Six Sigma

Six Sigma written on paper

Six sigma is about quality and metrics and teams. Defined mathematically, six sigma means less that 3.4 defects per million. Consider whether that is 3.4 defects per million defects in a gene sequence, or 3.4 irregular beats per million heartbeats or 3.4 defective pixels per million in a flat panel display, or 3.4 defects in one million prescriptions and you can readily see that six sigma has real implications in daily life. Think of it through this illustration: “A 1920×1080 resolution screen (standard TV and computer monitor) has just over 2 million pixels, and 7 defective pixels on such a screen would be very noticeable and would be treated as a defective product within the warranty replacement guidelines of every monitor warranty I’ve seen. 3.4 out of 1,000,000 isn’t a lot, but it sure looks like it when there’s a bright backlight behind it, illuminating every flaw in stark contrast.”

Six sigma methodology helps to reduce defects and improve quality. People who are passionate about quality join ASQ, the American Society for Quality. ASQ Membership dues begin well below $100 at the student level and are available to individuals and organizations.

Six sigma training courses are offered  by the American Society for Quality throughout the year as self paced, web based or classroom courses. The introduction to Six Sigma web-based course costs $200, though ASQ members get a discount. There are special versions of the introduction to six sigma courses for services, financial services and healthcare. ASQ offers a wide variety of other courses as well.

ANSI offers standards for six sigma as well as the full collection of quality standards from ASQ. They cover sampling methods, process improvement, and other aspects of quality management. ISO Quality Management Standards available through the ANSI webstore and six sigma standards from ISO and BSI address a wide range of quality management topics across a wide range of businesses.

ASQ is an ANSI accredited standards developing organization.

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