Much of the original work on Six Sigma was done at Western Electric – the manufacturing arm of AT&T that produced telephone hardware.
From 1910s until the 1950s, three important figures, Walter Shewhart, Dr. Edwards Deming, and Dr. Joseph Juran, made sizable contributions to the role of quality in business.
Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process improvement model that strives to develop and deliver near-perfect products and services.
In the 1980s, a Japanese company called Matsushita purchased one of Motorola’s failing television manufacturing facilities and made significant changes to management and operations processes. The factory was soon producing television sets with dramatically fewer defects than Motorola had experienced. In response, Motorola’s CEO, Bob Galvin, challenged his company to achieve a tenfold improvement in performance over a five-year period. This leap in quality improvement required a radically different approach, and in implementing Statistical Process Control Theory began measuring quality in terms of an unheard of Defects Per Million Opportunities (DPMO). Motorola equated Six Sigma with only 3.4 DPMO or achieving 99.9997% reliability! Since then, hundreds of companies of varying sizes and industries have adopted Six Sigma as the way to do business.
The DMAIC Process is the heart of Six Sigma. It is a rational decision-making process for improving existing processes (the DMADV Process is used to design new products or processes). It stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.
Six Sigma programs have their own organizational structure aside from the company’s. Each level of the organizational hierarchy has its own role and responsibilities. The foundation of the USC Six Sigma Program is the Green Belt.
An introductory participant and the foundation of the process. Green belts understand concepts of problem solving, data collection, data interpretation, variation, process capability, and cost analysis. Green Belts are expected to assist Black Belts on larger initiatives and lead smaller scale projects.
Thoroughly trained individuals with expertise in using statistical tools and interpreting analytical results. Black Belts are expected to identify opportunities, lead initiatives, and coach Green Belts.
Master Black Belts are Six Sigma Quality experts that are responsible for the strategic implementations within an organization. Master Black Belt main responsibilities include training and mentoring of Black Belts and Green Belts, helping to prioritize, select and charter high-impact projects.
Provide support, resources and remove road-blocks. Champions have more in-depth understanding of the methods – measurements and interpretation of process measurements.
Identifies projects / black belts; allocates resources; monitors progress; manages project portfolio; establishes implementation strategy and policies.