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6 Sigma Methodology

6 Sigma Methodology



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November 28, 2005

Hi [[firstname]], welcome back,

If your business teams are in the process of 
implementing or just debating the benefits of a Six 
Sigma Program, this is a must-read bulletin. 

Six Sigma is a continuous improvement methodology 
for winners. The benefits to you and your team can 
be enormous. For example, a Six Sigma Program will 
help you and your team:

* Create and implement a winning strategy 
* Improve customer satisfaction 
* Develop motivational performance measurements
* Speed improvements in quality, speed and cost 
* Implement effective supply chain management
* Move from "firefighting" to proactive problem 
* Eliminate day-to-day chaos and "end-of-the-month" 
* Reach your full growth and earnings potential.

6 Sigma Methodology for Winners


If you and your company are interested in learning 
about Six Sigma; or if your seeking ways to optimize 
your Six Sigma results... a good approach would be to 
consider our e-Tutorial, Six Sigma Simplified, “The
8-Basics of Lean Six Sigma” 

During this week only, MB&BP Subscribers can purchase 
their e-tutorial at a 40% discount from our bookstore 
price of $497.00; or for $297.00. Now that’s a savings 
of $200 from retail and many more hundreds of dollars 
less than attending a relevant seminar. (And, unlike 
a seminar, your tutorial will always be available for 
future review.) 

For a detailed review of this tutorial, go to:



If you need front office support and/or "go-ahead" 
approval, I suggest that you provide them with a copy 
of this MBBP Bulletin and ask them for comments and 
suggestions. Most upper management leaders will be 
glad you did.

Have a nice day, and stay connected.

Bill Gaw
Business Basics, LLC
6 Sigma Methodology for Winners

Now serving over 10,598 subscribers

Competitive Knowledge for Manufacturing People 

6 Sigma Methodology for Winners


Let me start by saying that Six Sigma is not an overly 
sophisticated and unrealistic method of measuring data 
variation. It is also not a continuous improvement 
methodology for only banks, insurance companies and 
widget manufacturers. 

So if that’s what it’s not, then what is it?

First, it is a statistical measure of the performance 
of a process or a product.

Second, it is a goal that reaches near perfection for 
performance improvement.

Third, and most important, it is a continuous 
improvement methodology designed to achieve “top-to-
bottom” commitment to world-class performance.


Sigma stands for standard deviation. It is a 
statistical way to describe how much variation exists 
in a set of data, a group of items, or a process. If 
you deliver only about 68% of your shipments to your
customers on time, your process is at only a “2 sigma” 
level. If you deliver 93 percent of your shipments on 
time, which sounds good, you are operating at only a 
“3 sigma” level of performance. If you get 99.4 percent 
of them to your customer on time, you’re operating at 
“4 sigma.”

To be a Six Sigma on time supplier, you would have to 
have a delivery record of 99.9997 percent on time. 
That’s practically perfect! In fact, for every million 
of shipments you make, you’d end up with only three or 
four late deliveries.

6 Sigma Methodology for Winners

That’s enough to turn almost every manufacturing team 
off. If we’re struggling to make our goal of 97% on 
time deliveries, and that’s only 3.4 sigma, there is 
no way in hell that we’re going to get anywhere near 
6-sigma … ever! 

During my early years in manufacturing, I thought that 
Six Sigma was a program for only banks, drug companies 
and doughnut factories … not for manufacturers 
producing a product; let alone make-to-order products. 
Today, things have changed and Six Sigma has become 
a continuous improvement methodology employed by
many small to medium size manufacturing companies. 


The goal of Six Sigma is to help people and processes 
aim high in aspiring to deliver defect-free products 
and services. The notion of zero defects is not at work 
here; Six Sigma recognizes that there’s always some 
potential for defects, even in the best-run processes 
or best-built products. 

The goal of Six Sigma is especially ambitious when you 
consider that prior to the start of a Six Sigma effort, 
many processes in many businesses operate at 1. 2, 3 
sigma levels. This means that from 66,000 to as many 
as 700,000 mistakes per million opportunities are being 
produced! Indeed, it’s often a shock for people to see 
how poorly their processes and products perform.

When taking up the Six Sigma banner, a business is 
saying, in effect: “We’d like to get as many of our 
customer-related activities and products performing 
as close to Six Sigma as we can.” Because 3.4 defects 
per million is such a challenging goal, the more 
immediate objective may be to get from, say, 2 to 3 
sigma. But that’s not shabby either: It would mean 
reducing defects from more than 300,000 per million to 
fewer that 70,000.

6 Sigma Methodology for Winners

Keeping customers happy is good and profitable for 
the business. A 5 percent increase in customer 
retention has been shown to increase profits more that 
25 percent. It is estimated that companies lose 15 
percent to 20 percent of revenues each year to 
ineffective, inefficient processes---although some 
might suggest that it’s even higher. Six Sigma provides 
a goal that applies to both product and service 
activities and that sets attainable, short term goals 
while striving for long-range business objectives.


A significant difference between Six Sigma and other
continuous improvement programs is the degree to 
which management plays a key role in regularly 
monitoring program results and accomplishments.

As a management system, though, Six Sigma is not owned 
by senior leaders (although their role is critical) 
or driven by middle management (Although their 
participation is key). The ideas, solutions, process 
discoveries, and improvements that arise from Six Sigma 
take place at the front lines of the organization. Six 
Sigma companies are striving to put more responsibility 
into the hands of the people who work directly with 

In short, Six Sigma is a system that combines both 
strong leadership and grassroots energy and involvement. 
In addition, the benefits of Six Sigma are not just 
financial. People at all levels of a Six Sigma company 
find that better understanding of customers, a clearer 
process, meaningful measures, and powerful improvement 
tools make their work more effective, less chaotic, 
and often more rewarding.

In my experience, I found that like most other change 
initiatives the success level was always related to 
how well a company built the foundation for its change 
initiative success. Their foundation for successful 
implementation had the mastering of relevant business 
basics as its core strength. Six Sigma is no different. 

It’s amazing how many companies have great visions yet 
fail to achieve their full growth and earnings 
potential. They're a lot like the Green Bay Packer's 
football team before the arrival of Vince Lombardi ... 
all the potential in the world but with little focus 
on executing the basics of their profession. 


For any Six Sigma initiative to be successful, the 
following three challenges must be conquered:

1. Companies need to identify which Six Sigma 
basics that are requisites for increasing speed, 
improving quality, and boosting profit margins?

2. Teams need to master these basics to provide a 
solid foundation for the successful implementation of 
Six Sigma? 

3. Someone needs to champion a “top-to-bottom,” company 
commitment to the flawless execution of the Six Sigma 
Basics? A commitment that will provide the launching 
pad for individual, team and company achievements 
beyond all expectations. 



If your company is interested in mastering the Six 
Sigma, a good approach would be to consider our 
e-Tutorial, “Six Sigma Simplified.” 

During this week only, MB&BP Subscribers can purchase 
their tutorial at a 40% discount from our retail price 
of $497.00; or for $297.00. Now that’s a savings of 
$200 from retail and many more hundreds of dollars 
less than attending a relevant seminar. (And unlike a 
seminar, your tutorial will always be available for 
future reviews) Now that’s an offer you shouldn’t pass 

You can check it out at:


Don’t procrastinate, do it today! 


You are welcomed to print and share this bulletin with 
your manufacturing teams, peers and upper management ... 
better yet, have them signup for their own copy at:


Education and training that you'll neither find at 
Amazon.com nor the APICS Library nor the 
Harvard Business School Press.

Business Basics, LLC
6003 Dassia Way, Oceanside, CA 92056
West Coast: 760-945-5596

Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard 
ISO 9000:2000 - Strategic Planning - Supply Chain 
Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz 
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping

All at one Website: http://bbasicsllc.com



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Manufacturing Knowledge you’ll not find at offsite 
seminars nor in the books at Amazon.com

Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard 
ISO 9000:2000 - Strategic Planning - Supply Chain 
Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz 
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping

All at one Website: Good Manufacturing Practices


6 Sigma Methodology for Winners

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Business Basics, LLC
6003 Dassia Way, Oceanside, CA 92056
West Coast: 760-945-5596