Six Sigma Method

Six Sigma

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a method aimed at optimizing processes and quality management in companies, developed by Motorola in the 1980s. The peculiarity of Six Sigma is its mathematical approach: the performance of processes is measured with the help of indicators. Causal relationships are then identified to improve processes with various methods and reduce error rates.

Six Sigma: meaning

The name Six Sigma illustrates the principle behind this method: in mathematics, the Greek letter sigma denotes the standard deviation of a Gaussian normal distribution, and 6 is a particularly positive value in this context.
In business processes, the desired result is not always achieved, but a variation occurs as in the normal Gaussian distribution. This dispersion within a process, given by the number of errors, can be quantified as a sigma level. The lower the dispersion, the better the process performance and the higher the sigma value achieved.
A level 6, that is a Six Sigma, corresponds, with a value close to 0, to the best possible error rate. In this case, the probability of a product being defective is 0.00034 percent. In most companies, the sigma value is between 3 and 4.

How is the method applied in business practice?

The Six Sigma method encompasses a variety of different management techniques for quality and process optimization, which are often grouped under the term Six Sigma Toolkit.
The best known and most important tool is the five-step model, also known as the DMAIC cycle:

Define In the first phase, the process to be improved is identified and the problem and the process itself are documented. Then the target values ​​and the purpose of the project are determined, i.e. what should be included in the analysis and what should not.

Measure In the second step, each quality characteristic relevant to the outcome of the process is examined using different methods to measure current performance.

Analyze In the third phase, the causes and causal links of the problem are elaborated.

Improve In the fourth stage, the process is improved by various methods, also applied outside the Six Sigma.

Control In the fifth and final step, the modified process is controlled by statistical analysis to ensure sustainable improvement.

Benefits of Six Sigma for Businesses

Six Sigma is focused on reducing the error rate, but there are also other benefits, albeit indirect, enjoyed by companies that restructure their organization according to the principles of this method. In relation to the Six Sigma project, for example, five main advantages are mentioned:

Sustainability: Methods enable sustainable success. The processes are clearly structured and form the basis for continuous correction and to keep up with changing market conditions.

Customer Satisfaction: Six Sigma places great importance on the customer's perspective. Only if companies understand their customers' wishes can they move towards process results that are synonymous with economic success.

Added Value: Implementing Six Sigma principles increases the company's value to the customer. Through the introduction of indicators, customer wishes can be understood more concretely and implemented in a targeted way.

Business Culture: A Successful Integration of the Six Sigma Method
in the organization it promotes better communication between managers and employees.

Lifelong Learning Organization: The dissemination of knowledge within an organization plays an important role in Six Sigma. The idea of ​​lifelong learning is anchored in the method, in line with the requirements that businesses must meet today in the face of global competition and digitization.