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Chris Ostrander

What is the Main Goal of a Six Sigma Implementation

Six Sigma is a term that you've probably heard of in reference to highly organized and successful companies, but it may not be something you can readily define. If you're looking for a job in management, Six Sigma is definitely something you should know about. Incorporating this ideology in your business can dramatically transform your successes and increase your customer satisfaction.

What is the main goal of a Six Sigma implementation?

The main goal of any Six Sigma implementation is quality improvement. The term originally comes from the sigma rating used to statistically rate manufacturing processes in engineering. A six sigma process occurs when no defects are expected in 99.99966% of all chances to produce them. This is the goal of any Six Sigma implementation. 

It focuses on the use of statistical improvements to minimize defects in products and services. Precisely how that goal will be manifested will depend on what the product or service you are trying to improve. In some cases, the goal will be to transform the business. In others, specific problems need to be solved or perhaps the business is looking for strategic improvements. Whatever the goal, the process is essentially the same across implementations.

What Does Six Sigma Mean?

Six Sigma systems have five essential steps. These are defined using the abbreviation DMAIC, which stands for:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control 

To qualify as an official Six Sigma system, a program must include all five of these steps. It must also achieve less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Any chance for nonconformity to occur is considered an opportunity.

What is Six Sigma Used For?

Six Sigma is a popular business process that's used to emphasize commitment to quality and conformity. A defect can be defined as any situation that isn't completely satisfying for the customer. This makes Six Sigma incredibly flexible. You can incorporate this type of methodology in nearly any industry. 

In addition to increasing customer satisfaction and reducing defects, Six Sigma methodology typically minimizes business expenses. An electric, water, and sewer company in Florida achieved cost savings of $579 million using Six Sigma and Lean initiatives. In 2015, the USDA announced that it achieved $57 million in savings due in part to its adoption of Lean Six Sigma.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma is a philosophy that focuses more on defect prevention than defect detection. The line between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma is fairly blurry, as both are concerned with minimizing defects. The primary difference, then, between Six Sigma and Lean is where the inefficiencies and defects are believed to come from. Six Sigma proponents believe that waste is the result of variations in the process. Thus, by normalizing the production process, one can eliminate errors. 

Lean users typically look for defects that result from the incorporation of unnecessary steps. They're continuously looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary stages of the production flow. To a lean practitioner, an unnecessary step simply creates an extra opportunity for an error to occur. Eliminate the step and there are fewer chances for something to go wrong.

What is Six Sigma Certification?

There are many different training companies that offer Six Sigma certification. These typically offer both educational training materials and classroom training in the best practices associated with Six Sigma. After completing the educational coursework, you must pass a written test and demonstrate hands-on proficiency with Six Sigma implementation by completing qualifying projects. 

Certification is provided in several levels that indicate increasing competency in this area. Your belt color may define which teams you're placed on at work and what level projects you're qualified to work with.

  • Yellow Belt – Achieved after you've completed Six Sigma Green Belt training, but before you've finished your projects
  • Green Belt – Indicates that you've passed the first level of training and finished a qualifying project
  • Brown Belt – Available after you've completed Black Belt certification but before you've finished your second project
  • Black Belt – Certification appropriate for team leaders
  • Master Black Belt – The highest possible certification for Six Sigma professionals.

Six Sigma training is a valuable asset to anyone in business management. If you're looking for something to supplement your General Management Bachelor's Degree and beef up your resume, Six Sigma certification is a great choice. Consider adding Six Sigma to your suite of business skills now.

  For more information on business education opportunities, call the Bryant & Stratton College Admissions office at 1.888.273.2758.

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