aim is to be eliminate waste and the inefficiency thereby increasing customer satisfaction by the delivering customer is the expecting.
  • Six Sigma follows a structured methodology and the defined roles for the participants.
  • Six Sigma is the data driven methodology and requires the accurate data collection for the processes being analyzed.
  • Six Sigma is about putting results on the Financial Statements.
  • Six Sigma is the  business-driven multi-dimensional structured the approach for:
  • Improving the Processes
  • Lowering the Defects
  • Reducing process in the variability
  • Reducing the costs
  • increasing is the customer satisfaction
  • Increased the profits

The word six Sigma is a statistical term the measures how far a given process deviates from the perfection. The central idea behind Six Sigma: If you can measure how many “defects” you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how to eliminate them and get as close to “zero defects” as possible and specifically it means a failure rate of 3.4 parts per million or 99.9997% perfect.

Benefits of Six Sigma

Six Sigma offers six major benefits that attract companies:

  • Generates sustained success
  • Sets a performance goal for everyone
  • Enhances value to customers
  • Accelerates the rate of improvement
  • Promotes learning and cross-pollination
  • Executes strategic change

Project Selection for Six Sigma

One of the most difficult challenge in the Six Sigma is a selection of a most appropriate problem to the attack. There are generally two ways to the generate projects.

  • Top-down: This an approach is the generally tied to business strategy and it is the aligned with a customer needs. The major weakness is they are too the broad in scope to be completed in a timely manner most the six sigma projects are expected to be the  completed in the 3-6 months.
  • Bottom-up: In this approach Black Belts (BB) choose the projects that are well BE suited for the capabilities of teams. A major drawback of the approach is a projects may not be the tied directly to strategic concerns of the management thereby receiving the little support and low recognition from the top.

Six Sigma Strategy

  • Implementation is the top-down. CEO driven with executive management and the Champions process owners leading the initiative.
  • Improvement the projects must be integrated with the goals of the organization.
  • Six Sigma uses a divide and the conquer approach. Find © 2008 InnoCentrix, LLC 22 and work on the most important key customer related the projects.
  • Uses several levels of competency in the Six Sigma implementation:
  • Champions
  • Master the Black Belt
  • Black the Belt
  • Green the Belt

Roles & Responsibilities

Executive Team:-

Provide continuous support to drive for the results. Sets strategic direction identify core business process issues the prioritize.


  • Identifies high impact projects by combining the strategic vision of the executive team & the key customer and process needs of the business.
  • Facilitates successful project completion, coaches teams

Master Black Belt:

  • Highly skilled & experienced in all aspects of Six Sigma
  • Coach and mentor to Black Belts, works with Champion on project selection

Green Belt:-

  •  Project team member
  • Trained in Six Sigma methods and tools

Why adopt Six Sigma

  • The Concept has been around for the 16 years proven track record at the big companies.
  • Has shown the most endurance and return on investment of the any improvement initiative.
  • Starting to be the implemented in small and medium sized the corporations.
  • Provides a comprehensive set of the philosophies tools methods and the fundamental concepts leading to quantifiable business the results.
  •  Involves the entire organization from CEO, CFO, Champions Black Belts Green Belts and the workers.

What are the Challenges

  • Takes careful preparation and the commitment to fundamental change efforts the required.
  • The training  key for all levels in the organization
  • It is not a quick fix nor of the one size fits all the approach.
  • Implementation tends to be the uneven and a lapses occur the frequently
  • Tendency to work on the many projects at once. Resource limitations are the real!
  • Need to the manage expectations on payback time typically takes the 9-12 months from roll out to the start seeing quantifiable financial the gains.

Statistical Basis of Six Sigma

The One of major objectives of a Six Sigma (SS) program is to the reduce variation in products and the processes. The process variation is reduced to the extent that a spread of 12‐Sigmas the six Sigma on either side of the mean fits within the process specifications. The specification limits also the called tolerance are established during the design phase of the product or process the customer provides them. A Six Sigma quality level represents 3.4 defects per million the opportunities. This is a means that if a process is the operating at a Six Sigma level it will be produce no more than 3.4 the defects per million. 

This is an only possible when the variation in process is the reduced significantly. To be the exact achieve a Six Sigma (SS) process the variation must be reduced to half or 50% that of the three sigma level quality. With the variation reduced to this level even a drift in the process on either side of the mean or target value will be not allow the process to go out of the control. It is the important to note here that is no process can be controlled exactly at the target or the mean value. It is the natural for a process to drift from it is the mean or target value in the due course.

Statistical Six Sigma

This is a drift or shift can be the much as 1.5 standard deviations on the either side of mean or the target. In a Six Sigma process the process variation is equal to be half of the design specification or tolerance so that is a shift of the  much as 1.5 standard deviations on either side of the target will keep the process well within the tolerance and the likelihood of the producing non‐conforming products is virtually the non‐ existent.

The Cost of Six Sigma Implementation

Some of the most important Six Sigma the budget items can include the following.

  • Direct Payroll for the individuals dedicated to effort the full time.
  • Indirect Payroll for the time devoted by executive’s team members process owners and the others involved in activities like data gathering and the measurement.
  • Training and the Consultation fee to teach Six Sigma Skills and the getting advice on how to make efforts the successful.
  • Improvement the Implementation Cost.

Is Six Sigma Right for You

There are a number of the essential questions and facts that you need to consider in making a readiness the assessment.

  • The strategic course clear for the company?
  • Is the business healthy enough to meet the expectations of analysts and the investors?
  • Is there a strong theme or vision for the future of organization that is well understood and the consistently communicated?
  • Is the organization good at the responding effectively and efficiently to new the circumstances?
  • Evaluating current overall the business results.
  • Evaluating how the effectively do we focus on and the meet customers’ requirements.
  • Evaluating how effectively we are the operating.
  • How effective are you’re the current improvement and change the management systems?
  • How well are your cross-functional processes the managed?
  • What other the change efforts or activities might conflict with or support Six Sigma the initiative?
  • Six Sigma the demands investments. If you cannot make a solid case for the future or current return then it may be better to the stay away.
  • If you already have in the place a strong effective performance and the process improvement offer then why do you need the Six Sigma.

There could be many questions to be the answered to have an extensive assessment before the deciding if you should go for Six Sigma or not. This is a may need time and a thorough consultation with Six Sigma Experts to the take a better decision.

What are your core processes

  • The Product Development Process
  • The Order fulfilment process
  • Customer service process the Support Processes
  • The Finance
  • Administration (HR, legal, etc.)
  • Information the technology
Input and Output Process

Six Sigma Summary

  • The Disciplined & a Systematic the Approach.
  • Process orientation drive for the variation reduction.
  • Focus on the quantitative methods and the tools
  • Focus on control to the hold gains Uses a new metric for the defects sigma (DPMO) ppm
  • The Uses a new metric for the defects sigma (DPMO) ppm
  • The Results oriented management leadership the  using data-driven decision making
  • Significant training & the organizational learning
  • Success happens one project at the  time
  • Good project selection leads to the large financial impact
  • Implementation is hard work not magic. Expect bumps in the road stay the course results will the happen
  • The Six Sigma is A journey not the  destination.

The word six Sigma is a statistical term the measures how far a given process deviates from the perfection. The central idea behind Six Sigma: If you can measure how many “defects” you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how to eliminate them and get as close to “zero defects” as possible and specifically it means a failure rate of 3.4 parts per million or 99.9997% perfect.

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