Six Sigma

Competency Group: Mechanical Engineering

Type: Process

Description: Six Sigma is a comprehensive business management strategy focused on reducing defects to help lower costs, save time, and improve customer satisfaction. It is typically employed by large companies with more than 500 employees, and may have to be adapted to create value in smaller organizations. It seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization ("Black Belts", "Green Belts", etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets (cost reduction and/or profit increase). A variety of quality management techniques can be used together to implement a six sigma program, including check sheets, scatter diagrams, cause and effect diagrams, Pareto charts, flowcharts, histograms, and statistical process control to name a few.

Citation for Description: Six Sigma. (2011). Retrieved from Wikipedia, AND Heizer, J. & Render, B. (2011). Operations Management. Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River.

Advantages: Ensures that the process is working at its most efficient. Minimal waste and lower costs. Usually implemented company wide, which makes the  process familiar across departments.

Limitations: Can be expensive.

Regulations: ASQ. (n.d.). Knowledge Center Topics: Lean Six Sigma. Retrieved from

Target Audience: Management, Marketing, R&D, Engineering, Production, Accounting/Finance, Sales

Relevant to Universal Design: Yes

Stages and Steps: 1.5, 2.2, 4.1, 4.7, 4.10, 4.11,4.12, 4.13, 5.3, 6.3, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 8.2, 9.1

Free Resource: iSix Sigma. (2012). New to Lean Six sigma. Retrieved from

Free Resource: The Lean 6 Sigma Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Purchase Resource: George, M., Rowlands, D. & Kastle, B. (2004). What is Lean Six Sigma? New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Purchase Resource: Tuppas. (2012). Lean Six Sigma Software with Artificial Intelligence. Retrieved from