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Six Sigma is an improvement process that uses statistical measurement, verification and validation to improve a business process. A typical Six Sigma project measures the current state and increases the performance of the business process to a new and statistically significant improved state through the use of statistical tools. The name, Six Sigma, is derived from the relationship of the number of defects per million opportunities and the number of standard deviations that can be made to fit inside a specification. Standard Deviation in statistical science is represented by the small Greek letter sigma. Six Sigma capability refers to a very small number of possible failures that can exist outside the specification.

Six Sigma Services

Consulting
Training
Facilitation

How Does Six Sigma Work?

The Six Sigma process is directed by personnel who are trained in the use of statistical tools. Quality-One Core Competencies highlight Six Sigma tools we use in Training and Facilitation. The level of training and experience Six Sigma personnel have attained is evidenced by the color of their belt. Belt colors are derived from the martial arts.

Belts available through Q-1 Training and Mentoring:

Black Belt

Black Belts have the highest level of statistical training in Six Sigma. Black Belts lead projects, direct team members on data collection, analysis and recommended actions for improvement. Black Belts report to a Master Black Belt on progress.

Master Black Belt

A Master Black Belt is classically trained in statistical tools, Six Sigma methodology and management processes. Master Black Belts mentor and direct groups of Black Belts and Six Sigma teams through various problems under study. Additionally, Master Black Belts are responsible for the strategy and training of Black Belt levels and below.

Green Belt

Green Belts are trained in a smaller subset of statistical tools, proper data collection, and simple analysis of data. Green Belts do most of the work at the operations being studied. Green Belts report to a Black Belt on projects.

Yellow Belt

Yellow Belts have intermediate knowledge of the statistical tools required for projects. Yellow Belts have sufficient knowledge to be a helpful addition to teams as SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) but do not typically analyze collected data. Yellow Belts are team members and resources called upon as needed. Yellow Belt is a good level for personnel to begin an improvement effort.

White Belt

White Belts have knowledge of the goals and objectives of Six Sigma. Familiar with terms and methods only, White Belts typically are not actively involved in projects. The exception is if the White Belt is a SME.

The Six Sigma methodology also follows a step by step roadmap. The most popular sequence of steps is DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). Other Six Sigma acronyms exist as a matter of preference.

A Six Sigma project starts with a Black Belt assignment to create the project charter detailing the current idea for improvement. The charter is completed with measures, targets and information that will improve the potential success of the project.

A team is selected and follows the DMAIC model. Success is determined by a measured, verified and validated improvement level that is statistically significant. Statistical significance is determined based on several possible factors: Mean shift, Standard Deviation reduction and / or removal of a non-normal variable from the process.

The Six Sigma methodology also follows a step by step roadmap. The most popular sequence of steps is DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). Other Six Sigma acronyms exist as a matter of preference.

A Six Sigma project starts with a Black Belt assignment to create the project charter detailing the current idea for improvement. The charter is completed with measures, targets and information that will improve the potential success of the project.

A team is selected and follows the DMAIC model. Success is determined by a measured, verified and validated improvement level that is statistically significant. Statistical significance is determined based on several possible factors: Mean shift, Standard Deviation reduction and / or removal of a non-normal variable from the process.

What is Design for Six Sigma?

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is the opposite of the Six Sigma process. The Six Sigma process works to improve a current condition, while DFSS is used to design the product or process for Six Sigma performance levels. DFSS uses the same tools as Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP). Examples of DFSS tools can be viewed in our Core Competencies.

The relationship between New Product Introduction (NPI) processes, APQP and DFSS is often confusing.

NPI is the plan for products at the strategic level. Performance of the product, costs, sales goals, and assets required to produce are all within the realm of NPI. Evidence of success is market share and profit.

APQP is the quality planning activity reserved for cascaded risk from NPI. APQP is used during required engagement with an internal or external supplier. Risk tools help determine how much work is necessary to mitigate for success. The evidence of success is the approval of a Production Part Approval Process (PPAP).

DFSS is a highly focused effort, led by a Black Belt, to assure the value will not be lost during NPI or APQP. DFSS is powerful and meticulous. Every element of a design is important but not at risk. DFSS is the choice for High Risk and High Value design elements or features that may require special treatment. When DFSS is successful, the customer is delighted with the element or feature. Customer delight is the goal of DFSS.

The process steps for DFSS include: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Validate. Verification and Validation are used interchangeably in some circles, but they are not the same. The Validate step in DMADV should include both Verification and Validation.

  • Verification assures the design of product and process performance through the usage of special means. Prototypes are typically made for Verification.
  • Validation assures the design of product and process performance with product or output from the production process without special means.

Learn More About Six Sigma

Quality-One’s Six Sigma body of knowledge is used in many organizations. Our ConsultingTraining and Project Support series of Six Sigma Core Competencies are Best-in-Class. We can help you design a dynamic and cost effective Six Sigma strategy that will produce results.