What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is the continuous pursuit and reduction of waste and defects, utilising statistics and other tools and techniques to identify opportunities, implement and measure improvement and maintain control of the process.

What is the literal meaning of Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a statistical measure of performance of anything you care to analyse.

Sigma (σ) is statistical shorthand for a standard deviation.

A standard deviation is a statistical way to describe how much variation exists in a set of data or a group of items – a process. For example if you look at the length of time it takes to clear all invoices the standard deviation will be higher than if you only looked at invoices from one supplier. To take this example a stage further, look at this table:

Six Sigma explained
% of invoices cleared on time Sigma Defective invoices per million
30.85 1 691500
69.15 2 308500
93.32 2 66800
93.32 3 66800
99.38 4 6200
99.977 5 230
99.99966 6 3.4

Six Sigma is a tool that leads to

  • genuine focus on the customer
  • improved quality and lower costs
  • data and fact driven management
  • processes governing the systems
  • proactive management
  • a company with fewer boundaries
  • a drive for perfection by addressing failure

Productivity Pointer

Time standards are central to costing, capacities, planning, manning, estimating, justifying investment, creating flow. Always ensure your data accurately reflects relevant work content.

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Roles in Six Sigma

When implementing Six Sigma, there are several roles, depending on the level you have achieved: Champion, Master Black Belt, Black Belt, Green Belt. Apocryphally the names were given by a Motorola consultant with a penchant for judo.

The Six Sigma Problem Solving Process – DMAIC

Pronounced as “duh – MAY – ick” this mnemonic covers the stages of a Six Sigma project.











How to learn more about Six Sigma

Scott-Grant is widely acknowledged as “outstanding” in delivering training for people wanting to study Six Sigma

Training courses that cover Six Sigma

Or we can supply Lean specialists on a project or contract basis to help you in your business. Ask us for details.

What to do next

If you need to improve capacity or reduce costs, or you need accurate data to determine how best to cope with change, we can provide the right way forward – cost-effectively. Remember that improving productivity is about making the better use of all your resources and vitally, making much better use of the critical ones.

Whichever business sector you operate in, the chances are we’ve helped people to address their productivity issues and improve the way they operate.

Scott-Grant can really help you improve your productivity and become more streamlined.

to help you understand more about

Six Sigma