History of six sigma

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Business ・APA ・10 Sources

This essay provides a brief overview of Six Sigma's past. In addition, it explains the DMAIC process. Additionally, the paper also discusses the benefits and applicability of the Six Sigma.

One can trace Carl Friedrich Gauss' contributions to the Six Sigma movement as a measurement standard. The introduction of the normal curve idea was greatly aided by this individual, Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855). Six Sigma dates back to the 1920s and is a recognized method of calculating the product's variance (Azis & Osada, 2010). Walter Shewhart was able to demonstrate, during this period, that the process is the three Sigma. Subsequently, several standards of measurements such as Zero Defects among others were introduced on the scene. However, the credit for coining the “Six Sigma” term still goes to Bill Smith, a Motorola engineer (Gray & Anantatmula, 2009). Incidentally, Motorola uses the term Six Sigma as its federally registered trademark.

In the mid and early 1980s with Bob Galvin as the chairman at the helm, engineers of Motorola concluded that the traditional levels of quality such as the defects of measurements in several opportunities failed to provide enough granularity (Chiarini, 2011). These engineers instead wanted to be involved in the measurement of such defects per million opportunities. As a consequence, Motorola decided to develop the new standard and created both the needed cultural change and the methodology that associates with the process (Senthilkumar & Raffie, 2016). Motorola company found the use of Six Sigma helpful especially in the realization of the powerful bottom-line results in such organization (Hoerl & Gardner, 2010). As a result of the efforts of the Six Sigma, these engineers further documented more than sixteen billion US dollars in saving.
Since then, the Six Sigma has been adopted by tens of thousands of various companies globally as a way of doing their business. Evidently, such adoption represents a direct result of the many leaders of Americans who openly praise the Six Sigma’s benefits. Some of the beneficiaries of the Six Sigma include leaders such as Jack Welch of General Electric firm and Larry Bossidy of the Allied Signal (Azis & Osada, 2010). Remember, the Allied signal changed its name to Honeywell. Some people argue that Jack and Larry decided to play golf one day. In their process of playing, Jack bet Larry that his method of implementing the Six Sigma would be much faster (Nicoletti, 2013). In effect, he was sure of getting more significant results at GE compared to his friend Larry.

Six Sigma has been evolving with time. Practically, it is more than a system of quality such as ISO and TQM. In short, Six Sigma is one of the best ways of doing business (Senthilkumar & Raffie, 2016). Undoubtedly, it is possible to see Six Sigma as a philosophy, vision, and even a symbol for developing any business (Franchetti & Barnala, 2013). It also helps in setting some goals as well as the methodology for any organization.

Description of the Process of DMAIC

DMAIC stands for D-define, M-measure, and I-improve. Finally, C-denotes Control. DMAIC refers to a circle of driving data improvement used for the optimization and stabilizing the process of business and designs (Ray & Das, 2010). The process of DMAIC cycle of development is the critical tool used for driving the projects of Six Sigma. Nonetheless, there is no exclusion of DMAIC to Six Sigma alone. For this reason, it can be utilized as the framework to improve other applications (Chakraborty & Chuan, 2013). All the steps of the DMAIC are always necessary.


This process mainly helps in the clear articulation of the business problem. It also helps in determining the potential resources, goal, and the scope of the project as well as the project’s high-level timeline (Gibbons & Burgess, 2010). Typically, such information is captured within the document of the project charter.


This step aims to establish some current baselines for improving the business (Chiarini, 2011). Basically, it is the step for collecting data with the aim of establishing the baseline of process performance. Here, the team is provided with an opportunity of deciding on what should be measured and the best method for taking such measurements.


This process helps in identifying, validating and selecting some of the cause for elimination. Both analysis and root causes are used to identify a large number of possible process inputs. In this step, the plan for collecting data is created (Hoerl & Gardner, 2010). Moreover, the relative contribution is established after collecting the data of each of the project metric’s root causes.


This step helps in the identification, testing, as well as implementing a solution to the problem, either in whole or in part. However, the process largely depends on the situation (Ray & Das, 2010). Complex analysis tools such as the design of experiment (DOE) can be utilized by some projects (Franchetti & Barnala, 2013). Additionally, the process of "Improve" can also be used for finding solutions to various problems such as the use of PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act).


The process of “Control” helps in sustaining the gains. It also applied in monitoring the improvements for ensuring the sustainable and continued success of any organization. A control plan is created before updating the records as required (Gibbons & Burgess, 2010). In most cases, the Control stage uses a chart for assessing the improvements stability over time by providing a plan of response for each of the monitored measurements.

The Advantages and Applicability of Six Sigma

Applications of Six Sigma

Predominantly, the methodology of Six Sigma is used for getting rid of defects as well as improving the efficiency of operations. Its main aim is to reduce various defects by minimizing multiple inset processes. Ultimately, such reduction in defects results in the improvement of efficiency. In some cases, the variations in the process fail to result in the identification of the defects (Chakraborty & Chuan, 2013). Most importantly, the methodology of Six Sigma is combined with the Lean approach for making the defects identification much easier. The Six Sigma helps in providing creative ways to solve real-life issues (Nicoletti, 2013). As a result, it gives better and newer perspective of looking at various topics as well as providing different and improved ways of solving such problems.

Advantages of Six Sigma

Compared to other approaches to quality control, the main advantage of Six Sigma is the fact that it is customer driven. It helps in addressing the whole process behind the completion of a service or a production of an item, rather than simply the outcome (Gray & Anantatmula, 2009). Additionally, Six Sigma sets out for the determination of the best ways for improvements even before finding the shortcomings or defects. Rather than being reactive, Six Sigma is proactive.


In summary, this paper has clearly explored the history of Six Sigma effectively. Again, all the process of the DMAIC has also been explained. It is noted that Six Sigma has several advantages hence making it widely applicable in various sectors.


Azis, Y., & Osada, H. (2010). Innovation in management system by Six Sigma: an empirical study of world‐class companies. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 1(3), 172-190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20401461011074991

Chakraborty, A., & Kay Chuan, T. (2013). An empirical analysis of Six Sigma implementation in service organizations. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 4(2), 141-170. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20401461311319338

Chiarini, A. (2011). Japanese total quality control, TQM, Deming's system of profound knowledge, BPR, Lean and Six Sigma. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 2(4), 332-355. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20401461111189425

Franchetti, M., & Barnala, P. (2013). Lean Six Sigma at a material recovery facility: a case study. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 4(3), 251-264. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/ijlss-05-2013-0026

Gibbons, P., & Burgess, S. (2010). Introducing OEE as a measure of Lean Six Sigma capability. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 1(2), 134-156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20401461011049511

Gray, J., & Anantatmula, V. (2009). Managing Six Sigma projects through the integration of Six Sigma and project management processes. International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage, 5(2), 127. http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/ijssca.2009.025165

Hoerl, R., & Gardner, M. (2010). Lean Six Sigma, creativity, and innovation. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 1(1), 30-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20401461011033149

Nicoletti, B. (2013). Lean Six Sigma and digitize procurement. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 4(2), 184-203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20401461311319356

Ray, S., & Das, P. (2010). Six Sigma project selection methodology. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 1(4), 293-309. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20401461011096078

Senthilkumar, D., & Raffie, B. (2016). Six Sigma Single Sampling Variables Plan Indexed by Six Sigma AQL and Six Sigma AOQL. International Journal of Innovative Research in Engineering & Management, 3(6), 482-489. http://dx.doi.org/10.21276/ijirem.2016.3.6.6

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