Sunday, January 2, 2011

Six Sigma

Six Sigma implies that organizations deliver defect free products and services to their customers.

"Defect" is an occurrence where the product or services fail to meet "Customer Specifications" or "Business Specifications". For e.g., if you board a flight and it is expected to reach the destination airport at 8.00 pm. but reaches late, then a defect may be considered to have occurred.

Lower defect rates in the delivery of a product or service implies (better) higher Sigma levels. A 6 (Six) Sigma level signifies very low defect rate (i.e., just 3 times reaching late out of a million trips run - as in our example above).

A key tenet of Six Sigma is "defects" are caused due to "variation" in the process. The key focus of Six Sigma initiatives hence is to reduce "variation" and thereby reduce defects and achieve superior Sigma levels in the product or service delivery processes.

Organizations have successfully utilized Six Sigma philosophy and methods to understand their current level of performance, follow the "DMAIC" roadmap to improve the process (i.e, reduce process variation), cut defect rates and thereby enhance customer satisfaction and business results performance.

DMAIC stands for Define - Measure - Analyze - Improve - Control.
A structured understanding of Six Sigma performance improvement philosophy and methodology can be acquired via formal training and certification programs so that professionals get equipped to improve business and organizational processes, reduce defects and deliver enhanced customer satisfaction and business results.

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