In search of finding ways to improve their manufacturing processes or any type of input/output procedures, large companies are investing lots of time and money into a recently developed practice known as Six Sigma. Six Sigma is an odd term to most people, but to mathematicians the Sigma' is a Greek alphabet letter meaning "the sum." In terms of Six Sigma, the sigma refers to standard deviation for statistics, which is used to determine by how much a process differs from perfection. This relates to Six Sigma because the goal of the methodology is to achieve perfection in terms of time and material efficiency.
Six Sigma practice was developed in 1994 by Motorola as a way to improve overall performance. Motorola successfully reduced manufacturing costs by $1.5 billion after one year by better meeting customer expectations, managing materials, and improving their manufacturing processes. By 1996 its bottom line alone had taken an increase of $1.4 billion.
As a matter of fact, the implementation of Six Sigma in the past ten years has decreased costs and increased efficiency, revenue, and product quality for those using it. Six Sigma aims toward developing a customer's product as close to perfection in perspective of the consumer, as possible. This is accomplished through a 5-step process, much of the time labeled with the acronym DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control).
This is done first through collecting and analyzing data and statistical information regarding the processes, materials, timeline, scrap, and customer expectations. This is the "Define" process. "Measure" refers to how the company will determine it's improvement over time. The "Analyze" step presents the idea of constantly collecting data and placing it against the measurement standards defined by the company. "Improve" is exactly as it suggests; based on the collected data, find weak areas and set goals to improve them. Lastly is control. Not...