What is Six Sigma?

The Six Sigma methodology is a repository of various proven quality principles and techniques. Elaborating on the plan, do, check, act cycle of William Edwards Deming, Six Sigma is structured in 5 phases:

  • Define,
  • Measure,
  • Analyse,
  • Improve,
  • Control.

A Six Sigma professional goes through all stages and optimises the business processes step by step.

Why Six Sigma?

Sigma (σ) is the Greek letter which stands for the standard deviation of a population. The standard deviation indicates the level of variability. The goal of the Six Sigma (6σ) methodology is a defect-free process as you always meet customer requirements. This difficult as every process has variability in its results. The sigma level indicates the extent to which the organisation complies towards having a defect-free process. Achieving a 6 sigma level literally means: you make a mistake only 3.4 times out of a million. (i.e. out of a million invoices you only have to send 3 credit invoices).

Using practical examples our experienced trainers make sure you are familiarised with the Six Sigma methodology.

Six Sigma as a methodology

Traditional organisations accept a 2-3 sigma level, which means that these organisations are actually accepting  67.000 to 308.000 defects per million opportunities. The increasing demand for quality from consumers is creating awareness that organisations have to operate at a higher sigma level. The Six Sigma methodology provides a structure for continuously improving your processes, the way we work, so we have less and less defects.

Inter alia the Six Sigma methodology provides for:

  • Enhanced efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction
  • Breakthroughs for “unsolvable” problems
  • Short payback times and high ROI
  • Powerful roadmap with concrete tools

“Being better is cheaper” – Mikel Harry

Six Sigma is a project-oriented approach for process improvements, which uses a project management office to ensure a successful deployment.

Customer requirements as standard for performance

The Voice of the Customer (customer requirements) is the starting point of a Six Sigma project. Organisations working with the Six Sigma methodology are known for their high customer satisfaction and world-class performance in terms of quality. The Six Sigma methodology provides tangible and practical tools to map customer requirements and use this information as a starting point to improve processes.

Manufacturing vs. Services

Six Sigma is a quality management methodology which originally focussed on variation reduction in the manufacturing industry. In the past, is was often believed that quality in the service industry could not be easily be measured. Over the last decade, friend and foe agree that in the service industry processes are suitable for measurement thus providing valuable data for variation reduction.

Six Sigma training

As mentioned earlier, implementing Six Sigma will require an organisational structure with different roles, ranging from sponsor through project lead to administrative support. These roles will be performed by Six Sigma professionals referred to as Yellow Belts, Green Belts and Black Belts. The Lean Six Sigma Company provides courses for these Belts. Read more about our face to face and virtual classroom courses.

Online Six Sigma courses

Or if you’d like to take your first steps in Six Sigma from the comfort of your digital device of choice, try our online Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt course! Earn your first Lean Six Sigma certification and master the mindset, structure and basic principles behind the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. And to get the full Six Sigma experience, take a look at our ‘Basic Statistics for Six Sigma’ course; the perfect refresher or introduction of the statistics used in Six Sigma.

Or if you want to get an even more rounded first experience, try our Lean Six Sigma Starterpack, containing a bundle of the most important Lean and Six Sigma short courses (including the Yellow Belt!).

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