What is a Six Sigma Analysis?

A Six Sigma Analysis is a quality-control methodology developed by the engineers of Motorola in 1986. It is a data-driven analysis used in order to decrease faults or shortcomings in a business or production process. Fundamentally, Six Sigma Analysis includes gathering and leveraging data for getting rid of waste and faults in manufacturing. The final aim of this analysis is to improve the efficiency and quality levels. Now, the term “sigma” is a capacity of how distant from ideal a system or manufacturer can get. When manufacturing at Six Sigma levels, the number of defects should be below 3.4 per 1 million units produced.

Steps in Six Sigma Analysis

Over the years the idea of Six Sigma Analysis has been polished into a suitable theory of values and methods that are intended for organizational transformation by using a well-defined process. The Six Sigma steps for process improvement, also referred to as DMAIC which is short for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, are fairly direct and straightforward. It is important to understand that in Six Sigma a data-driven management process is used to improve and optimize business processes. The basic structure is strongly centered around customer focus and use of statistics.

Following we will look at each of the 5 steps within the DMIAC process.


The first step ‘Define’ is a completely customer-focused approach since the main step at this point is defining business problem from the customer’s point of view of. Afterwards, the second part is goal setting for instance what would we like to accomplish? What are the resources considered necessary for our organization that can be used to achieve these goals? After that the next part is to map out the process. At this point, organizations must keep in mind that it is vital to confirm with the stakeholders with the purpose of ensuring that we are heading in the right direction.


The second step is ‘Measure’ the current process. Here the data is recorded on existing performance and issues. At this step we make sure that the data is trustworthy, and renew the project charter as required. This step of Six Sigma Analysis focuses on the project metrics together with the instruments used in the measurement. Such as by what means we can quantify it? In which way we can improve it?


The third step is ‘Analyze’ the cause of problems. During this step we check the collected process and data, show the data, explore and verify what the root cause of the issues is, and go on with updating the project agreement as considered necessary.


Furthermore, the fourth step is ‘Improve’ where we agree on solutions to fix problems and form process maps for the new proposed solutions. At this point, organization will need to take necessary steps for implementing the new solutions and maintain them to measure improvement.


The last and fifth step is ‘Control’ where we evaluate the performance objective categorized in the previous step. During this step we improve the new process, keep on monitoring, and if possible, use results for another place in the organization.