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Six Sigma

The four key components of Strategy Analysis are principles, practices, techniques, and skills. They play an essential role in identifying and validating the organization’s strategic needs, defining suitable solution approach(es) and solution(s), and planning, monitoring, and engaging stakeholders to achieve the organization’s strategic objectives. Techniques describe a step-by-step approach to conducting Strategic Analysis activities. Check out more about cbap training at adaptive learning

Need a technique to analyze business processes and identify areas of improvement? Here is a Strategy Analysis technique to achieve that. This blog will look at a technique called Six Sigma with examples.

History of Six Sigma as a strategy analysis technique 

Six Sigma as a strategy analysis technique dates back to the mid-1980s when Motorola developed and implemented the Six Sigma approach to improve its manufacturing processes. The goal of Six Sigma was to reduce the number of defects in a process by identifying and eliminating the root causes of errors. It was quickly adopted by other companies and, by the mid-1990s, had become a popular tool for analyzing and improving processes in a wide range of industries.

By the early 2000s, Six Sigma had become a business strategy that focused on improving customer satisfaction, reducing costs, and increasing profits. Companies began to use Six Sigma to analyze their processes and identify areas of improvement. The goal was to create a consistent, high-quality product or service that met customer expectations.

Today, Six Sigma is used by many companies as a strategy analysis technique. It is used to identify areas of improvement, develop strategies to improve processes and measure the results of those strategies. Companies use Six Sigma to help them make better decisions and become more efficient and profitable.


Six Sigma is a process improvement approach developed by Motorola in the 1980s and based on the ideas from statistical process control. Initially used in manufacturing industries to reduce product defects, it is now used in many sectors, such as the pharmaceutical industry, local authorities, food processing, hospitals, the military, logistics, NASA, and financial services.


Six Sigma is a structured approach to process improvement that uses data and measurement to identify where the most business benefit can be obtained. The aim is to reduce errors so that all processes meet or exceed customers’ expectations and there are no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.

Step Six Sigma Approach
Sigma Approach



To achieve this level of performance, Six Sigma follows a 5-step approach: Define the problem, Measure data, Analyze data, Improve the process by removing the root causes of the problem and finally, Introduce controls to prevent the original problem from reoccurring and maintain the benefits of the changes made. In the Six Sigma language, this is the ‘DMAIC’ approach.

Step 1: Define the problem. 

Typical questions to ask:

What is going wrong?

How many are going wrong?

Where is the problem?

Where does it come from?

What is the impact?

Step 2. Measure the data. 

This is about identifying the symptoms. Identify factors that may be contributing to the problem. Set up measures for these factors. Collect data.

Step 3. Analyze data. 

Hypothesize about the causes of the problems. Document the theories and test them. Identify the root causes.

Step 4. Improve the process. 

Assess alternative improvement methods. Design and test the chosen method. Implement the chosen method.

Step 5. Control the new process and monitor its effectiveness.

Refine the new process, continuous monitoring, and use findings elsewhere in the business

Usage considerations

Six Sigma tries to eliminate performance deficiencies in processes critical to achieving customer satisfaction which ultimately results in high-quality products, standardization, improved profitability, etc. These processes can be as varied as complaint handling, order fulfillment, delivering a package to a customer’s house, or reducing defects in software programs.

Advantages of Six Sigma as a strategy analysis technique 

  1. Increased customer satisfaction: Six Sigma focuses on the customer and improving their satisfaction by eliminating defects and reducing variation. This leads to improved customer service and higher customer retention rates.
  2. Cost savings: Six Sigma reduces waste and increases efficiency, leading to cost savings.
  3. Improved processes: Six Sigma focuses on improving processes to reduce defects and streamline operations. This leads to improved quality and increased productivity.
  4. Increased employee satisfaction: Six Sigma focuses on creating a team-oriented environment, which leads to increased employee satisfaction.
  5. Increased profits: The cost savings and increased customer satisfaction from Six Sigma led to increased profits.
  6. Improved decision-making: Six Sigma enables organizations to make better decisions based on data and facts. This leads to improved business decisions and more effective strategies.

Weaknesses of Six Sigma as a strategy analysis technique 

  1. Inability to adapt to changing customer demand: Six Sigma is designed to reduce variation and optimize processes, but it is not designed to be flexible to changing customer demand.
  2. Costly upfront and ongoing investments: Implementing a Six Sigma program requires a large upfront investment in training, tools, and other resources, as well as ongoing costs for maintenance and improvement.
  3. Over-emphasis on statistical analysis: Six Sigma has been criticized for over-emphasizing the use of statistical analysis, which can be difficult for non-statisticians to understand and use effectively.
  4. Time-consuming process: The Six Sigma process can be very time-consuming, requiring a large amount of data collection and analysis before any results can be seen.
  5. Inflexible approach: The Six Sigma process is very rigid, and some have argued that it can be difficult to adapt to different situations and needs.
  6. Lack of focus on customer needs: Six Sigma focuses on process improvement and optimization but does not pay much attention to customer needs or feedback.

Relationship of Six Sigma with other strategy analysis techniques 

Six Sigma is a data-driven, customer-focused methodology that uses statistical analysis and other strategic analysis techniques to identify and eliminate defects in a product or service. It is a process-improvement methodology that focuses on reducing variation, eliminating defects, and improving quality and customer satisfaction. This approach is often used in conjunction with other strategic analysis techniques, such as Lean Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM), and Design of Experiments (DOE), to identify process inefficiencies and develop strategies to reduce or eliminate them. By combining the power of Six Sigma with other strategic analysis techniques, organizations can create more efficient and cost-effective processes that result in improved customer satisfaction and higher profits.

Future of Six Sigma as a strategy analysis technique 

Six Sigma is a strategy analysis technique that has been used by companies and organizations for over 30 years. As the world continues to evolve and technology advances, Six Sigma will continue to be an important tool for any organization looking to improve its processes and increase its bottom line. The future of Six Sigma will be shaped by the changing needs of organizations and the advancement of technology.

In the years to come, Six Sigma will be used to streamline and automate processes, allowing organizations to save time and money. Organizations will be able to use Six Sigma to analyze their data and uncover insights that will allow them to make informed decisions. Companies will also be able to use Six Sigma to identify areas of improvement and develop strategies to address them.

The use of AI and machine learning will also shape the future of Six Sigma. AI can be used to automate processes and provide data-driven insights. Machine learning can be used to identify trends and make predictions, allowing organizations to make informed decisions. Additionally, AI can be used to monitor processes and detect any irregularities, allowing organizations to quickly address any issues before they become larger problems.

Overall, Six Sigma will continue to be an important tool for any organization looking to improve its processes and increase its bottom line. As technology advances, Six Sigma will become even more effective, allowing organizations to gain better insights and make better decisions.


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