In the business world, product variation exists on a curve. The concept of this ‘normal’ curve was established in the 18th century by Carl Friedrich Gauss. As a measurement standard in product variation, Six Sigma dates back to the 1920s. It was then that Walter Shewhart identified three sigma from the mean as the point where correction is needed in a process. As a name, “Six Sigma” was thought of by Motorola engineer Bill Smith.
In the mid 1980s, the chairman of Motorola, Bob Galvin, with his team of engineers, developed the Six Sigma measurement system. This was not only a standard to measure productivity, but also a cultural change in the company. Six Sigma helped Motorola to realize the powerful bottom line results in their company and save $16 billion as a result of the efforts.
Since the 1980s and the success of Six Sigma in Motorola, it has been adopted by countless companies worldwide. In each case, it has proven to be a successful way of doing business and has received open praise by America’s leaders.
Six Sigma is something that keeps evolving over time, and has most notably evolved with Lean.
When Lean is mentioned, it is most commonly associated with Toyota and Taiichi Ohno. It has its origin as Toyota Production System (TPS) and has evolved over the years into a holistic system for both manufacturing and service sectors. Lean is very much about improving flow, reducing waste and maximising profit. The methodology behind Lean is about addressing process flow and waste issues. This is important to enhance production potential.
When the two are put together, Lean Six Sigma becomes an effective business management system that identifies product potential and minimizes wasted time in achieving goals. This is done by developing essential processes and tools that readily unlock the success to business performance and improvements in every sector. Lean and Six Sigma are integral in the evolution of quality management in businesses and companies around the world.
For more information, please visit our Lean Six Sigma training page.