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Six Sigma is a quality control standard that became a process methodology in the manufacturing industry. In manufacturing, the quality of a manufacturing process is described by a sigma rating that is a statistical measure of how close the process is to being defect-free. A six sigma process would be one that is defect-free to one of the highest statistical levels. In 1986, Motorola in the United States adopted the notion of Six Sigma to define the methodology behind the company's business management strategy.
Over time, many businesses across various industries around the world adopted the Six Sigma way of managing processes. The core of the management strategy is to create quality control methods and internal experts in those methods. The experts are designated by a color-coded titling system, such as the Black Belts and Green Belts. The goals of Six Sigma are to eliminate defects and minimize variability.
The popularity of the Six Sigma system led some companies to develop certification programs that established a person's proficiency in the system at a certain expert level. Some business analysts, however, criticize Six Sigma as derivative, arbitrary, and unsuitable for certain situations. Read more about Six Sigma from the links on this Business.com page.