What Is Six Sigma?

Customer satisfaction is always the goal when it comes to manufacturing and business processes. It is key to how successful and how long the business lasts and guides the methods of delivery. Centering attention on customer satisfaction,  manufacturing and, business processes have come to adopt different techniques such as lean manufacturing, six sigma and lean six sigma( which is a combination of the first two).

While lean manufacturing deals with waste minimization, what does six sigma do? To grasp six sigma technique to answer this, we have to explore what is six sigma first.

Defects are common in the manufacturing process. Regardless of this fact, businesses ought to try everything possible to reduce these defects. This is where six sigma comes in handy. The technique aims to improve the process using quality management methods and process variations to produce products that are 99.99996% free of defects. It seems impossible, right? But not with the six sigma framework DMAIC. I.e.;


The first stage is to state the goals, project scope and any crucial piece of information to the process. A project charter is mostly used in this stage as it clearly outlines the problem statement, goal statement, resources and project timelines. It includes the customers’ expectations as well.


This method is data-driven. Consequently, the 2nd stage of the DMAIC framework is focused on data collection.  The data is then used to establish a performance baseline at the moment of the formulation. After completion of the project, the performance metrics obtained are then compared to the benchmarks to evaluate the suitability.


Within the analyze section, using fishbone diagrams and other tools together with test hypotheses, the analyzing phase identifies and validates root causes for poor product elimination.


The point of the whole process is to find solutions to the sources of defects to achieve 99.99996% defect free products. That is what this step is for, testing and deploying the viable improvements.


Once the solutions have been decided and applied, they should be continuously monitored to determine if they are sustainable. Thus, control charts, control plans, process confirmation, and transition plans are used to measure the performance of the implemented solutions.

The DMAIC framework is still used in the method today. The technique utilizes data-driven facts to reduce variations in conjunction with waste reduction technique. The six sigma and lean manufacturing will often be counterparts based on their functionalities.

Overall, the six sigma method in manufacturing and business processes is guaranteed to improve customer satisfaction and offer better management solutions.