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Six Sigma overview

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Six Sigma (6σ) is an effective method that aims at improving processes based on statistical and analytical data so that only a minimum of errors occur in a process under consideration. The main focus is cost reduction on the one hand and simultaneous increase in quality with the intention to increase customer satisfaction on the other.

A process that is controlled by Six Sigma has only 3.4 defects (errors) per 1 million opportunities in the mean.

History of Six Sigma

Predecessors of the Six Sigma method were to be found in the dockyard industry and later in the Asian industry. Six Sigma goes back to the 1980s. Today, many companies that operate at an international level use Six Sigma. The success of General Electric made the Six Sigma approach popular and famous all over the world.

Six Sigma was formerly used in production only. In the last years, however, service industry domains, such as banking and insurance, have also started to make use of this method.

Roles & tasks

In order to successfully carry out Six Sigma projects in a company, employees can participate in role-specific training sessions. The following qualification levels exist:

  • Champions are responsible for process results.
  • Master Black Belts spend 100% of their time on Six Sigma-related topics and guide Black Belts and Green Belts.
  • Black Belts are subordinate to Master Black Belts and apply the Six Sigma method to specific projects. They spend 100% of their time on Six Sigma. Their main focus lies on Six Sigma project execution, whereas Master Black Belts focus on identifying projects/functions for Six Sigma.
  • Green Belts are employees who are in charge of Six Sigma implementation besides their other job responsibilities. They are subordinate to Black Belts.

Core process: DMAIC

Six Sigma projects are usually carried out according to standardized and systematic methodology. The DMAIC cycle is one of the most common methods. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

DMAIC – Define
Definition of process improvement goals in line with customer requirements and business strategy.

DMAIC – Measure
Measuring of the process in question and recording of relevant data for comparison purposes.

DMAIC – Analyze
Analysis of process interrelations. Determination of relationships involved and consideration of all relevant factors.

DMAIC – Improve
Process improvement/optimization based on analysis results. Use of techniques such as Design of Experiments.

Process monitoring with the help of the measuring systems that are available. Definition of corrective actions for the event of deviations in the process.

Six Sigma & ARIS

With ARIS Six Sigma, ARIS platform supports a solution that offers special models as well as analysis options covering the complete DMAIC cycle.

Six Sigma & ARIS Community

Now go on and discuss the subject of Six Sigma with other users, experts, or beginners in our Six Sigma & Lean Management group. If you haven't joined the ARIS Community yet, do it now! ;-)

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