Six Sigma (6 Sigma, 6σ, or 6s):
–A quality management philosophy
–A methodology that blends together many of the key elements of past quality initiatives
–A business philosophy of focusing on continuous improvement by understanding customers’ needs, analyzing business processes, and instituting proper measurement methods.
–A methodology that an organization uses to ensure that it is improving its key processes
–A statistical concept that measures a process in terms of defects
–A statistical concept that represents the amount of variation present in a process relative to customer requirements or specifications
When a process is running at the 6s level, the variation is so small that the resulting products and services are 99.9997 % defect free
When a process is running at the 6s level, it is delivering only 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO)
The Value of Six Sigma
Six Sigma Origins
The concept was originally formulated in 1986 by Bill Smith, a reliability engineer for Motorola Corporation, when he was investigating the number of repairs made in manufacturing related to the product failures in the field.
The company discovered that products with a high first pass yield (i.e. products that made it through the production process defect free the first time) rarely failed in actual use.
6s was heavily inspired by six preceding decades of quality improvement methodologies such as quality control, TQM, and Zero Defects.