Six Sigma - what is it?

Marie-Clare Pedersen

Six Sigma is a methodology developed to power outstanding business performance through improving processes in order to reduce to defects.

In this short blog, Senior Consultant Marie-Clare Pedersen explains what Six Sigma is, what it involves and its benefits.

What does the term ‘Six Sigma’ mean?

The term refers to a statistical standard of excellence for processes – no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Most processes produce 6,000 or more. For businesses striving to excel in an increasingly competitive world, that’s simply not good enough.

The methodology operates within a defined organisational deployment structure.  Personnel at various levels operate and lead the Six Sigma implementation programme.

A typical Lean Six Sigma Programme

Here is what a typical Lean Six Sigma programme involves:

  • Development of a strategic context, rationale and drivers
  • Executive development
  • Project champion development
  • Training of specialist Lean Six Sigma practitioners (Black Belts and Master Black Belts) to lead projects
  • Training of local Six Sigma facilitators and operators (Green Belts and Yellow Belts)
  • Systematic project selection, management and review, usually focused on cost-measurable projects

What are the benefits?

  • Dramatically reduced defect rate, cycle time and cost
  • Reduced reliance on inspection for quality
  • Greatly improved customer satisfaction
  • Elimination of non-value-adding work
  • Reduced costs from rework.