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Six Sigma Process Improvement Methodology

13th Sep, 2023
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    Six Sigma Process Improvement Methodology

    The Normal distribution curve or bell curve forms the base of the process of Six Sigma. Six Sigma is a statistical concept to improve manufacturing processes. The main aim of Six Sigma is to reduce variation and error in the minimum amount of time. Continuous optimizations of manufacturing processes lead to optimization of production, which leads to higher customer satisfaction, which is the end goal of any industry.

    Lean Six Sigma process improvement is a blend of lean manufacturing and Six Sigma process. Lean manufacturing, at its core, is a concept of creating wealth by eliminating waste. The production unit only produces the amount required by the consumer, and thus the wastage is reduced. So, what do all Six Sigma processes consist of? First, Six Sigma's data-driven processes ensure that the error in production processes is not more than 3.4.per million opportunities. This article introduces Six Sigma and process improvement. 

    What is Six Sigma?  

    You must be wondering what is the Six Sigma process. The answer is a little technical. Let us first understand the Normal distribution curve. The Normal distribution curve or bell curve shows the probability of distribution of quantities around the median. Sigma usually signifies the variability on a bell curve. Six Sigma process improvement implies that the deviation should not be more than three Sigma on either side of the medium on a bell curve. The most optimized process is set to be the one in which there are 3.4 errors per million opportunities. This central concept of Six Sigma forms the basis of the best Six Sigma courses online

    The beauty of the Six Sigma process is that it is used as a tool, process, or even philosophy. As already stated, errors should not be more than 3.4 per million opportunities when used as a tool. When it is used as a process, two main methodologies employed are DMAIC and DMADV. When used as a philosophy, the process of production and design are optimized. Finally, process improvement Six Sigma Statistically quantifies the values that must be improved. 

    What is the six Sigma process in simple terms? It is a process that increases output efficiency and reduces variability. 

    What Are the Six Sigma Process and Six Sigma Process Improvement? 

    Before the article defines the Six Sigma process steps, it is essential to find out the six Sigma process definition. A process involves steps to complete a product or a service. Therefore, it is crucial to know the five fundamental principles of Six Sigma: 

    1. Consumer link

    The companies must establish the consumer link to retrieve data to boost efficiency. 

    2. Pinpointed problem evaluation

     The organizations need to decide what problems they must tackle first and analyze accordingly. This is one of the essential steps in using the Six Sigma principles. 

    3. Reducing variability

    The Six Sigma professional needs to quantify the variability that has to be reduced. This must be done in the shortest amount of time. 

    4. Communicating the solution

    A successful Six Sigma professional is the one who can communicate the solutions that he has come up with for the manufacturing team. The Six Sigma professional should also understand his team's problems and explain his solutions. 

    5. Feedback mechanism

    The Six Sigma professional should be able to understand the problems in his solution when the manufacturing team communicates it back to him. 

    These five principles of Six Sigma are used by using two methodologies. Some might even call them Six Sigma process improvement templates. The first one is called DMAIC, And the second is called DMADV. The Six Sigma DMAIC process is used for a new project, while DMADV is used for improving an existing project. These Six Sigma process improvement steps are the key to reducing the errors to 3.4 defects per million opportunities. 

    Another concept that blends well with Six Sigma is lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is extremely handy in a Six Sigma professional's toolkit. When combined, both methods have become a norm for finding solutions regularly in the manufacturing industry. Lean Six Sigma tools for process improvement add value for the customer and reduce waste. Six Sigma seeks to reduce process variation that leads to defects or mistakes. 

    Now let us understand these process improvement methodologies in Six Sigma. The first question is how is the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC process defined? DMAIC process is a five-step Six Sigma process improvement model. The five steps in this process are: 

    1. Define

    Six signal professionals would first find out the actual problems for the customers and in the manufacturing process. 

    2. Measure

    The Six Sigma professional will now set up the benchmark according to which the problem is quantified. 

    3. Analyze

    This is the main step of the DMAIC process. The Six Sigma professional will identify the root cause of the problem and study it carefully to find the solutions. 

    4. Improve

    The solutions found in the previous step are given to the manufacturing unit. 

    5. Control

    Once the solutions are implemented, feedback is taken to see if they are viable; if they are not, then the given solutions are improved. 

    The second methodology is DMADV. This methodology is used for designing new products and services. Only the last two steps change when you compare this to DMAIC because these two steps are related to the designing and verifying of their new product. The steps of this methodology are: 

    1. Define

    First of all, the new product or service has to be defined. 

    2. Measure

    The company’s risk and capabilities have to be measured first. 

    3. Analyze

    An analysis of customer demand and the production process required for this new product or service has to be done. 

    4. Design

    The best design would be the one that is completed in a minimum amount of time with a minimum amount of variability and error. 

    5. Verify

    An implementation of this design would be verified using consumer feedback and production process feedback. After which, DMAIC can be invoked again to improve the process. 

    After this process improvement technique of Six Sigma DMAIC is used, reducing factory defects and using handy day-to-day materials are some of the Six Sigma process improvement examples. These Lean Six Sigma process improvement tools and techniques are responsible for Lean Six Sigma business process improvement.

    Who Works on Process Improvement Projects?  

    Every process in the manufacturing industry has a lot of steps. These steps together form the process. When a Six Sigma professional works on this process to remove the redundancies and inefficiencies called process improvement, the improvement of a process does not necessarily mean an increase in production; it could also mean the wastage in the production process is reduced. 

    Product inefficiencies, errors, and defects are a big part of the production process and cause wastage of time and labor. Even if production is not increased and these errors are reduced, the efficiency of the entire manufacturing process goes up. Six Sigma techniques for process improvement are one of the most efficient ways to reduce these redundancies and wastage. In such a case, Six Sigma Process Improvement certification is the best place to start for understanding all the basics of Six Sigma because Six Sigma and process improvement go hand in hand in a manufacturing industry. 

    The Six Sigma, quality improvement process, is carried out by professionals. Therefore, the Six Sigma qualification is segmented into levels. These levels ascertain the depth of knowledge and the efficiency of a professional in reducing wastage in a process. These levels are called belts, and there are five such belts starting from the white belt, which gives you the basic knowledge, and ending at the master black belt, which gives you the in-depth knowledge of Six Sigma.

    These belts are: 

    1. White belt

    Here, you will find the fundamental knowledge of six Sigma. 

    2. Yellow belt

    This certification deals with a few more basic concepts of Six Sigma. 

    3. Green belt

     A Green Belt has enough knowledge to help as an assistant in a smaller project. 

    4. Black belt

    A black belt can manage smaller projects on their own, and they can also assist a Master Black Belt in a larger project. 

    5. Master black belt

    This is the highest Six Sigma level. A master Black Belt leads projects and can train people under them.

    When you qualify for the green belt, you can assist in smaller projects; that is where your journey as a professional starts. Lean Six Sigma Green Belt classes pave the way to starting your career as a Six Sigma professional.

    Enhance your project time management skills with our project manager courses online. Gain expertise to lead successful projects and boost your career growth.

    Who Manages Process Improvements? 

    Process improvement is managed by a Master Black Belt In Six Sigma. Project managers who have a Master Black Belt are usually responsible for process improvement Lean Six Sigma application to a manufacturing process. 

    A Six Sigma Professional can quantify the errors in the manufacturing process. Understanding customer feedback is one of the most important qualities of a Six Sigma professional. Beyond that, Six Sigma professional needs to be ruthless in reducing wastage. Sigma process improvement should be chosen when the process can be quantified. The Master Black belt will have the Six Sigma process improvement tools the work on the quantified problems. 

    However, there is some liability for the Six Sigma process. In the Six Sigma business process, the advocates of Six Sigma sometimes fail to see its criticisms. The human factor plays a huge role in the efficiency of any process. Some experts have called out the lack of originality in this process. Sometimes the Master Black Belt Six Sigma professional is just that and is not familiar with the manufacturing process, which can cause redundancies in his understanding. Even though Six Sigma tools for process improvement should be a dynamic process, sometimes, due to the use of statistics, there comes into play some rigidity. 

    Working On a Process vs In a Process  

    There is a vast difference between working on a process and working in a process. A person working in a process should have the entire knowledge of the production process, but a person working on a process need not have the entire working knowledge of the production process. Six Sigma in business process management does not require complete knowledge of the depth of the production process. Instead, the Six Sigma problem-solving process expert works on continuous improvement of the process. 

    Starting with online courses is always a good idea to become such an expert. For example, the KnowledgeHut best Six Sigma course online has proven to be one of the best sources to understand the basics and delve into the fundamentals of Lean Six Sigma. 


    Lean Six Sigma process steps are the best ways to optimize your manufacturing process. By combining lean manufacturing and Six Sigma, you can tackle the issues of defects and understand customer behavior. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What are the five steps of the Six Sigma improvement model?

    The five-step process is DMAIC, i.e., Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. 

    2What is the Six Sigma process?

    Deviation from mean is called Sigma. If the error has to be kept at 3.4 per million opportunities, then the deviation from the mean on either side should be three Sigma.

    3Is Six Sigma a process improvement tool?

    Yes, DMAIC is a process improvement tool that can improve the efficiency of existing processes. 

    4What is an example of Six Sigma?

    Some examples of Six Sigma are reducing waste in the production process, saving resources, and reducing defects.

    5What are the key elements of Six Sigma?

    Pinpointed problem evaluation, Customer link, Reducing variability, Dynamic approach, and Implementing the solution are the key elements of Six Sigma. 

    6What is the purpose of Six Sigma?

    The purpose of Six Sigma is to reduce variability and defects in a production process in the shortest amount of time. 


    Mounika Narang


    Mounika Narang is a project manager having a specialisation in IT project management and Instructional Design. She has an experience of 10 years 
    working with Fortune 500 companies to solve their most important development challenges. She lives in Bangalore with her family.

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