Motorola developed Six Sigma in 1986 to provide techniques and tools for process improvement. It subsequently used Six Sigma in all of its manufacturing operations. The name comes from the world of statistical modeling, where “sigma” denotes a measure of deviation. “Six sigma” indicated a process that produces only 3.4 defective parts per million and has since come to symbolize any system that strives for and achieves near perfection.
In the United States, General Electric famously adopted Six Sigma in 1995 and, today, the process is used by many manufacturers, having eventually evolved into the managerial concept of “Lean Six Sigma.”
Originally published in Seattle Business magazine on August 20, 2014.
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