Six Sigma is a rigorous and disciplined methodology that uses data and statistical analysis to measure and improve a company’s operational performance by identifying and eliminating “defects” in manufacturing and service-related processes. Commonly defined as 3.4 defects per million opportunities, Six Sigma can be defined and understood at three distinct levels: metric, methodology and philosophy. The goal of 6 Sigma is to increase profits by eliminating variability, defects and waste that undermine customer loyalty.
Six Sigma can be understood/perceived at 3 levels:
Metric: 3.4 Defects Per Million Opportunities. DPMO allows you to take complexity of product/process into account. Rule of thumb is to consider at least three opportunities for a physical part/component – one for form, one for fit and one for function, in absence of better considerations. Also you want to be Six Sigma in the Critical to Quality characteristics and not the whole unit/characteristics.
Methdology: DMAIC/DMADV structured problem solving roadmap and tools.
Philosophy: Reduce variation in your business and take customer-focused, data driven decisions.
Six Sigma is a 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 vast improvement in profits, employee morale and quality of products / services. This approach starts with the customer by defining what is critical to quality and ends by producing superior results for the customer.
In most companies today, the cost of poor quality represents 20% to 30% of total revenues. The Six Sigma approach implements proven methodologies for carving out these costs while reaching world-class quality levels by focusing on breakthrough performance (improvements of 50% or more).
Six Sigma differs from traditional performance improvement programmes in its focus on input variables. While traditional methods depend on measuring outputs and establishing control plans to shield customers from organisational defects, a Six Sigma programme demands that problems be addressed at the root level, eliminating the need for unnecessary inspection and rework processes.
Focusing the Six Sigma tools at virtually any properly scoped project will drive savings to organisations’ bottom lines. Financially, the first set of projects usually justifies the entire cost of investment on Six Sigma training.
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