Principles of Six Sigma

Six Sigma Principles

Six Sigma is one of the major buzzwords in the corporate world and implementing the Six Sigma in the respective organizations has become the priority for Quality controllers and the QAD (Quality Assurance Departments) in these organizations. What exactly is meant by Six Sigma and what are the benefits that implementing it brings to the table? In statistical terminology, Six Sigma refers to “six” standard deviations from the mean and indicates the margin of error while inspecting the good or services produced by an Organization.

What this principle means is that there can be a tolerance of about two defects per billion samples. In jargon free language this means that a manufacturing process cannot go beyond producing more than two defects per billion of manufactured goods. While this may seem impossible to attain in practice, it is nonetheless a feat that has been achieved by many organizations. The reason that this principle has captured the imagination of the quality controllers is because if this principle is implemented successfully, it is the nearest that the organization can get to perfection in its processes.

While the debate whether there can be a manufacturing process free of errors or a software without bugs rages on, many organizations are turning to this principle to aid them in their efforts to make their processes free of errors. This is a concept that was originally developed by Motorola in 1987 and since then it has been applied to almost all kinds of manufacturing and service industries. As a quality concept, this principle aims for the highest standards of process excellence.

The people implementing Six Sigma are classified as Black Belts, Green Belts and Master Black Belt. Let us look at what each of these terms mean. The green belt is a person or a player who is a member of the Six Sigma process improvement team and is trained in the Six Sigma methodology. This is the basic level for which all potential Six Sigma practitioners aspire.

The Black Belt is a leader in the implementation methodology for process improvements and is someone who can act as a guide to the process improvement teams. These Black Belts also advise the management on how to go about implementing the Six Sigma methodology. This is the intermediate level which one gets after attaining the Green Belt and it is not uncommon to find people who are certified as Black Belts in senior positions in the management.

Finally, the highest level is the Master Black Belt. The person who has achieved this status acts as the Program Manager or Director and leads the Six Sigma implementation effort in the organization. He or she checks all the processes for compliance and is the one whom the Black Belts turn to for advice and guidance in implementing the Six Sigma effort.

A Six Sigma certification is indeed a crowning achievement for the companies that want to be the leaders in their sectors and set higher benchmarks for process excellence. It is with this view that the Six Sigma methodology has been embraced in the business world.

Practical Application Examples

Six Sigma Methodology contains the principles which define Six Sigma as it stands. Understanding these principles can prove to make life very difficult for everyone involved, no matter how serious or trivial the matter may seem at first. If you take the time in your Six Sigma Training to check out practical applications and examples of how Six Sigma has been used or can be used, you’ll likely find many more benefits to the process than if you had gone through the process alone, with only definitions and ideas to rely on. Instead of explaining that Six Sigma offers data analysis and measurement that can lead to better solutions for various industries, you should figure out exactly how that concept could or would work in a specific industry.

For example, in the manufacturing industry, Six Sigma Projects can be created to increase productivity and reduce the number of defects that occur. After all, this is initially what Six Sigma was created to do. However, if you want to take it up a notch, consider Six Sigma Training in relation to customer service. You could use a Six Sigma Process to figure out a better customer flow for your business, as well as a more efficient means of handling customer complaints, or returns if you operate a store.

Six Sigma Training can ultimately be applied to just about any industry out there, as long as the proper rules are set up and the right analysis is done. Obviously you wouldn’t worry about product improvement in an industry that has no product per se, and so on. When it comes to choosing Six Sigma Projects, you shouldn’t just jump right in. You need to determine the problem that you’re trying to solve, and then figure out how that problem affects your company or organization. Once you have done that, you need to determine if a data based factual analysis would help to derive a solution to the aforementioned problem. If it would, then Six Sigma Projects are right for the job. If not, you’ll have to find another problem solving technique to use.

The great thing about the practical application of Six Sigma is that it’s never the same thing twice. Some people only use certain tools or parts of the Six Sigma Process in their process improvement projects, while others will use it by the book on a regular basis to get the most from their process improvement. It does offer a structured answer to process improvement, but it is still flexible enough to be what you need it to be.