January 31, 2007

Six Sigma Defined

By Priya Jestin, Staff Writer

We’ve probably gone so much into the intricacies of the process that we have probably forgotten to ask ourselves a very pertinent question: What Is Six Sigma? For those who came in late, here is a small orientation course on the management mantra that has taken the corporate world by storm.

The corporate environment today is highly charged and you have absolutely no room for error. Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps us focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.

So what’s in the name? The word Sigma is a statistical term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection. The basic idea behind Six Sigma is that if you can measure the number of "defects" in a process, you can systematically figure out how to eliminate them. This will help you get as close to "zero defects" as possible. To achieve Six Sigma Quality, a process must produce no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. An "opportunity" is defined as a chance for nonconformance, or not meeting the required specifications.

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