# How can attaining Six Sigma signify quality?

All General Electric employees are trained in the strategy, statistical tools, and techniques if Six Sigma to bring defect levels below 3–4 defects per million. Believing that today’s competitive environment leaves no room for error, GE employs the Six Sigma measurement process to develop and produce near perfect products and services. The process helps GE in building high quality aircraft engines for customers such as Boeing.

Wander around organizations such as Bharti Broadband Networks (BBNL), Zeta Pharma , Wipro Technologies, Infosys, Satyam Computers and you’re likely to find green and black belts. Hardly these green and black belts signify individuals trained in Six Sigma processes.

Six Sigma is a philosophy and measurement process developed in the 1980s at Motorola. The premise behind Six Sigma is to design, measure, analyze and control the in and out side of a production process to achieve the goal of no more than 3.4 defects per million parts or procedures. That is, rather than measuring the quality of a product after it is produced, Six Sigma attempts to design quality in as the product is being made (see below)

Six Sigma 12 Process Steps>>>

1) Select the critical to quality characteristics
2) Define the required performance standards
3) Validate measurements system, methods and procedures
4) Establish the current processes capability
5) Define upper and lower performance limits
6) Identify sources of variation
7) Screen potential causes of variation to identify the vital few variables needing control.
8) Discover variation relationship for the vital variables
9) Establish operating tolerances on each of the vital variables
10) Validate the measurement system’s ability to produce repeatable data.
11) Determine the capability of the process to control the vital variables.
12) Implement statistical process control on the vital variables.

Six Sigma:

A philosophy and measurement process that attempts to design in quality as a product is being made.

It is a process that uses statistical models, coupled with specific quality tools, high levels of rigor, and know how when improving processes. How effective is Six Sigma at ensuring quality? Let’s answer that by posing a question. In your opinion, is 99.9 per cent effective enough? Consider this: At 99.9 percent effectiveness, 12 babies will be given to the wrong parents each day; 22,000 checks would be deducted from the incorrect checking accounts each hour, and 2 planes a day would fail to land safety at Chicago’s O’ Hare International Airport. Just 15 years ago, three sigma was a fairly standard objective by most Americans which resulted in more than 66,000 defects per million.

Six Sigma applications can also be useful on the service side of business – especially in identifying cost savings. For example, Ashok Juneja, CEO, BBNL, has used Six Sigma to improve timely complaint resolution by 66 per cent timely order implementation by 70 per cent, and timely invoice submission by 51 per cent, resulting in productivity enhancements, improved customer satisfaction and process effectiveness. BBNL is targeting a saving of around Rs 10 crores in the first year of operation due to six Sigma applications

At Satyam, the company expects a cost saving of Rs 50 crores annually through productivity improvements in processes and services and defect and cycle time reduction. Besides improving operational efficiency, the company also benefits from increased customer satisfaction and additional business generated by showcasing Six sigma projects.