Six sigma the latest approach in the ongoing development of strategies for business improvement
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Six Sigma - the Latest Approach in the Ongoing Development of Strategies for Business Improvement. Use of analytical methods has grown steadily for over 80 years Statistical quality control (origins in 1920, explosive growth during WW II, 1950s) Operations research (1940s)

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Six sigma the latest approach in the ongoing development of strategies for business improvement
Six Sigma - the Latest Approach in the Ongoing Development of Strategies for Business Improvement

  • Use of analytical methods has grown steadily for over 80 years

    • Statistical quality control (origins in 1920, explosive growth during WW II, 1950s)

    • Operations research (1940s)

    • Value engineering, zero defects (1950s, 1960s)

    • FDA, EPA in the 1970’s

    • TQM (Total Quality Management) movement in the 1980’s

    • Reengineering of business processes (late 1980’s)

    • Six-Sigma (origins at Motorola in 1987, expanded impact during 1990s to present)


Focus of Six Sigma is on Process Improvement with an Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • A process is an organized sequence of activities that produces an output that adds value to the organization

  • All work is performed in (interconnected) processes

    • Easy to see in some situations (manufacturing)

    • Harder in others

  • Any process can be improved

  • An organized approach to improvement is necessary

  • The process focus is essential to six sigma


The original six sigma concept (Motorola) Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact


Six sigma
Six-Sigma Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • A disciplined and analytical approach to process and product improvement

  • Specialized roles for people; GBs, BBs, MBBs, Champions, etc

  • Top-down driven (Champions from each business)

  • BBs and MBBs have responsibility (project definition, leadership, training/mentoring, team facilitation)

  • Involves a five step process (DMAIC) :

    • Define

    • Measure

    • Analyze

    • Improve

    • Control


Six sigma1
Six-Sigma Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • DMAIC is closely related to the Shewhart cycle (variously called the Deming cycle, or the PDCA cycle)

Walter A. Shewhart, 1891 - 1967


What makes it work
What makes it work? Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • Successful implementations characterized by:

    • Committed leadership

    • Use of top talent

    • Supporting infrastructure

      • Formal project selection process

      • Formal project review process

      • Dedicated resources

      • Financial system integration


Six sigma2
Six Sigma Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • Similarities/differences with:

    • TQM

      • Largely a failure

      • Focus on training without getting business results

      • No top management commitment

      • Lack of a project focus

    • Advice from the “guru’s” of quality

      • Deming

      • Juran

      • Others (lesser gods)


W edwards deming 1900 1993
W. Edwards Deming (1900 – 1993) Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • Taught engineering, physics in the 1920s, finished PhD in 1928

  • Met Walter Shewhart at Western Electric

  • Long career in government statistics, USDA, Bureau of the Census

  • During WWII he worked with US defense contractors, deploying statistical methods

  • Sent to Japan after WWII to work on the census

  • The rest is history

  • The 14 points, the ‘deadly diseases”

  • Probably the most influential of the Gurus

Deming, about 1980


Joseph m juran
Joseph M. Juran Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • Born in Romania (1904), immigrated to the US

  • Worked at Western Electric, influenced by Walter Shewhart

  • Emphasizes a more strategic and planning oriented approach to quality than does Deming

  • Juran Institute is still an active organization promoting the Juran philosophy and quality improvement practices


The juran trilogy
The Juran Trilogy Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • Planning

  • Control

  • Improvement

  • These three processes are interrelated

  • Control versus breakthrough

  • Project-by-project improvement


Statistical thinking
Statistical Thinking Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • Integral aspect of Six-Sigma

  • Fundamentally different from statistical methods

  • In the usual context, the definition needs to be broadened to include:

    • Operations research tools

    • Discrete event simulation

    • Etc.


The future of six sigma
The Future of Six Sigma Emphasis on Achieving Significant Business Impact

  • Three “generations” so far:

    • Generation I – focus on defect elimination (Motorola, 1987-1993)

    • Generation II – focus on cost reduction (GE, Allied Signal/Honeywell, 1994-1999)

    • Generation III – focus on value creation (Dupont, 2000-present)

  • What’s next – eight sigma, ten sigma?


  • Part of the future is integration of six sigma into the educational infrastructure

  • The ASU six sigma program

  • Graduate level program

  • Designed by IE and the ASU Committee on Statistics

  • Open to any ASU graduate student that satisfies the prerequisites:

    • calculus-based statistics course

    • linear algebra


  • Three statistics courses: educational infrastructure

    • Design of Experiments (IEE 572)

    • Statistical Process Monitoring & Control (IEE 570)

    • Regression Modeling (IEE 578)

  • The Six Sigma Methods Course

    • Integration of the statistical tools

    • Soft skills (leadership principles, teams, facilitation, consulting, making presentations)

    • Lean methods overview

    • Transactional business & six sigma

  • Applied Projects – BB project


  • Graduates receive two credentials educational infrastructure

    • The ASU Graduate Certificate in Statistics

    • The Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering BB Certificate

  • All courses may be taken on-line

  • Program is open to non-matriculating students

  • All 15 credits can be applied to the MEng degree in Quality/Reliability Engineering


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