Content By by Joe Froelich and Cristopher Del Angel

by Joe Froelich and Cristopher Del Angel’s default image

By by Joe Froelich and Cristopher Del Angel


Six Sigma, lean, and similar disciplines of analysis and control have been used for decades. Ever since GE’s former chairman and CEO Jack Welch sang its praises in his book, Jack: Straight from the Gut (Warner Business Books, 2001), the Six Sigma process in particular has been widely used by companies looking to streamline their operations and capitalize on opportunities. The methodology has undoubtedly helped improve the financial health of organizations such as Toyota, ING Group, and Volkswagen. Six Sigma is often cast as either an organization’s hero or, as was the case for 3M and The Home Depot, scapegoat.

Given the intense scrutiny of Six Sigma, we offer the following perspective on its effectiveness, scale, and alternative approaches.

Six Sigma basics

Six Sigma is a cyclical process used to identify issues and opportunities within an organization. Each step in the process is necessary to ensure the best possible results.