Six Sigma was first developed by Bill Smith of Motorola in 1986. In January 1987, Motorola initiated a long-term quality program known as, "The six sigma quality program". The program was concerned with tools and methods to achieve fewer defects in its manufacturing process. In 1998 Motorola went on to receive the Malcolm Baldwin quality award. More companies went on to adopt this approach. The true potential of this approach was revealed when it was applied as a central business strategy of Jack Welch of General Electric in the 1990s. It was said to have saved the general electric company over $ 12 billion between 1995 and 2000 and 50% of Fortune 500 companies owe over $400 million worth of savings to six sigma.
What is six sigma?
Six sigma is a set of technologies and tools for improving a business process and managing quality. Six sigma is mainly concerned with searching the process for defects, determining its cause and implementing the solutions for overall product improvement and repeatability.
six sigma employees statistical and empirical methods to achieve a near-perfect output. It uses its data-driven system to put together teams that are skilled to carry out projects at a high deliverability rate.
Lean six sigma combines the principles of managing waste and delivering value with the detection of defects from The six sigma methodology. Lean management 6 to prevent defects from the process at the beginning while six sigma aims at reducing variability in the process. Fields such as IT, healthcare, academia, and manufacturing have implemented the principles of lean six sigma in their framework.
Six sigma ratings of a process
Six sigma exists in levels. The levels are based on the defects per million opportunities. The six sigma process is one in which 99.99966 % of all its opportunities in producing a product are free from defects. That is the process produces 3.4 defects per million opportunities. This indicates how far the process has strained from near perfection.
Benefits of six sigma
Six Sigma has a proven track record with its use by large corporations with its advantages cited mainly on the saving it incurred. Six sigma also went on to improve all other aspects of the business when applied.
A number of its benefits are listed below:
1. Implementation of six sigma improved the overall customer satisfaction
2. An improvement in the revenue stream was experienced.
3. There was an improvement in employee satisfaction for the teams trained in six sigma.
4. It was an improvement in the company's bottom line.
5. It helped train better teams within the organization.
The belts of six sigma
A participant of the Six Sigma goes through several training to improve their understanding. it operates like a hierarchy and includes:
White belt: This is the Beginner level training and does not include testing
Yellow belt: These have basic knowledge of Six Sigma and have minor roles in the Six Sigma team
Green belt: This is the ideal level that allows the implementation of Lean Six Sigma adequately
Black belt: This allows the management of big roles in the project
Master black belt: This level train all black belts and green belts. They also what Six Sigma processes are to be carried out
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