The History and Role of Six Sigma and Lean in the Manufacturing Environment

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The human race has made leaps and bounds in manufacturing of goods needed not only to survive, but to make our lives easier and more efficient. From the earliest recorded history, man has made the tools he needed to survive or gain a completive advantage. In the not too distant past, 100 years or so, we had skilled craftsman who had specific skills and talents. In a small town you would have a blacksmith, a tailor, a farmer, etc. Each of these people learned their skills through years of apprenticeships, and the items they made were unique. Their processes often took months or even years to complete. Since these times we as a society have progressed from craftsmanship to assembly lines. Even now we have robotic manufacturing, …show more content…

“The term Six Sigma was coined by Bill Smith in 1986, while at Motorola. It was coined as a target for defect-free product manufacturing. The term was derived from the idea that process capability can be described by product or service deviation from specification.” (“Six Sigma Basics”). Although this theory turned in to what we now know as Six Sigma, the origins of statistical process control can be traced to Walther Shewart and Edward Deming. Walter Shewart was an engineer, physicist and statistician. He theorized that there are two causes of variation which will lead to decreased product quality. These two causes are the assignable cause, (special-cause variation) and chance-cause (common cause variation). Assignable Cause variation is an unpredictable, unanticipated problem within the manufacturing system. Chance Cause variation is a well-known error or cause that can effect a manufacturing process. Shewart created control charts, focusing on bringing a manufacturing process “under control.” This would only leave chance cause variation, and keeping this in control a company and predict and manage their processes cost effectively and economically (Akpose).
Deming was

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