The “Six Sigma” Methodology Approach

What is Six Sigma Methodology?

Six Sigma is a collection of management tools and techniques intended to increase the productivity of businesses by reducing the probability of variance and error. It is a data-driven technique that uses a statistical framework to remove defects and to determine the root causes of errors, enabling companies to deliver better products for customers.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma is integrating Lean and Six Sigma methodologies to minimize waste, defect (variation) and improve productivity and performance. Lean emphasizes on efficiency, and Six Sigma focuses on how efficiency will lead to faster outcomes.

Together, they are more efficient than any tool used independently of another. Effective deployment of Lean Six Sigma relies on a good comprehension of the duties , obligations, systems and training requirements of the employee.

What Are the Levels of the Six Sigma Training Program?

The Six Sigma training levels comply with the relevant training conditions, educational qualifications, work and eligibility requirements.

  • Executive Leadership: ( Primary Vision Holders of Six Sigma implementation
    • Include the CEO and other senior managers in the company.
    • They set up the Six Sigma Game Plan
    • They provide participants with the tools and liberty to discover innovative improvement methods
    • They reach through departmental units to resolve resistance to change.
  • Champion: (Key Role Holders by the upper management) 
    • Ensure that all divisions of the company are operating and collaborating together on projects.
    • Responsible for a smooth methodology implementation across the board. 
    • They become coaches to Master Black Belts.
  • Master Black Belt: (Champions hand-pick individual program advisors)
    • Provide insight into appropriate practices and programs to be tackled by the organization.
    • Devote 100% of their time to Six Sigma efforts, including statistical obligations, overseeing the effective execution of Six Sigma across divisions, and mentoring Black Belts and Green Belts.
  • Black Belt: 
    • They carry out specific tasks in line with the Six Sigma Approach.
    • 100% of their time is spent on Six Sigma ventures.
    • Black Belts are assigned special leadership coursework to ensure the accomplishment of their specified projects.
  • Green Belt: 
    • They work under the supervision of Black Belts to conduct activities related to Six Sigma projects.
    • They take leadership positions when required to fulfill certain activities.
    • Their authority in particular decision-making is minimal.
  • Yellow Belt: 
    • Typically still new to the Six Sigma approach.
    • Their experience is not adequate to perform a leadership role, but they are familiar enough to be successful participants.
    • They work on minor improvement activities in big ventures and use the resources they have acquired to be part of the Six Sigma effort.
  • White Belt: 
    • They’re brand new to the Six Sigma process with a little hours of practice.
    • They have sufficient information about the process, but do not engage in the Six Sigma projects until they learn more about it.

Three Key Elements of Six Sigma

Unlike other quality improvement philosophies, Six Sigma is comprised of three key elements:

  • Customer: Customer is the core to success and the highest priority for Six Sigma. Customers identify consistency and demand on-time delivery, high efficiency, support, and much more. In this dynamic environment, though, satisfying consumer expectations is not enough and needs to delight them.
  • Process: Defining the process and related metrics is the main feature of six sigma. Since the consumer is important for every company, Quality has to be looked at from a customer perspective. This would help to recognize the holes in systems and work to strengthen them.
  • Employee: Without leadership dedication, it is impossible to incorporate Six sigma in any organization. The company should include all workers with defined duties and specific goals in a six sigma program. Thus the organization has to have required resources (like people, training, budget), etc.

What Are the Six Sigma Principles?

  • Continuous attempts to produce reliable and consistent operation outcomes are essential to market growth.
  • Manufacturing and business processes have features that can be described, calculated, evaluated, enhanced, and regulated (see DMAIC below).
  • Achieving continuous quality enhancement involves dedication from the whole company, including and maybe particularly upper and middle management.
  • The processes can be described and evaluated in depth, and thus improved: if you control the inputs, you can control the outputs.
  • Continual assessment is important. Stop what you’re doing and consider what went right or wrong.
  • Eliminating variance saves money and lowers defect

Methodologies of Six Sigma

DMAIC: The DMAIC method is used mainly for optimizing current business processes The letters stand for:

  • Define the issue and the project priorities
  • Measure in depth the different facets of the ongoing phase
  • Analyze data to, among other items, identify the root defects in a method
  • Improve the process
  • Control the way the procedure is performed in the future

DMADV: The DMADV method is usually used to develop innovative systems and new goods or services. The letters stand for:

  • Define the priorities of the project
  • Measure important components of the process and the product capacities
  • Analyze the data create a range of method designs, finally choosing the right one
  • Design and test details of the process
  • Verify the design by running tests and a test program, and then hand off the procedure to the customer.

Six Sigma Techniques

The Six Sigma approach uses a combination of mathematical and data processing methods such as process mapping and design and validated qualitative and quantitative techniques to produce the desired result.


Brainstorming is the central process of any problem-solving approach and is also used in the “develop” phase of the DMAIC technique. The facilitator, who is generally the lead Black Belt or Green Belt, moderates the open session between a group of members.

Root Cause Analysis/The 5 Whys

In the 5 Whys technique, the question “Why is posed, again and again, eventually leading to the central problem. Although “five” is a rule of thumb, the real number of questions could be more or less, whatever it takes to be clear.

Voice of the Customer

The purpose of this strategy is to offer the right goods and services to the consumer. It captures the shifting needs of the consumer in both overt and indirect approaches.

The 5S System

This methodology is rooted in the Japanese theory of energy at work. The 5S Framework is designed to eliminate waste and remove bottlenecks from inefficient resources, facilities or services at the workplace. The five steps used were Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set In Order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize) and Shitsuke (Sustain).

Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)

It is a practice that constantly tracks, defines and introduces changes. Collective and continuous improvements guarantee a reduction in waste, as well as an urgent adjustment any time the slightest inefficiency is found.


Benchmarking is a method that uses a fixed unit of measurement. It includes making comparisons with other businesses in order to provide an objective evaluation of the case.

Poka-yoke (Mistake Proofing)

The name of this strategy is derived from the Japanese term “avoid mistakes” and includes eliminating the likelihood of errors happening. In the poka-yoke method, workers identify and eradicate inefficiencies and human error during the production process.

Value Stream Mapping

The value stream mapping method maps the present flow of resources and knowledge for the planning of a possible project. The goal is to eliminate duplication and inefficiencies in the value chain and to create leaner processes. It defines seven distinct categories of waste and three types of waste disposal operations.

The Six Sigma Tools

  1. Cause and Effect Analysis
  2. Flow Chart
  3. Pareto Chart
  4. Histogram
  5. Check Sheet
  6. Scatter Plot
  7. Control Chart

Why Use Six Sigma?

Organizations address new issues every day, such as increasing prices, consumer concerns, rising defect rates, etc. Most notably, global competition made it imperative to offer near-perfect products at low cost to keep consumers satisfied and make the company viable on the market. The main advantages of the Six Sigma implementation are as follows.

  • Develop comprehensive goods and services
  • Ensures customer satisfaction;
  • Reduces method variance and thus reduces waste
  • Eliminates underlying causes of production failures and faults
  • Reduces rework by doing things right for the first time
  • Addresses main corporate entity criteria
  • Advantage in competition
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