Introduction to Six Sigma -- Overview

Six sigma is a quality system that is widely used in manufacturing, banking and various other processes, that can benefit from increased process efficiency and creating value for the customer. Introduced by Motorola in mid-1980s to address systemic quality issues, today Six Sigma methodology is a popular quality system that focuses on reducing waste, defect prevention, cycle time reduction and cost savings.

Companies operating at 3-4 sigma typically spend between 25 -40 percent of their revenue fixing problems, which is called Cost of Quality or Cost of Poor Quality, COPQ. In contrast, COPQ for companies operating at six sigma is only 5% of their revenue. A Six Sigma quality system results in about 3.4 defects in million opportunities compared to 67,000 defects in a 3-sigma system.

Six Sigma is a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of improvement that drives customer satisfaction and bottom-line results by reducing process variation and waste, thereby promoting competitive advantage. The core of Six Sigma methodology is Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control, DMAIC. Major process problems are treated through these five stages until amicable results are achieved. Professional certifications in Six Sigma are achieved as Yellow, Green or Black belt, each demonstrating varying level of responsibility and proficiency of the subject matter.