23 Jun 2018Posted By: Mudit Handa

How does Six Sigma Principle help in advancement of ISO 9001 QMS in an organization?

It is quite evident that the ISO 9001 has set out all explicit directives as to develop integrated methodologies for prudent strategic management and unhindered development of a prevailing Quality Management System in any organization.

Undoubtedly, every business entity comes across innumerable technical tailbacks and procedural holdups during the course of ISO standards. In the manufacturing sector, a slightest of a technical glitch can severely hinder the entire operation of a production or processing unit.

As to efficiently cope with such hitches and avoid a functional impasse, there is a doctrine known far and wide as Six Sigma (6Σ) Principle.

With a far-fetched goal of optimisation of QMS, it trails on the path of failure reduction and restriction of variability in any production process.


Before we go deep into the complete methodology of this strategy, we must learn about the fundamentals of the six sigma doctrine.


#1. What is all about the 6Σ Principle?

The Six Sigma is a comprehensive production enhancement approach that seeks to emphasize the enhancement of quality management system by enumeration and measurement of all the defects that are existing in a project, process or a product and systematically do away with them until the stage where there are almost zero defects.


#2. When did the concept of Six Sigma came into being?


The term “Six Sigma” was coined in 1984 by Bill Smith, an engineer from Motorola.  


#3. How does 6Σ Principle work for quality management?

As the central dogma of statistical quality control, Six Sigma principle works on the data-driven management methodology. It suggests evaluation of a manufacturing process with a ‘sigma’ (σ) rating, which denotes its productivity or the percentage of seamless products it yields. The pace of improvement is ascertained by tabulation of defect-free products into 6 stages as shown below-


The objective of six sigma process is to attain the stage where 99.99966% of all instances of production are deemed to be defect-free. Statistically, the favourable stage is where there are 3.4 defects per million opportunities.


#4. How successfully has been Six Sigma implemented in Motorola?

The six sigma model implemented at Motorola in the early 1980s had impacted in remarkable cyclical improvement and soon the company witnessed a drop in manufacturing defects to the level of 3.4 per million opportunities (in the early 1990s).


#5. How can ISO 9001 and Six Sigma implement together in an organization?


Broadly, requirements of ISO 9001:2015 are as follows:

  • Defining of information needs of QMS
  • Gathering QMS data
  • Providing quality management information
  • Enhancing the QMS

To address these, Six Sigma highlights several tools-

  • CRM dashboards to indicate performance and to supervise all processes at all relevant managerial levels
  • Defining operational roles to specify the procedure, duration, location for data collection
  • Display of conclusions and tests to validate the significance of these conclusions
  • Define Measure Analyze Improve & Control (DMAIC) strategy for improvement at various project levels


#6. What are the benefits of integrating ISO certification 9001 and Six Sigma?


The goal of ISO 9001 is to evaluate corporations on the basis of external and internal requirements and to fill the loopholes on the long-term basis. Thus,

  • Aligning Six Sigma requirements to that of ISO 9001:2015, and making it a part of its QMS can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a process throughout the production.
  • Aligning ISO certification with Six Sigma can raise the credibility level of the ISO 9001 QMS.
  • By and large, it leads to sustainability of the Six Sigma.
  • It can also save resources & investments. The strategy was employed in many renowned organisations of today’s age, and it yielded noteworthy results in this respect.


#7. What are the instances where Six Sigma has helped in savings in revenue?


For instance, it was employed by Jack Welch in General Electric as a central business strategy in 1995. In 1998, GE attributed their $350 million savings to significant work culture improvement through Six Sigma, which they illustrated as below-


Similarly, Motorola accredited their savings of $17 billion in 2005 to this strategy.


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