What and Why Six Sigma?

When Six Sigma is being talked about, what first comes into your mind? For those who have not heard the term before, their initial reaction might be Huh? What is that? or Is there such a thing? But for those who have been introduced to the concepts of Six Sigma, this would mean striving for quality in its highest form or pushing oneself closer to perfection. This is actually what Six Sigma is all about. It is a set of disciplined methodologies or practices that are being used to eliminate defects in any given process, therefore achieving improved performance.

You may be wondering why the term six sigma. Sigma, which is a character of the Greek alphabet, is used in mathematical statistics to define standard deviation of a population. The concept of Six Sigma relates that if one has six standard deviations between the nearest specification limit and the mean of a process, no items will practically fail to meet the specifications. This means that out of a million opportunities, there would only be 3.4 defective parts. Therefore, these identified problems or defects in the processes are to be removed from the system, up to a certain point where the output quality is close to perfect. This is the reason why Six Sigma is often seen as the ultimate aim to achieve high quality products and services as a result of continuous improvement to various organizational processes. However, efforts within the business ranks, specifically from the top management, should also be evident as Six Sigma entails a lifelong and persistent commitment towards excellence.


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