Category Archives: Six Sigma

Six Sigma Companies

Companies which implement the Six Sigma initiatives in one way or another are called as Six Sigma Companies.  Each company implements Six Sigma within its unique scope. One of the aspects of Six Sigma is that it can be adjusted and tailored to meet the needs of the individuals and strategy of a company. This feature has led to various levels of implementation and deployment.

GE has deployed the Six Sigma in a corporate driven top down approach. However not every company has followed the same way.  Some companies prefer to carry out smaller projects and then move up for full scale deployment.

Companies have varying deployment scope.

Corporate : In these companies the Six Sigma program is a corporate-wide initiative which is completely  supported by the CEO and executive team.

Business Unit : In this case of deployment one or more Business Units are implementing  Six Sigma.

Black Belt : This level of deployment refers to a small level of involvement in Six Sigma . To work on projects, they have trained Black Belts or hired a few  Black Belts from outside.

Following companies have implemented Six Sigma successfully in one form or the other.

List of Six Sigma Companies

3M,  Acme Markets, Advanced Micro Devices, Agilent Technologies, Air Canada, ALCAN,, AXA, Bank of America, Bechtel Corporation, Boeing, CAE Aviation Training, Canada Post, Caterpillar, CIGNA, ,Cognizant Technology Solutions, Computer Sciences Corporation, Cummins Inc., Deere & Company, Dell, Delphi Corporation, Denso, DHL, Dominion Resources, Dow Chemical Company, Dow Chemical Joint Ventures, DSB Bank, DuPont, Eastman Kodak Company, EMC, Flextronics,

Ford Motor Company, General Electric,General Dynamics, Genpact, GlaxoSmithKline, Heinz Co., Honeywell[14], Hertel, HSBC Group, Idearc Media, Ingram Micro, Intrawest ULC, Inventec, JEA, Korea Telecom, Kraton Polymers, KTF, LG Group, Lockheed Martin,Mando Corporation, McKesson Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Methodia, Microflex Inc., Motorola, Mumbai Dabbawala or NMTBSA

National Australia Group Europe, Network Rail, Nortel Networks, Northrop Grumman, Organo Corporation, Owens-Illinois, Patheon, Precision Castparts Corp., Quest Diagnostics, Raytheon, Samsung Group, SGL Group, Shinhan Bank, Shinhan Card, Shop Direct Group, Siemens AG, SKF, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Staples Inc., Sterlite Optical Technologies

Teradyne, Trane, Textron, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Toshiba Matsushita Display,

United States Air Force, United States Army, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, UnitedHealth Group, Vodafone, Volt Information Sciences, Whirlpool, Wipro, Xerox

Six Sigma Projects

What is Six Sigma Project

Strategic planning of the projects plays a major role in the success of the company. In order to fulfill the requirements of the clients, company assigned the work called as projects  to its professionals.  Effective communication, proper planning and execution of strategy into actions are imperative for the successful implementation of the project.

Six sigma focuses on one project at a time.  To have a project-specific vision right from the very beginning of a Six Sigma initiative is not always possible however one can develop a comprehensive viewpoint which encompasses everything and helps to reach out beyond the scope of the project.

The effectiveness of the properly selecting and defining business issues is proven by the success stories of companies who have saved billions of dollars.  For the effective solution the  properly selected and defined business issues can be assigned to Green Belts and Black Belts.  Six sigma projects provides the ideal way for the accomplishment of company’s strategic goals.

The evaluation and formalization of the issues is being done with the help of project charters.  It allow the professionals to prioritize for the implementation of Six Sigma projects. In following the Six Sigma methodology  through the define steps of DMAIC, this is the first step being developed. The success of a project relies heavily on the project charters. It specify the necessary resources and boundaries leading to success.

Project Selection

A Six Sigma Project should have easily identifiable process inputs and outputs. Care has to taken while selecting the Six Sigma projects and it should not rely on predetermined solution as a remedy for the issues. The benefits and drawbacks of the project should be considered before selecting the project.

Apart from the monetary aspect, approach should involve the understanding the variation in process inputs, controlling them, and eliminating the defects. Effective implementation of a Six Sigma project involves sub-dividing  the project deployment in two or three phases which can be strategic, tactical and operational.

Project Selection Ideas

Six Sigma follows the project selection ideas as per the function. Some of the ideas of  project selections based on the functional areas are as follows:

(1)   Finance/ Accounting six sigma project ideas

(2)   Human Resources six sigma project ideas

(3)   Sales six sigma project ideas

(4)   Shipping or Receiving six sigma project ideas

(5)   Information Technology

(6)   Product or Service Design six sigma project ideas

(7)   Call Center six sigma project ideas

Deployment Strategy

After the identification of the project, the project deployment strategy should be contemplated keeping in mind the background of both the top and bottom line developments. Before beginning the implementation, the projected outcome should be compared as against the set management goals.

The strategic steps involved in all phases should scrutinize using the checklist in place. Executing a draft strategy and taking the collective opinion for the foundation of the project is imperative in the moving ahead in correct direction.

In cases where the project deviates from its track and if it remains undetected, then it can pose a big threat to the entire project. To prevent these occurrences, the internal and external Six Sigma auditing team should ensure that there is regular midway auditing and monitoring.

Problem and its possible causes needs to be identified at the earliest. Regular Monitoring is imperative to avoid progress in undesirable directions.

The framework for effective communication for the “belts” should be established.  To effectively implement the strategies of deployment team, a core group should be created. Consistent  training needs to be provided to the  Six Sigma team members.

Survey  of the internal customers need to be carried out and findings should be studied.  All projects should involve the focus on eliminating the defects, identifying the variation in process inputs and taking effective measures in controlling them.

How to Implement Lean Six Sigma

Integrated Approach for business improvement

Lean Six Sigma combines both Lean and Six Sigma methodologies into an integrated system for business improvement. Effective utilization of the features of both the practices needs to be done while applying integrated approach Lean Six Sigma.

(1)   In  the initial phase of the project  where momentum should be increased , Lean projects  are deployed as they are tangible and can be completed within few weeks . Later on Six Sigma projects are applied to take care of advanced problems.

(2)   Lean based on broad principles is used when one does not require detailed analysis and tools while Six Sigma is applied to solve the complicated problems which require advanced analysis and statistical tools.

(3)   Value Stream Mapping is utilized for the development of the pipeline of projects which can be tackled by the Lean or Six Sigma methodology.

(4)   As per the requirements of the industry the content of the training needs to be adjusted. Lean tools are basically specific so they require adjustment however Six Sigma tools are applicable for almost every process. Therefore some areas will use Lean tools while others will utilized Six Sigma tools.

(5)   Lean principles are taught in a different way from that of Six Sigma. Training for Lean tools requires workshops which includes training session followed by direct application. In case of Six Sigma the training comprises of various phases as in DMAIC or DMADV sub methodologies. Here each phase is practiced in sequential manner in training sessions and with practical applications after each phase is taught.

Interaction between the two methodologies will helps to achieve the desired results where effect of one is reinforced by the presence of other. In fact implementation of Lean and Six Sigma together has resulted in impressive results as being observed by various companies across the globe. This integrated approach is able to address varying kinds of process problems in the most effective and efficient manner.


DMADV methodology is an acronym for five interlinked process steps: Define, Measure,Analyze, Design and Verify. It’s a strategy for the creating new product and designing new processes. The objective of this  methodology is to create designs which are predictable and do not have any defects.


In First step the design goals are defined so that they are consistent with the demands of the  customer and goals of the company.


In this step four things are measured and identified which includes the CTQs(Critical to Quality), production process capability, product capabilities and risks.


This step deals with the process of Analysis  to develop and design alternatives. A high level design is created and evaluation of design capability is being done so that to select the best design.


In this step the Design details are considered.  The design is optimized and plan for the verification of designed is developed. Simulations may be required during this step.


This is the last step of the methodology and it includes the verification of the design, setting of the pilot runs, implementing the production process and verifying its abilities to meet the target goals. After  verifying the design it is given to the owner of the process.

Difference between DMAIC and DMADV

DMAIC and DMADV are two different methodologies for implementing the six sigma. They have similar first three letters in their acronyms however they differ fundamentally from each other in their usage as per  the product  or process state and requirement. DMAIC is used for the existent processes and DMADV is used for the new processes.

If we look at the steps we can make out both the methodologies have similar first three steps and they differ in the last two steps. While DMAIC focuses on improving and controlling the process, DMADV stresses on designing and verifying the process design.

When to use DMADV

(1)   When a new product needs to be created or a new process is designed

(2)   When desired results are not obtained with the DMAIC methodology on existent product and processes.

Six Sigma Methodology

Six Sigma Methodology follows the measurement based strategy that strives for the perfection in the process quality. It is a methodology which is rounded about statistics. It aims to make life better and easier for everyone involved in the process. There are many ways of performing a task in a more efficient manner and by regularly focusing on the efforts to improve quality we can bring about process improvement and variation reduction.

There are two methods of following the Six Sigma Methodologies as follows.

(a)   DMAIC

(b)   DMADV

DMAIC methodology is used to bring about the improvement in the existed process while the DMADV methodology is used for the creation of the new processs.


DMAIC methodology is an acronym for five interlinked process steps: Define, Measure,Analyze, Improve and Control. It’s a strategy for the process improvement where each step of the process is required to be followed to ensure best results.


(1)   Define the current business process, Scope of project, current and future state.

(2)   Define the Customer , their requirements and expectations.

(3)   Define the high level project goals, tangible deliverables, due date.


(1)   Measure the performance of  the current process and  the key metrices

(2)   Collecting relevant data by planning and executing  data collection plan.

(3)   Measuring the reliability and validity of the key metrices

(4)   Measuring the progress and ultimate success.


(1)   Analyze the data to determine the cause and effect relationships.

(2)   Analyze the current process performance and identifying the opportunities for the improvement

(3)   Determine the source of failure and resources required for improvement


(1)   Improve the process by designing innovative solutions using technology and performing required activities.

(2)   Reintegrating the business projects and implementing the designed plan.


(1)   Control the various factors like risk, quality, scope, schedule, cost  and designed plan to ensure that no deviations from target result in defects and they are corrected beforehand

(2)   Monitoring the process continuously by setting the control mechanisms

(3)    Maintaining the progress made and ensuring that business goals are being met

Six Sigma Levels

There are various sigma levels of the processes. A sigma level of the process  determines  the accuracy and quality of the process. By knowing the sigma level of the process we can make out how the process is performing  for eg. How many defects are occurring during the process.  Higher the sigma number of the process, higher will be the accuracy and quality of it.

In Statistics, Sigma represents the Standard Deviation which measures how much variation a process shows from the perfection. The calculation is based on the number of the defects occurring per million of opportunities.

DPMO is Defects per million opportunities

DPMO = (Number of defects)*1000000/(Number of units)/(Number of opportunities for defects per unit

The relationship between the sigma level and DPMO clearly suggests the efficiency of the process. Higher sigma level means the lower value for the DPMO and increased levels of process efficiency.  Vice Versa lower sigma level means higher value for the DPMO and decreased levels of process efficiency.  Therefore a process should aims to achieve the higher Sigma Levels.

Relationship between Sigma Levels and DPMO is as follows

  • One sigma = 690,000 DPMO = 31% efficiency
  • Two sigma = 308,000 DPMO = 69.2% efficiency
  • Three sigma = 66,800 DPMO = 93.32% efficiency
  • Four sigma = 6,210 DPMO = 99.379% efficiency
  • Five sigma = 230 DPMO = 99.977% efficiency
  • Six sigma = 3.4 DPMO = 99.9997% efficiency

The performance of the processes can be compared throughout an entire organization by determining the sigma levels of the processes. Determining the sigma levels is independent of the process, as it calculates only opportunities and defects.  Different processes may differ in number of opportunities for making mistakes and different number of units produced, however by comparing the DPMO of these processes we can make out which process is performing better.

Why Six Sigma

One of the main goals of various Corporations around the world is to improve the customer satisfaction  retaining them and keeping the customers delighted all the time. After all it is the customer who is driving the market scenario. In the quest of achieving the high quality performance of products and services, Six Sigma got evolved which basically focuses on reducing the variation thereby achieving the stability in the process results.

It is a well known fact that organizations depends a lot on the leaders to drive their growth.  In the scheme of Six Sigma, effective leadership is at the core of the infrastructure wherein it is imperative that leaders should take Six Sigma Training . Effective Leaders should be able to inspired and energise others. In companies where the Six Sigma is being implemented the leaders have the responsibility of setting a vision for  the future wherein the company goals are clearly defined along with various measures which define success.

Six Sigma approach requires the commitment and dedication at all levels in the organizations. It stressed on the continuous  effort  from  everyone to achieve the long term success.  After a thorough analysis of the process using the statistical methodology the defects and their root causes are identified. It is followed by experiments and redefining of process and its goals.

Six Sigma encourages a rational thinking for devising the solutions of the problems. It helps in removing the defects in a system in a proper way leading to progress and growth of the process. Apart from that philosophy of six sigma leads to change in the attitude of the people involved towards acheivng the quality in the process and in other  areas of their life. Thus it contributes towards bringing positive change in the life of people and enabling them in making the meaningful contributions towards society.

Six Sigma has been implemented by various organizations across the globe and success stories have been evident in various sectors of the business.  Many organizations have achieved the phenomenal growth by implementing path breaking process strategies. There is a cost involved in providing the employees with the Six sigma training however benefits obtained truly outweighs the cost incurred.

Six Sigma Overview


Six Sigma is a philosophy of business management which aims to improve the quality of the process. It focuses on identifying and eliminating the causes of defects and variations in business and manufacturing processes across the various sectors of the industry and is being used as the effective quality management strategy.

Meaning What is Six Sigma

In Statistics the standard deviation is represented by the Sigma (the lower-case Greek letter ?) and Six Sigma refers to the Six Standard Deviations. A process is Six Sigma Process when it has six standard deviations between the mean of the process and the nearest specification limit thus looking to achieve the perfection in quality measures.  Statistically a process is Six Sigma process if it produces 3.4 defective parts per million opportunities (DPMO). Here defect refers to the anything which is outside the defined limits which may leads to customer dissatisfaction. Opportunity refers to the total number of chances of defect.

Historical Overview

In 1986, Bill Smith at Motorola had formulated the methodology of Six Sigma. It is trademark of Motorola. It adopts  the best practices of the previous quality improvement methodologies like TQM, Zero defects e.t.c .  and adds some of the unique features of its own. It was evolved in the manufacturing sector however later on it got spread to the various different sectors of the industry.

Six Sigma quality improvement initiatives includes a well defined infrastructure of “Champions”, ‘Master Black  Belt”, “Black belt” who are responsible for implementing the Six Sigma principles. They ensure that any  Six Sigma project will yield an measurable and quantifiable gains for the organization. Decisions are always based on the data and role of outstanding leadership in leading the organization is emphasized.


Six Sigma improves the existing business process by focusing on continuous efforts which leads to stable and predictable results related to the process ensuring quality improvement.   It follows the strategy which is measurement based wherein a process can be measured, analyzed, improved and controlled.  It implies that in order to achieve the business success through quality control, everybody in the organization should be commited. It applies various quality management methods, various tools, resources and qualified professionals having required level of expertise.

Lean Six Sigma

What is lean six sigma?

Lean Six SigmaLean six sigma is a methodology of business improvement, which is the combination of lean manufacturing and six sigma tools. The aim of lean six sigma is the production of products which yields the “better quality faster”.

An organization implement the use of lean six sigma in order to reduce the time of production with the high quality expected. This is possible through the combination of the lean manufacturing and the traditional six sigma methodology. While lean manufacturing pays attention towards the speed, the traditional six sigma focuses on the quality of the product. Both action results in the production of a “better quality faster”.

The implementation of lean six sigma acts as an inter process inspections, in order to find out and eliminate the defective units. Lean six sigma gives importance in finding out the cause of defective units rather than further processing.

The steps that are involved in lean six sigma method is:

Finding out the processes, both in the functional department and in a business, which is more important in delivering the customer value

Mapping the processes using the value stream mapping

Identifying the bottlenecks or the obstacles in the value stream

Standardizing the relevant process steps through the application of variation reduction by using DMAIC or DMADV methods.

Lean Six Sigma Certification

Lean six sigma certification provides the professionals with both techniques of service and manufacturing in industries. Along with this lean certification makes an individual attain the following requirements:

– Focusing how to move fast in order to accomplish the objectives with in the industry.

– Involves in business enterprise, identifies and eliminates the activities which do not provide values to the product or to the service given to the customer.

– Awareness of the lean and six sigma methodology help the business enterprise in attaining a stable improvement.

– The improvement will start from the bottom level and will be having a fast accomplishment

– Identifying the potential areas, deciding the improvements, meeting the customer expectation and the business results are other fields in which the trainees concentrate.

Emphasis is given in chasing the variations and waste out of the system, so as to make sure that the improvements are sustained.

What is value stream mapping?

Value stream mapping is a technique in lean, used in the identification of the flow of materials and the information up to date, in order to bring out the product or service to a consumer. Value stream maps are drawn by hand using the pencil so as to make the mapping process easy and simple. It also helps in making simple corrections according to the needs. The idea of value stream mapping helps in the drawing of the map with out any delay, while observing the situations of the target process. It also helps in identifying the opportunities for the improvement of the products with in the lead time. This value stream mapping is commonly used in the lean environment, because the lean methodology aims at the production of the better quality with out time waste.

Lean Six SigmaValue stream mapping is used with manufacturing, logistics, supply chain, service related industries, software development and product development. The associated analysis methods of value stream mapping are as follows:

Process activity mapping

Supply chain responsiveness matrix

Product variety funnel

Quality filter mapping

Forester effect mapping

Decision point analysis

Overall structure maps

Six Sigma Basics

What is six sigma basics?

Six Sigma Knowing more about the importance and the elements of six sigma is the six sigma basics. The basics of six sigma help us to understand “the science behind the theory of improvement”. It deals systematically with steps of instructions and certifications. For an organization to understand the potential of six sigma implementation, it is a must for the team members to have a minimum solid understanding about the understanding of the six sigma methodology. The methodology of six sigma contains its objectives, potential benefits, roles and common tools.

For the clear understanding the basics of six sigma is designed according to the target “Audience”. The format of the methodology is as follows:

1) Overview of six sigma:


Potential benefits

Requirements for success

Process terms

Roles and responsibilities

Project phases

Use of cross-functional project

2) Project Phases:

Importance of a structured approach

Types of data

Purpose, outcomes and typical activities of five project phases:

3) Basic Tools:

Histograms Cause-and-effect diagrams

Check sheets

Pareto diagrams


Control charts

Scatter diagrams

Process mapping

Quality Function Deployment

Measurement Systems Analysis

Process capability indices

Failure Mode & Effects Analysis

Design of Experiments

The basics of six sigma starts with the explanation of the use of six sigma or why is six sigma? This is to make the participants clear about the importance of the implementation of six sigma methodology with in an organization, for the attainment of quality improvement in the products, to meet the customer satisfaction and to sustain the world of competitive global marketing. Under this section, it deals with the uses of six sigma such as the business excellences, improvement of the quality of the product, delights customers, increase in the entry barrier for competition.

Once the use and importance of six sigma methodology made clear, the participants are introduces to the six sigma. It is at this time the participants get the clear idea about the role of the word “quality” improvement. Apart from all these the basics of six sigma explains about the variation and defect in a project, which is considered as the obstacle in a project to attain the quality product. The participants are given well training about how the defects occur, and what the ways to find it out and eliminate it.

Six Sigma BasicsAccording to six sigma every piece of work done is considered as a processes. There are certain steps to be followed to find out a defined process. Since the process is the result of series of actions, changes and functions, there should be a well planning on the process to be conducted. A well defined planning of the process is a must, and the six sigma basics carefully deals with the topic.

As a conclusion it can be said that the six sigma gives training for a participant to manage things what he can measure, to measure what he can define and to define what he can understand for a quality product.