Chapter 1

Introduction

Six Sigma is a strategic approach that works across all processes, products and industries.

(Snee, 2004, p. 8)

Overview

In an overview of Six Sigma, Montgomery and Woodall (2008) state:

Six Sigma is a disciplined, project-oriented, statistically based approach for reducing variability, removing defects, and eliminating waste from products, processes, and transactions. The Six Sigma initiative is a major force in today's business world for quality and business improvement. Statistical methods and statisticians have a fundamental role to play in this process.

This book is about the understanding and implementation of statistical methods fundamental to the Six Sigma and other approaches to the continuous improvement of products, processes and services. Release 16 of the widely used statistics package Minitab is used throughout. Mindful that in the vast majority of situations those applying statistical methods in quality improvement and Six Sigma are not statisticians, information on the implementation of each method covered will be preceded by some background explanation, typically employing small data sets. The role of each method within the define–measure–analyse–improve–control (DMAIC) framework of Six Sigma will be highlighted.

This chapter deals with quality and quality improvement and in particular with the highly successful Six Sigma approach to quality improvement. It describes the role of statistical methods in quality improvement and Six Sigma and ...

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