Six Sigma

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Six SigmaEdit

Six Sigma was created by Bill Smith at Motorola in 1986 it was developed as a way for measuring defects and improving quality. The aim of Six Sigma is to deliver high performance. The methods aim to reduce defects in production to acceptable levels (3.4 per million).

Defined as a measure of quality that strives for near perfection, six sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driving towards six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process -- from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service. To achieve six sigma, a process must not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.

In last decade, we have witness the close convergence of Lean (originated at Toyota, japan) with Six Sigma. It is very well-known that a far-reaching performance is achieved by the use of Six Sigma and Lean to reduce waste. This in turn reduces cost, an important factor in determining the survival of an enterprise. Manufacturing with Lean in mind, has certain features such as reduced lead times of processes, faster delivery, improved quality of end products, reduction in inventory such as the work-in-process (WIP), low customer service activities, core materials, and products at all customer interfaces. This gives room for incorporating changes.

Most of the top companies listed by Fortune 500 magazine integrate Lean and Six Sigma ideologies in all of their operations. Some of them are 3M, Amazon.com, Bank of America, Boeing Frontiers, Caterpillar Inc., Dell, Eastman Kodak Company, General Electric, Honeywell, and so on. In fact, IBM, Motorola, and GE, etc. offer solutions to businesses based on their type of industries. All these Fortune 500 companies have been extremely quick in bringing Lean Six Sigma best practices to their India operations too. They have been followed by the implementation of the quality process by several big names in the IT sphere like Wipro, TCS and Infosys.


The DMAIC method:

   * Define
         o Define the problem that Six Sigma will solve.
   * Measure
         o Map & measure the process in question against current performance.
   * Analyze
         o Understand the process.
   * Improve
         o Optimize the process and Implement a solution.
   * Control
         o Ensure the improvement sticks measure the process and put in place a systems to correct defects

The LSS methodology uses a comprehensive methodology incorporating the key elements of both, Six Sigma and Lean, as each stage can gain from the respective techniques. Today, the Six Sigma road map of define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) includes Lean concepts of empowerment and education of everyone in the organization to identify and eliminate non-value adding activities. The integration of the two methodologies attempts to provide empowerment even at the higher level process analysis stages, so that employees have true ownership of the process.


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