An Introduction To Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a method of perfecting business processes. To reach Six Sigma status, a process can only incur only 3.4 errors per million.

Banks use Six Sigma to reduce errors in cheque processing to 34 per 10 million. Service industries use it to eliminate problems that lead to call-center inquiries.

In Human Resources, Six Sigma can track the habits of the top per cent and bottom per cent of performers. Metrics based on that data are used to develop a process that factors out low performers.

DMAIC is a key Six Sigma tool used to measure business processes.

It means: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control. The target process is defined, its performance measured. Problems identified. An improvement program outlined, defects removed.

Six Sigma tools are the same as TQM (Total Quality Management). But Six Sigma puts them into a well-defined method, teaching practitioners when to use which tools.

Here's how Six Sigma projects are organized. As you can tell, many of the job titles are drawn from the martial arts.

The CEO picks a Leadership Council from management. It defines the organization’s Six Sigma goals and decides if compensation will be tied to project results.

Six Sigma Champions are managers who select and oversees Six Sigma projects. They receive only a few days of training.

They also select Six Sigma Black Belts, each of whom directs an employee team charged with a specific task.

Black Belts receive at least four weeks of training and are usually assigned to Six Sigma full-time for two or more years. Master Black Belts train other Black Belts.

Green belts are members of 6 Sigma teams assigned to projects in their departments. They can be full or part-time. Yellow Belts are administrative assistants.

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