About Six Sigma
Six Sigma stands for Six Standard Deviations (Sigma is the Greek letter used to represent standard deviation in statistics) from mean. Six Sigma methodology provides the techniques and tools to improve the capability and reduce the defects in any process.
It was started in Motorola, in its manufacturing division, where millions of parts are made using the same process repeatedly. Eventually Six Sigma evolved and applied to other non manufacturing processes. Today you can apply Six Sigma to many fields such as Services, Medical and Insurance Procedures, Call Centers.
Six Sigma methodology improves any existing business process by constantly reviewing and re-tuning the process. To achieve this, Six Sigma uses a methodology known as DMAIC (Define opportunities, Measure performance, Analyze opportunity, Improve performance, Control performance).
Six Sigma methodology can also be used to create a brand new business process from ground up using DFSS (Design For Six Sigma) principles. Six Sigma Strives for perfection. It allows for only 3.4 defects per million opportunities for each product or service transaction. Six Sigma relies heavily on statistical techniques to reduce defects and measure quality.
Six Sigma experts (Green Belts and Black Belts) evaluate a business process and determine ways to improve upon the existing process. Six Sigma experts can also design a brand new business process using DFSS (Design For Six Sigma) principles. Typically its easier to define a new process with DFSS principles than refining an existing process to reduce the defects.
Six Sigma incorporates the basic principles and techniques used in Business, Statistics, and Engineering. These three form the core elements of Six Sigma. Six Sigma improves the process performance, decreases variation and maintains consistent quality of the process output. This leads to defect reduction and improvement in profits, product quality and customer satisfaction.
Six Sigma methodology is also used in many Business Process Management initiatives these days. These Business Process Management initiatives are not necessarily related to manufacturing. Many of the BPM's that use Six Sigma in today's world include call centers, customer support, supply chain management and project management.