The History and Role of Six Sigma and Lean in the Manufacturing Environment

The History and Role of Six Sigma and Lean in the Manufacturing Environment

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The human race has made leaps and bounds in manufacturing of goods needed not only to survive, but to make our lives easier and more efficient. From the earliest recorded history, man has made the tools he needed to survive or gain a completive advantage. In the not too distant past, 100 years or so, we had skilled craftsman who had specific skills and talents. In a small town you would have a blacksmith, a tailor, a farmer, etc. Each of these people learned their skills through years of apprenticeships, and the items they made were unique. Their processes often took months or even years to complete. Since these times we as a society have progressed from craftsmanship to assembly lines. Even now we have robotic manufacturing, replacing humans and increasing safety and productivity.
We have not yet eliminated man from the manufacturing environment and corporations are always looking to achieve a greater bottom line. Six Sigma, which is statistical process control (SPC) and Lean Manufacturing which focuses on reducing waste, have helped to achieve this goal.
We will look at the origins of these two tools, the first companies to employ them, the theory behind each, and the future roll they will play in how we produce the products of our everyday world.
In order to understand the concepts of Six Sigma, some terminology must be known. Therefore a list of terms commonly associated with Six Sigma are provided:
- Sigma – A statistical term used to represent one standard deviation. (“Six Sigma Basics”)
- Standard Deviation – A measure of variation in a given set of data. (“Six Sigma Basics”)
- Defect – A non-conformity present in the output that falls beyond the satisfactory customer limits. (“Six Sigma Basics”)
- DPMO – Def...

... middle of paper ...

...ties to Six Sigma. Black Belts apply the methods and tools of Six Sigma, often working on several projects at one time. Their primary role is the execution of the Six Sigma project. Finally there are the Master Black Belts who are experts on everything Six Sigma. They act as the teachers and guides for Black and Green belts. They work with top management and all departments throughout an organization to define their roles and responsibilities. (“Six Sigma Basics”).
Six Sigma, in practice, has the core methodology of DMAIC. DMAIC is an acronym for Define opportunity, Measure Performance, Analyze Opportunity, Improve Performance, and Control Performance.

Works Cited

1.) Akpose, Wole, Dr. "A History of Six Sigma." A History of Six Sigma. IEEE, Dec. 2010. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.

2.) "Six Sigma Basics." Six Sigma Basics. RuralTech Services, 2012. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.

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