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Overview of Lean Six Sigma - Top 5 Principles, Characteristics, Features, Benefits

Manish Rathi

Manish Rathi

Last updated 10/01/2024

Overview of Lean Six Sigma - Top 5 Principles, Characteristics, Features, Benefits

Six Sigma refers to the statistical measure of how far the procedure deviates from perfection. The procedure that works at Six Sigma has a failure rate of only around 0.000034%, which implies that it produces virtually no defects. Six Sigma is a set of methodologies and tools that are used to enhance business procedures by decreasing defects and errors, reducing variations, and increasing quality and efficiency. Let’s, get the six-sigma overview for more understanding.

The main aim of Six Sigma is to gain the level of quality achieved by using the structured approach known as DMAIC. It stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control, which is used to analyze and reduce the causes of variations and improve the procedure. Explore our How Can You Pass Your Lean Six Sigma Certification Exam In The First Attempt?, it will help you to understand how you should prepare yourself for the certification.

It's the disciplined demand method that makes use of a statistical data-driven approach and continues enhancement to reduce defects in the product, procedure, and service. Make sure to explore the benefits of six sigma, it will help you to understand different approaches of it.

History of Six Sigma

It's the methodology that began in 1979, wherein Mikel Harry and Bill Smith played an essential role in the evolution of Six Sigma Technology.

Six Sigma was first implemented by Motorola and helped them win the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. It became more popular when General Electric achieved excellence in business by applying the Six Sigma Methodology in the early 1990s. To date, numerous businesses around the globe have adopted Sigma as a way of doing business.

Principles of Six Sigma:

Six Sigma has a communal and straightforward goal, which is delivering near-perfect goods and services for business transformation for optimal customer satisfaction, which stands for CX. Goals are gained with the help of two-pronged approaches known as identification of the problem and solving the problem.

The following are the major principles of Six Sigma:

  • Concentration on the consumer:

It is totally based on the widespread belief that the consumer is the king. The main goal is to bring maximum advantage to the consumer. For this, companies need to understand their consumers, their requirements and what drives sales or loyalty towards business. It also requires developing the standard of quality as defined by what the consumer or market demands.

  • Measure the value stream and find your issue:

Here, mapping the steps in the provided procedure to determine areas of waste. Collect data to discover the specific problem area that is set to be addressed or transformed. It is having clearly defined aims or goals for data collection, such as defining the data to be collected, the reason for the data gathering, insights expected, ensuring the accuracy of measurements and developing the standardized data collection system.

Ascertain if the data supports the goals, whether or not the data required to be redefined or any other information collected. Here, it's essential to identify the issue and ask questions to get the root cause.

  • Reduce the Junk:

Once the issue has been identified, make sure to allow changes in the procedures to reduce the variations to remove the defects. Remove the different activities in the procedure that don't add consumer value. If the value stream doesn't reveal where the issue lies, tools are used to discover the outliners and problem areas. Streamline functions to gain quality control and efficiency. In the end, by taking out the junk mentioned above, bottlenecks in the procedure are removed.

  • Keep the ball rolling:

Include all stakeholders and adopt the structured procedure where your team contributes and collaborates their variants of expertise skills for problem-solving. Six Sigma processes can have a significant impact on the business, so the team has to be proficient in the principles and methodologies used. Therefore, specialized training and knowledge are required to decrease the risk of project or redesign failures, which is the procedure performed optimally.

  • Ensure a flexible and responsive ecosystem:

The essence of Six Sigma is business transformation and change. When the faulty or inefficient procedure is removed, it is known for the change in the work practice and employee approach. The robust environment of flexibility and responsiveness to changes in processes can ensure streamlined project implementation.

The individuals and departments included should need to adapt to change with ease, so to facilitate this, processes should be designed for fast and seamless adoption. So, the business that has an eye fixed on the data identifies the bottom line periodically, adjusts the procedure where necessary, and can gain a competitive edge. There are the top 5 lean six sigma principles.

Six Sigma Characteristics You Should Explore

  • Data-Driven Approach:

    The concept of Six Sigma, if appropriately developed, could help significantly decrease defects and enhance efficiency. The Six Sigma quality enhancement techniques are based on sound reasoning and make use of statistical tools to gain accurate outcomes.

Usually, the data-driven approach has the main aim of decreasing dependency on human experiences, which proves disastrous, especially when managing complex business-related procedures with multiple sub-processes.

  • Focus on consumer satisfaction.

    The communal goal of Six Sigma is to understand and fulfill consumer requirements by providing high-quality products and services.
  • Procedure enhancement methodology:

    Six Sigma follows the structured problem-solving methodology, often DMIAC, to analyze and identify the defects in the procedures.
  • Emphasis on continuous enhancements:

    Six Sigma promotes a culture of continuous enhancement, motivating businesses to constantly look for different ways to improve efficiency, decrease waste, and optimize procedures.
  • Concentration on leadership and teamwork:

    Six Sigma emphasizes the involvement of leadership and the collaboration of cross-functional teams to drive change, develop enhancements, and sustain results.

The success of a Six Sigma implementation project depends heavily on the level of support provided by top management. Resources, effort, and time are crucial to the success of an organization's quality improvement efforts, which require commitment and support. Teams working on Six Sigma projects cannot be laid back when implementing them in an organization. Obviously, if the teams are focused, they will perform well.

Main Concepts in the Six Sigma

  • DPMO (Defects Per Million Opportunities)

DPMO, alternatively referred to as NPMO, is a quality management metric within the Six Sigma framework. It represents defects per million opportunities, with NPMO denoting nonconformities per million opportunities. This metric is calculated by dividing the number of defects in a sample by the total number of defect opportunities and then multiplying the result by 1 million.

  • Critical to Quality

Critical to quality is the major concepts in Six Sigma approaches due to quality can affect the whole business objective or aim. Critical to quality elaborates the measurements and characteristics of the product and service which must match the consumer’s requirement of product and service.

  • Defect

The defect is known as failure in product or service characteristics which are completely failure of the product or procedure. They are major component of Six sigma program because they point to the problem which requires to be solved.

  • Process Capability

Process Capability known as the ability of your business procedures to produce or deliver the service which fulfils the consumer demands.

  • Variation

It’s the term which is bit different in Six Sigma approach, here variations elaborates the delivering service and product, the control person can successfully measure the difference between the what consumer sees and why they actual feel after acceptance of product and service.

  • Stable Operations

It shows that not only the stabilizing the procedure but businesses have to ensure that the procedure of business in consistent to decrease the gap between what consumer sees and feels.

Consumer and Product Driven Features of Six Sigma Methodology

Six sigma is designed to avoid waste and in effectiveness, thereby increasing consumer satisfaction through delivering what the consumer in really expecting.

It is strictly structured and disciplined methodology, which is the specific for the participants.

Its statistical data driven methodology which needs accurate and error-less data to perfectly analyse the progress.

It’s not just about the enhancing quality and increase the sale. Also, it’s about changing outcomes in the financial statements also.

With the help of six sigma in your business you can successfully achieve the following milestones:

  • Improving Process
  • Lowering Defects
  • Increased Profit
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction
  • Reducing Costs
  • Reducing Process Variability

Make sure to understand is, Six Sigma methodologies totally revolves around one main cycle called DMAIC.

In-Depth Elaboration of DMAIC

DMAIC is the data-driven quality strategy that is mainly used for the identification of opportunities in the procedure to make improvements and reduce errors and defects.

  • Define:

Here, you can define the different opportunities you are looking for or any issue you are trying to solve.

  • Measure performance:

This is a crucial step for professionals who are looking out for opportunities to enhance the service, product and process. It’s the critical factor, and it must be accurate because you are trying to develop a solution on the basis of that measurement.

  • Analyse opportunities:

Here, the team needs to analyse what is causing the issue and where there will be the opportunity to enhance the procedure service quality co, st or product. The team should need to develop a hypothesis according to findings and outcomes as well as define and then work to prove the hypothesis. In this step, mostly experienced and Six Sigma Green belt certified persons analyse. After developing a hypothesis based on the findings and results, the teams must prove or disprove the hypothesis.

  • Improve performance:

Once the solution is developed into the procedure, then the teams have to concentrate on the factors that are crucial for enhancing the procedure, service, or product. Here, the team needs to collect the data to check if there is a measurable enhancement or not. If yes, then the team will follow the processes as a core process.

  • Control performance:

In this step, the team have to control the procedure and sustain the changes and enhancements they made in the procedure and service. It’s an essential activity needed by the business because sustaining the improved procedure is essential to maintaining the service quality.

How is Six Sigma Beneficial for your Organization?

  • Reducing Waste:

Minimizing delays and operational costs is crucial to eliminate waste in business. Six Sigma aims to enhance productivity by producing more goods with fewer inputs and optimizing the use of time, space, effort, resources, and energy.

  • Improving Time Management:

Effective time management is vital in business, as every minute directly impacts financial outcomes. Six Sigma implementation has demonstrated success in helping employees better manage their time, leading to increased overall business productivity. Employees set and work towards achieving specific goals during the application of Six Sigma principles.

  • Increasing Customer Loyalty:

In a market with diverse products and services, customer expectations are high. Six Sigma is essential in achieving the goal of enhancing customer loyalty and satisfaction. By implementing Six Sigma processes and policies, organizations actively use customer feedback to address quality issues until customer satisfaction is achieved, setting them apart from competitors.

Beside this check Will Six Sigma Framework Helps Startups? To get to know Six Sigma’s working approach for business.

Benefits of Six Sigma Certification

  • Enhanced Productivity:

Facing space constraints for manufacturing new products, Allen Medical utilized DMAIC methodology and lean tools to enhance the production efficiency of Arm boards. Through their revised approach, they achieved an average time savings of 45 seconds per arm board, elevating the production rate from 5.3 to slightly over six arm boards per hour.

  • Cost Reduction style="list-style: disc;":

The reduction of defects serves to minimize wastage, leading to lower production costs and increased profitability. Failing to deliver a high-quality product can incur significant expenses. Producing a subpar product or service can substantially decrease its overall cost, representing the genuine cost of quality.

  • Increased Client Confidence in Your Business:

The implementation of Six Sigma aids in streamlining processes and elevating customer satisfaction. For example, Citibank applied the cross-functional process mapping (CFPM) methodology to pinpoint inefficient steps in their processes and rectify them, resulting in noteworthy improvements in customer satisfaction levels.

  • Enhanced Employment Opportunities

Acquiring certification sets you apart from potential employers by showcasing your expertise in areas such as cost reduction, revenue enhancement, leadership, and quality control. Given the versatility of Six Sigma skills across various industries, possessing and demonstrating these skills can make you eligible for a diverse range of positions.

  • Progression into Management Positions

Engaging in the Six Sigma certification process enhances your abilities in management, leadership, risk assessment, finance, and team building, qualities highly valued in managerial roles. Advancing through different Six Sigma belt levels can enhance your capacity to oversee more significant projects and lead teams effectively.

  • Increased Salary Expectations

Securing Six Sigma certification can empower you to negotiate a higher salary in your current role or qualify you for more lucrative positions. This certification serves as evidence of your capability to handle increased responsibilities and work more efficiently. Salary increments will vary based on factors such as your experience, certification level, employer, and geographical location.


Seeking a Six Sigma certification can offer a range of advantages for individuals looking to advance their careers in quality management and process improvement. Obtaining benefits of six sigma and its certification offers many benefits, including increased employment opportunities, higher earnings potential, enhanced problem-solving skills, more vital leadership skills, and increased ability to influence organizational change, as elaborated in the above details.

These perks result from the extensive knowledge and skill set acquired through advantages of six sigma, its training, providing individuals with the necessary tools and methodologies to identify and rectify defects, optimize processes, and yield exceptional outcomes.

By securing a Six Sigma certification, professionals position themselves as valuable assets in the competitive job market, making substantial contributions to their organizations' success. Explore our Top 5 Reasons You Should Choose Six Sigma Certification to understand the rapidly increasingly demand.

Through above in-detailed information you will get to know the different objectives of six sigma. An investment in a Six Sigma certification can open up numerous opportunities for career development and advancement, whether you're a quality professional or someone looking to get into the field.

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About Author

Manish has more than 13 yrs of experience in IT Industry and has worked as ITIL Head with expertise in the areas like Enterprise IT Transformation, ITSM, SIAM, Blockchain.



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