Six Sigma is a customer-focused quality control strategy that can be used to improve existing processes and develop new processes for businesses. Six Sigma gets its name from normal distribution curves in statistics. The goal of six sigma is to reduce the probability of a defect arising in a product on a manufacturing line to +/- 6 standard deviations from the mean, or 6 sigma. That translates into no more than 3.4 defects per million products (or “opportunities for defects to arise” to be more precise).
Six Sigma was first implemented by Motorola in 1986 to improve the quality of their manufacturing line, but it was not until General Electric implemented it in 1995 that it met widespread acclaim. It has since become the most popular process improvement methodology in history.
Of course, with popularity comes innovation. Consequently, the popularity of Six Sigma has led to its evolution and refinement as new industries adopt it. That process is likely to continue in the future as Six Sigma spreads across industries like retail, health care, and government.
Six Sigma began as a method for reducing defects and waste in the automotive manufacturing industry. It has since evolved into Lean Six Sigma, which is a more refined set of methods for quality control that can be more easily applied across entire sectors of the economy. Six Sigma is also now focused on customer satisfaction more so than in its original formulation. These days, instead of defining a ‘defect’ as a product being outside of the manufacturer’s specifications, a ‘defect’ is anything that is outside of the customer’s specifications.
Six Sigma has transformed into a quality management methodology that can be applied to any organization, not just manufacturing businesses. By expanding its philosophical purview beyond manufacturing into product development, HR, and customer service, Six sigma has become a universally applicable tool for businesses in every industry.
The redefinition of a defect as something the customer does not want has implications at every level of a business and for every business process. For instance, that customer focus tightens feedback loops between product development and customer success management leading to faster innovation. At the same time, because Six Sigma is fundamentally a quality assurance methodology, it empowers businesses to identify and eliminate waste, which leads to greater efficiency and increased Net Profit. Insofar as organizations have a percentage of waste in their business processes, the streamlining effect of Six Sigma on business practices to reduce waste is of universal benefit to all businesses.
Finally, Six Sigma allows businesses to deliver exactly what customers want with higher accuracy, efficiency and quality. As a result, customer satisfaction increases when Six Sigma methods are implemented.
Adopting the Six Sigma framework can result in vast improvements across all metrics in a business. But it must be taught by experts and adoption must be implemented by executives with change management experience. PPC consultants are trained in Greenbelt Six Sigma and have the expertise to coach executives and managers at every level of an organization in the proper implementation of Six Sigma concepts. The Process Improvement Package is just one of the tools available to help your organization make the leap to Six Sigma. Visit www.preciseprocessconsultants.com to learn more about how PPC can help your organization.