« In God we trust, all others must bring data », is a quote often attributed to Edwards Deming (the creator of the eponymous cycle) or Jack Welsh (the emblematic President of General Electric in the 1990s), which by itself embodies the spirit of the Six Sigma methodology: using data to control processes. Yet, Six Sigma suffers from its name – pronouncing it is difficult – and moreover conjures up acronyms – DMAIC – and roles – Green Belt, Black Belt, Champion – which can make this methodology seem obscure or even on the limit of the ‘sect’. In its 2000 Annual Report, General Electric (GE) executives stated that « the Company not only posted its highest revenues ever, but grew them at one of the highest rates in its history. […] Through the rigorous pursuit of four big Company-wide initiatives – Globalization, Services, Six Sigma Quality and Digitization – we’ve changed not only where we work and what we sell, but how we work, think and touch our customers ».
Six Sigma cannot simply be summed up as common sense. Let us take a new look at it and understand how it can contribute to better mastery of manufacturing processes.