Six Sigma (1) a data-driven method for improving business and quality performance, has been published as a two-part ISO standard.
Six Sigma was originally developed by Motorola in 1986 to ameliorate manufacturing processes with the goal of 99.99966% (2) of products free of defects (i.e., 3.4 errors per million). Today, the methodology is applied in many sectors of activity by organizations large and small for all types of process and services to:
“Six Sigma can be used to effectively address serious chronic business issues,” says Dr. Michèle Boulanger, President of JISC-Statistics and co-chair of the subcommittee that developed the standard, “Organizations can deploy Six Sigma projects to increase customer satisfaction and become more competitive.”
“Although Six Sigma has existed for some time, bringing its best practice together under an ISO standard helps solidify and consolidate the methodology. The ISO brand is respected and recognized worldwide, and thus provides an added layer of confidence. Moreover, publication of Six Sigma methodology in an ISO standard will boost international uptake of the methodology in a coherent form, reduce fragmentation, and provide users with harmonized best practice,” concluded Dr. Boulanger.
Six Sigma projects follow a defined sequence of steps with quantified goals and financial targets (cost reduction and/or profit increase), and rely on statistical tools to deal with uncertainty. Implementation involves the establishment of an infrastructure with specific roles and responsibilities (e.g. black or green belts). The new standard, ISO 13053:2011, Quantitative methods in process improvement – Six Sigma, deals exclusively with the application of Six Sigma to ameliorate existing processes and is published in the following two parts:
Both documents can be applied to all sectors and organizations.
ISO 13053 Part 1 and Part 2 were compiled by technical committee ISO/TC 69, Applications of statistical methods, subcommittee SC 7, Application of statistical and related techniques for the implementation of Six Sigma.
ISO 13053-1:2011, Quantitative methods in process improvement – Six Sigma – Part 1: DMAIC methodology, and ISO 13053-2:2011, Quantitative methods in process improvement – Six Sigma – Part 2: Tools and techniques, is available from ISO national member institutes (see thecomplete list with contact details).