Understand the Six Sigma methodology, how it emerged and what are its 5 main steps

The Six Sigma process management is a type of business process management extremely qualified and efficient. It adopts as the main idea the correction of defects in the business processes and the improvement of these processes by cutting unnecessary costs.

Formerly, the Six Sigma management used to be applied only on the manufacture and production area, but over time it evolved and nowadays is widely used in the service sector and improving business processes.

This business process management tool uses data and statistical analysis to measure the level of operational quality in a company, discovering flaws in its business processes and developing solutions that act on the root of the problem.

Read about lean business process improvement and know more!

How was Six Sigma created?

Sigma is a letter of the Greek alphabet used as a measure of statistical variation. When applied in the universe of business management, it refers to the frequency with each certain business process distance itself from perfection, thus consuming more resources than the minimum necessary to satisfy the client. The Sigma considers the occurrence of defects inside a particular number of opportunities.

On the 20s, the North American engineering Walter Andrew Shewhart, specialist, and pioneer on the statistic control of quality, defined that a process that presented a variation equal or superior to 3 sigma above its standard level had to be reviewed and corrected. The levels of quality were measured in a universe of thousands of opportunities.

On the 80s, though, a team of Motorola engineers, commanded by Bob Galvin and Bill Smith, determined that this numbers did not bring good results. Therefore, they started to measure the quality levels not in thousands, but in millions of opportunities.

That is how the Six Sigma process management was born. Its excellence and help with the business process management made it a method used worldwide, whose quality level generates only 3,4 defects for each million of opportunities.

See also:

The five essential stages to the planning and execution of the Six Sigma process

  • Define: determine the main needs of the company and the most important points to the quality of the business process of the business.
  • Measure: measure and evaluate the performance of such processes.
  • Analyze: study and map the collected data, so it can be possible to point the origin of the problems and to identify improvement opportunities.
  • Improve: optimize the processes, through solutions that are at the same time correctives and preventives.
  • Control: follow the effect of solutions, in a short, medium and long term, controlling the performance of the processes and pointing eventual improvements to the business process management.

Seems good? Know how to apply it and read more about the DMAIC methodology!

Now that you know what the Six Sigma management is and how it can improve the business process, also read about the BPM concept and see how it improves the business process management.

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