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Dr. Wayne Taylor - Taylor Enterprises, Inc.
Applied Statistics
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What is Six Sigma?



What is Six Sigma

Six Sigma is about the rapid deployment of the Six Sigma tools and processes into an organization and the effective use of these tools to achieve key business initiatives:

  • Scrap and cost reduction (CTC - Critical to Cost)
  • Quality improvements (CTQ - Critical to Quality, Six Sigma Quality)
  • Time to market and cycle time reductions (CTS - Critical to Schedule)

Four Parts of Six Sigma

Six Sigma is about much more than just providing training on some tools.  It is about applying these tools to obtain bottom line impact on quality, cost and schedule.  To understand Six Sigma, you must understand its four components:

Six Sigma Quality

While possibly the most publicized part of Six Sigma, Six Sigma quality is the least important component.  In fact many companies have had successful Six Sigma programs while focusing primarily on costs and schedule.  The key is to achieve bottom line impact.  Six Sigma quality is just one possible focus.

Six Sigma quality is a level of defects that corresponds to 3.4 dpmo (defects per million opportunities).  This does not mean that the final product is 3.4 dpm.  It means that each opportunity is at 3.4 dpm.  Most products have many opportunities for defects.  Each measurable characteristic represents an opportunity.  For example, in extruding plastic tubing there is the inside diameter, wall thickness and cut length.  There are other opportunities for defects as well.  The quality of the finished product will depend on its complexity.  It might range from 50 dpm for simpler disposable products (15 opportunities) to 95% first time yield for moderately complex hardware (? opportunities).

Six Sigma Tools

Six Sigma has been criticized as being a repackaging of already existing tools.  Certainly many of the tools that are part of Six Sigma have been around for some time.  However, many of these tools are not used effectively.  Six Sigma is about getting these tools used.  It is not enough to be aware of these tools and use them occasionally.  Six Sigma is about integrating these tools into everyday practice.  The Six Sigma tools are:

  • Acceptance Sampling Plan
  • Analysis of Means (ANOM)
  • Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
  • Capability Study
  • Challenge Test
  • Change-Point Analysis
  • Comparison With Standard
  • Comparison Between Two Groups
  • Comparison Between Multiple Groups
  • Component Swapping Study
  • Concentration Diagram
  • Confidence Interval
  • Contingency Table
  • Control Chart
  • Equivalency Study
  • Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)
  • Gage R&R Study
  • Measurement Reproducibility Study
  • Mistake Proofing
  • Multi-Vari Chart
  • Normality Test
  • Pareto Chart
  • Process Flow Diagram
  • Regression Analysis
  • Response Surface Study
  • Robust Tolerance Analysis
  • Screening Experiment
  • Scatterdiagram
  • Tolerance Interval
  • Variance Components Analysis

Six Sigma Processes

Learning to use the Six Sigma tools is not enough any more than learning to use a saw, tape measure and hammer prepares you to frame a house.  To frame a house, you must learn to apply these tools in the proper sequences in order to achieve the desired results.  Likewise, you must have to apply the Six Sigma tools in the proper sequences.  The Six Sigma processes teach the proper sequences for applying the tools to improvement, design, etc.

Six Sigma Deployment

Deploying the Six Sigma tools and processes requires an implementation plan.  This plan must address the following:

  • Focus and Goals
  • Structure and Roles (Black Belts)
  • Project Selection
  • Training Approach
  • Other (Software, Web, Integration)

More on Six Sigma

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Last modified: September 08, 2017