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Siemens Digital Industries Software Six Sigma in Manufacturing
Six sigma in manufacturing is a process improvement method that helps to minimize waste and produce goods more efficiently. Created in the 1980s by Motorola engineer Bill Smith, six sigma derives its name from standard deviation (typically represented by the Greek letter sigma, σ). The goal of six sigma initiatives is to reduce variation to the point that defects are counted in the parts per million.
Six sigma in manufacturing is often closely associated with lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing and six sigma initiatives both seek to improve quality and efficiency by eliminating manufacturing defects and waste.
The approach taken in six sigma manufacturing differs from that taken in lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing uses a five-step process to create continuous improvement:
Six sigma in manufacturing focuses on eliminating variation, which results in reduced costs and greater customer satisfaction. The starting point with six sigma is the customer’s experience, and the methodology is data-driven.
Replacing the five steps of lean manufacturing initiatives, six sigma initiatives involve the following seven steps:
A manufacturing operations management system (MOM) [link to glossary page] incorporates six sigma software and/or the six sigma methodology. Six sigma software may employ the steps outlined above or what has become known as the DMAIC method: define, measure, analyze, improve, control. By ferreting out inefficiencies and improving manufacturing productivity and outcomes, six sigma software provides a well-defined means to closed-loop continuous process improvement.