A few Six Sigma definitions

Here are a few definitions you should be aware of if you're working on a Six Sigma project:

  • Business process reengineering:  Analysis and redesign of workflow within, and between, organizations.

  • Constraint:  Anything that limits a system from achieving higher performance levels. Also referred to as a bottleneck.

  • First in, First out:  Material produced by one process is consumed in the same order (FIFO) by the next process.

  • First-pass yield:  Number of units coming out of a process divided by the number of units going into that process over a specific period of time. This only applies to good units with no rework.  Also referred to as throughput yield (TPY).

  • Gemba: Japanese word meaning “real place,” where action takes place—a shop floor or work areas. Gemba walk - Walk carried out by management.  They go to the place where something is happening and review the process for themselves.

  • Hoshin Kanri: Strategic decision-making tool used for policy deployment.  Used heavily in the healthcare sector.

  • Just in time (JIT):  All waste is eliminated from the production line and only the inventory needed, in the right quantity, at the right time, is used for production.  The rate of production is exactly as required.

  • Kaizen: Japanese word meaning “change for the better” or “do good.” It is a process of making continual improvements by everyone keeping in mind quality and safety.  Kaizen events are often considered small six sigma projects with limited scope.

  • Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award:  An award given to an organization for achieving the highest-quality standards.

  • Operational excellence (Opex):  Stresses the application of a variety of principles and tools toward the sustainable improvement of key performance metrics. This philosophy is based on continuous improvement, such as Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma.

    Learn more about Six Sigma by getting your Six Sigma Black Belt certification here.
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