History of the Six Sigma Black Belt Naming Convention

Motorola, the company that holds the Six Sigma trademark, says the data-driven defect-reduction process has saved the company more than $16 billion over the past 15 years. Six Sigma has generated similarly stunning results at companies here and abroad in the manufacturing, transactional, and service sectors. All businesses – regardless of sector, size, or project – link…


Remembering Bill Smith, Father of Six Sigma

Bill Smith spent years convincing higher-ups that he really had invented a better mousetrap. Then he spent the rest of his life spreading the word to business professionals, government leaders and educators. Smith’s mousetrap? It was Six Sigma, the TQM spin off that has generated billions of dollars for Motorola, the company where Smith introduced…

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Six Sigma Evolution Clarified – Letter To The Editor

On behalf of Six Sigma Academy, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the evolution of six sigma since this seems to be a lively topic of conversation among many practitioners (even cartoonists!) these days. The roots of six sigma as a measurement standard can be traced back to Carl Frederick Gauss (1777-1855)…

The History of Six Sigma

The roots of Six Sigma as a measurement standard can be traced back to Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) who introduced the concept of the normal curve. Six Sigma as a measurement standard in product variation can be traced back to the 1920’s when Walter Shewhart showed that three sigma from the mean is the point…


In His 100th Year, Juran Still an Advocate for Quality

Dateline: Stamford, Connecticut (USA), May 6, 2004 The man whose ideas led to corporations adopting Six Sigma and other quality management strategies warns that U.S. companies are moving too slowly in improving the quality of business procedures, products and services. The nation’s position in the world economy is at risk, according to Dr. Joseph M….

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The Lean Six Sigma All-Star Game

As you may know, if you’re a baseball fan, Major League Baseball is holding its All-Star Game on July 15 at Yankee Stadium. You may also know that you can create your own “fantasy” baseball team, on-line,by selecting players and assigning them to your team. Then, as the statistics build up week after week, the…



I was recently perusing Time magazines “Top 100” list for 2008, and came across this entry for Peter Pronovost. I had never heard of Pronovost. Here’s part of what profiler Kathleen Kingsbury had to say about him: “A critical-care researcher at Johns Hopkins University, Pronovost may have saved more lives than any laboratory scientist in…


Joseph M. Juran 1904-2008

Many of you have recently heard about the tremendous loss to the Quality profession. There is a press release from Juran Institute and a forum discussion. I had an email forwarded to me from the leaders of the Joseph M. Juran Center for Leadership in Quality. Below is the email:   February 29, 2008 Dear…


Sad News for the Six Sigma Community

Paula Parmeter, a Six Sigma advocate and pioneer, recently passed away. Everyone that knew Paula is tremendously saddened. Below is a tribute, written by Ilona Kirzhner.     iSixSigma has been nice enough to allow us to pay a Six Sigma Tribute to Paula (Feldman) Parmeter. In my knowledge of Six Sigma consultancies, practitioners, trainers,…


Historical Perspective of Lean

This note from Jim Womack at the Lean Institute provides an excellent historical perspective of lean manufacturing. It is reprinted here with permission.   Stephen,   I’ve been reflecting on today’s remarkable headlines about the latest retreat by the Ford Motor Company as part of its “Way Forward”? campaign. While reflecting, I have found it…


Who is Malcolm Baldrige?

Malcolm Baldrige was US Secretary of Commerce (1981-1987) and a leader in quality management. He helped create the US Quality Improvement Act of 1987 and in his honour the annual award is named after him (Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award). The US President presents the award. The US is not unique in having a national…