Six Sigma is a business tool that organizations use to attain a level of quality that is near-perfect. The approach is disciplined and data-driven, and aims to improve processes by eliminating defects. Implementation of the tool improves processes by driving toward six standard deviations (denoted by sigma) between the mean and the nearest specification limit.
The concept of Six Sigma is derived from statistics, a branch of mathematics. The Six Sigma idea specifies that a process must not result in more than 3.4 defects per million attempts, whether for a specific process in manufacturing, or for a service or end product.
According to isixsigma.com, the fundamental objective of the tool is to ‘implement a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of six Sigma improvement projects’.
Process improvement and variation reduction is achieved through two Six Sigma methodologies DMAIC and DMADV. The processes are executed by specialists known as Green Belts and Black Belts, and supervised by Master Black Belts.
An acronym for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control, DMAIC strives to improve existing processes performing below desired levels. The method works by focusing on incremental improvement.
DMADV stands for define, measure, analyze, design and verify, and is used to develop new processes or products, and is also used when an existing process requires more than incremental improvement.
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