In this tutorial, Dr. Richard Chua introduces Six Sigma, a project methodology for improvement. He discusses how six sigma can be used to refer to a philosophy, performance metric, and methodology. Six Sigma strives for perfection in meeting customer needs and business requirements. Six Sigma focuses on being proactive and prevention based. The terms Sigma is a letter in the Greek alphabet used to represent deviation.
- What exactly is Six Sigma? Six Sigma is a project-based approach for improving effectiveness and efficiency. It is a disciplined, customer-focused, data-driven approach for improving the performance of processes, products, or services. Now, the term Six Sigma can be used to refer to a philosophy, a performance metric, or a methodology. As a philosophy, Six Sigma strives for perfection in achieving effectiveness and efficiency in meeting customer and business requirements.
Six Sigma is proactive and prevention-based instead of reactive and detection-based. As a performance metric, Six Sigma refers to a level of quality that is near perfection. It strives for a defect level that is no more than 3.4 parts per million. Sigma is a letter in the Greek alphabet used to represent standard deviation, a measure of variation. A Six Sigma process is very consistent, with very little variation, and therefore has a very small standard deviation.
So small that the distance from the mean, or the average, to the nearest specification limit is equivalent to six standard deviations, or six sigmas. As a result, only 3.4 parts per million or less are out of specification. As a methodology, Six Sigma refers to DMAIC, or D M A I C, a methodology for improvement named after its five phases of define, measure, analyze, improve, and control.
Using this prescriptive approach, a team focuses on improving what's important to customers, and uses data analysis to diagnose and improve the performance of process, products, or services. So, now that we've covered Six Sigma at a very high level, let's walk through a simple example of what Six Sigma can do. Take the typical experience of calling a cable company for installation or repair. You call them and they say, "The earliest we can get a technician out to your house "is 10 working days from today." "And the technician will be there "sometime between 8am and 5pm." Fast forward 10 days, you have taken the day off work to stay home and wait for the technician.
And you wait, and you wait. Then the technician either does not show or shows up late, past 5pm. Wouldn't it have been nice if instead they said, "We can get a technician out to your house tomorrow "between 8 and 8:30am." And the next day, the technician shows up at 8am. Wow, that in a nutshell is what Six Sigma can do. Now, later in this course, we'll go over the nuts and bolts of how this is done.
But the most important thing to grasp from this video is that Six Sigma is a project methodology for improvement. I've seen Six Sigma projects reduce patient wait times in hospitals, minimize defects in manufacturing, cut down billing errors, and improve guest experience in hotels. Six Sigma works. And I can't wait to share how it works with you.
- What is Six Sigma?
- Understanding key concepts such as Y = f(x) and sigma level
- Selecting Six Sigma projects and team members
- Planning in the Define phase
- Gathering data in the Measure phase
- Analyzing data in the Analyze phase
- Selecting and evaluating solutions in the Improve phase
- Developing a control plan in the Control phase