1.0 Executive Summary
Six Sigma is a business improvement concept that focuses on meeting the needs of customers and bottom-line benefit to your organisation. The goal is to provide defect-free business processes with customer satisfaction and improvement being the driving forces.
Six Sigma was established in 1987 through the Motorola Six Sigma quality program. The program gained publicity when Motorola won the Malcolm Baldrige quality prize in the USA and further development of the concept took place in the early 1990's with companies like General Electric, ABB, Honeywell and Allied Signal. Each of these organisations has boasted significant reductions in costs.
Sigma (s) is a character of the Greek alphabet that is used in mathematical statistics to define standard deviation. The concept of standard deviation relates to how tightly all the various outputs of a process are clustered around the mean in a set of data.
In statistical terms, Six Sigma means that if there were 1 million opportunities for a defect to occur, there would only be 3.4
defects. Therefore, defects or problems in the processes have been removed to the point where the quality of the output is near perfect. Six Sigma is seen as the ultimate goal in achieving near perfect processes through continual improvement.
Six Sigma is undertaken through the development and management of projects, led by improvement specialists (Green Belts and Black Belts). Each person is given key responsibilities for analysing information that will have an impact on improving processes and customer satisfaction.
The most common tool used for Six Sigma improvement is the Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control (D-M-A-I-C) cycle. This approach focuses on ensuring that the improvement is clearly defined and measured, through a data-driven and disciplined approach. Data is analysed to identify problems and the improvement is consolidated through process controls.