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Six Sigma FAQ's

1) What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a methodology that has been in use for over 20 years. The underlying principles to this program are to identify the root causes contributing to a defect (material or transactional) and determining through examination, analysis and experimentation at what level they should be controlled.

Root causes = inputs that drive the process or contribute to the defect
Defect = anything that generates a customer concern (internal or external)

2) What level is a Six Sigma process?

A true six sigma process is one in which defects would occur only 3.4 times in every million opportunities which is referred to as 3.4 PPM. Most companies today are operating in the area of three to four sigma = 67000 to 6200 PPM.

The difference is often referred to as the Cost of Poor Quality which may mean millions of your sales dollars spent in reworking / repairing / redoing inside the company and after sales servicing.

3) What will it cost to start a Six Sigma program?

The cost to implementation of a Six Sigma program is based on many factors. The levels of training (Champion, Black Belt or Green Belt) and number of candidates that will be receiving the training will dictate to a large extent the consultant portion cost of the training program. Also there is the cost of replacing the individuals (Black Belt level) within your organization. It is recommended that candidates be chosen from the upper ten to fifteen percent of your organization.

4) What type of savings are typical?

The average project savings for a Six Sigma program are approximately $125,000.00. The average Black Belt can be expected to successfully complete  3 - 4 standard projects per year.

5) What comprises a Six Sigma training program?

The training program is a combination of classroom presentations, interactive participation in discussions with the candidates and hands on practice models. This is combined with direct project related application of the tools learned. Additionally we will provide on site support for each candidate with their project to ensure correct tool application and understanding is being performed. Of course we are always available for email or phone discussions.

6) What is required for certification as a Black Belt?

All candidates are required to complete two standard projects prior to certification. The first project being completed during the training program. They must also demonstrate understanding and ability to correctly use the Six Sigma tools and methodology.

7) What happens after training?

The purpose of the training is to provide you with a self sustaining group of internal consultants able to tackle any problem or process that is questionable. Our group will be available to provide further training as requested but eventually you will be self supporting.

8) Will my company achieve the target of 3.4 PPM defects (Six Sigma)?

Six Sigma Performance desires to ensure that the clients and candidates understand the real goal of a Six Sigma program - defect reduction with improved processes. Although the goal of having a Six Sigma process is achievable we also stress the Return on Investment portion for the candidates. They must understand at what point achievable and sustainable improvements have been optimized with respect to costs of improvements.

9) How do I know which processes my company or organization should target for improved sigma levels?

Start by considering which processes—from administrative paperwork to a stop on the production line—concern your customers the most and place your priorities there. Every process may not require immediate improvement. For example, a hospital might learn from surveys that their customers care less about the time it takes to be admitted than they do about safe medical procedures and proper medications.

10) Who has been successful with Six Sigma?

The most publicized company with Six Sigma successes has been General Electric. In their first two years of deployment G.E. has saved nearly $900 million with savings to date over $1 billion. The person most responsible for promoting Six Sigma in G.E. was Jack Welch.

Other companies that have great success in Six Sigma programs are Navistar (International Truck), Allied Signal, Motorola, U.S. Postal Service, Honeywell, Nokia, Ford, Allied Signal, Gencorp and Maytag.




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