Blog : Is Lean Six Sigma relevant in 2021?

Discussing if Lean Six Sigma is still relevant in today's world.

Recently, I heard a news on Social Media that Microsoft & Google has dropped a clause from their eligibility criteria that was seeking a formal degree from the job applicants.

In other words, such conglomerate businesses now focusing on the skills which are necessary for performing your job duties instead of emphasizing on mere degree certificates, which I believe a welcoming move and sooner or later, the other companies would also join the revolution.

Six Sigma as one of the most promising skills that any company might be looking for in its employees due to its fundamentals lies in Quality Management.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a quality improvement methodology that focuses on identifying the errors and remove them using a wide range of statistical tools & techniques to deliver 99.9997% quality or only 3.4 DPMO (Defects Per Million Opportunity).

Six Sigma and Criticism

The first and the very common criticism Six Sigma has faced is, it being one-dimensional philosophy. It claims that Six Sigma, even though a Quality Management Methodology, focuses only on the cost reduction whereas not every Quality Management Tools can be distilled to Cost of Quality Metrics.

The second most criticism is that Six Sigma is not practically achievable. Six-Sigma level of quality should theoretically achieve 99.9997% yield and equate to 3.4 defects per million opportunities which often considered as not-achievable metrics. However, only a very few understands the philosophy behind it as Six Sigma tends to achieve ZERO Defects which a company should always aim for and in the pursuit of ZERO defects, 3.4 defects would be seen as a very large number. Isn’t it?

The third criticism it faced as Six Sigma is an Outsourced Service. One, if wish to apply Six Sigma in his company, needs to hire highly-paid Six Sigma Consultants like Master Black Belts or Black Belts who supposedly consolidated the knowledge within themselves. The fact is not every quality issue needs Six Sigma to get resolved. At times, an ordinary common sense is sufficient. But don’t forget, common sense is very uncommon!

Is Six Sigma relevant in 2021?

Six Sigma and the losses at GE

The most talked story about this often told is about the ‘losses at GE were due to Six Sigma. It is right to hold Six Sigma responsible for the ‘so decorated losses of GE’ but the strategic mistakes it made in the application for long terms. 

There are other stories as well when Six Sigma helped GE to make billions in profit. The same applies to Motorola that made USD 16 in just 7 years after the roll out of Six Sigma. The list is too long to mention all the names which made money using Six Sigma.

Is Six Sigma relevant in 2021?

Yes, Six Sigma is still relevant today. It cannot be considered as dead or the past now. The success of Six Sigma is not in the theory or the methodology itself but in the execution of it, perhaps PROPER EXECUTION. If any company does not execute it the way it should be then it is not the fault of Six Sigma but that of the company.

With the rise of Six Sigma, many conventional process improvement professionals started getting to lose either job or businesses (in form of consultants, freelancers, etc) and hence they started to campaign to defame Six Sigma for obvious reasons.

Wherever there is Quality, there would be scope for Six Sigma and it would remain eternal. The approaches may upgrade but the core would remain intact. The purpose would remain intact of reducing defects, improving quality, reducing production cost & pricing & eventually increase profits. Six Sigma is getting matured now with specific industry integrations/ applications. E.g. For IT, it is more of CMMI levels (can be considered as extension of Six Sigma into IT).

To conclude, Six Sigma and Quality are closely interlinked with each other with fundamentals of customer-centric approach as the base.

About e-Six Sigma

e-Six Sigma is a venture by IIM-Alumnus & Ex-Infosys. Shifted from ‘Classroom to Cloud’, it has trained over 2200 professionals and students on Six Sigma.

e-Six Sigma is an exceptionally good in making you gain the Six Sigma Skills in the most convenient and result-oriented manner through its Award-Winning & Unique Training Delivery Model which is a right combo of Theoretical & Practical Exposure.

You can start learning them at any point of time and with e-Six Sigma, you will have the advantage of learning them at your own time-convenience and pace, even on your smartphones! e-Six Sigma empowers you to make the most of it from day 1 by teaching you to save time in learning and we all know that time is money! So don’t waste time aka money and enrol in just a minute at Happy Learning!

Abhijeet Mandlecha
Abhijeet Mandlecha
Principal Lean Six Sigma Consultant, e-Six Sigma

Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. 14+ years of Experience. Trained 1200+ Professionals & Students on Lean Six Sigma.