Six Sigma Definition:
Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It was introduced by American engineer Bill Smith while working at Motorola in 1986. A Six Sigma process is one in which 99.99966% of all opportunities to produce some features of a part are statistically expected to be free of defects.
Six Sigma strategies seek to improve manufacturing quality by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. This is done by using empirical and statistical quality management methods and by hiring people who serve as Six Sigma experts. Each Six Sigma project follows a defined methodology and has specific value targets, such as reducing pollution or increasing customer satisfaction.
The term Six Sigma originates from statistical modeling of manufacturing processes. The maturity of a manufacturing process can be described by a sigma rating indicating its yield or the percentage of defect-free products it creates—specifically, to within how many standard deviations of a normal distribution the fraction of defect-free outcomes corresponds.
Six Sigma Definition: History of Six Sigma
Motorola pioneered Six Sigma, setting a “six sigma” goal for its manufacturing business. It registered Six Sigma as a service mark on June 11, 1991, U.S. Service Mark 1,647,704; on December 28, 1993, it registered Six Sigma as a trademark. In 2005 Motorola attributed over $17 billion in savings to Six Sigma.
Honeywell and General Electric were also early adopters of Six Sigma. As GE’s CEO, in 1995 Jack Welch made it central to his business strategy, and in 1998 it announced $350 million in cost savings thanks to Six Sigma, which was a key factor in the spread of Six Sigma (this figure later grew to more than $1 billion). By the late 1990s, about two-thirds of the Fortune 500 organizations had begun Six Sigma initiatives with the aim of reducing costs and improving quality.
In recent years, some practitioners have combined Six Sigma ideas with lean manufacturing to create a methodology named Lean Six Sigma. The Lean Six Sigma methodology views lean manufacturing, which addresses process flow and waste issues, and Six Sigma, with its focus on variation and design, as complementary disciplines aimed at promoting “business and operational excellence”.
In 2011, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the first standard “ISO 13053:2011” defining a Six Sigma process. Other standards have been created mostly by universities or companies with Six Sigma first-party certification programs.
Wikipedia. Accuracy and Precision. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Sigma