Integrate the six sigma and project management approaches in your factory with the help of M-Box

Six Sigma is an improvement strategy for processes, focused on reducing variability through optimization of each stage, eliminating (product) defects and reducing cycle times with the goals to improve customer satisfaction at reduced cost.

What Is Six Sigma? | History of Six Sigma | What is DMAIC? | Benefits of Six Sigma in Manufacturing | Six Sigma and Accurate Manufacturing Data | Project Management and Six Sigma | How to Integrate Six Sigma and Project Management in Manufacturing

Why "Six Sigma"

The Greek letter sigma (σ) represents the standard deviation: the average spread of deviation from the average in a data set. Once data points are plotted on a chart as above and demonstrate a spread according to the classical bell curve of “normal distribution” 68.2 % of the data will be found within 1 standard deviation from the average.

3 standard deviations in each direction from the average (which would be the desired outcome) includes 99.7% of the data points.
According to this logic, the desired output of the Six Sigma (3+3 standard deviations = Six Sigma) process is to ensure that 99.7% of the output can be classified as acceptable or zero-defects.

History of six sigma

Six Sigma originated in 1986 in the Motorola company, introduced by engineers Mikel Harry and Bill Smith as an in-depth study of process variations with the purpose to improve them, using Shewhart concepts of SPC (Statistical Process Control). 

A few years after Motorola reported surprising results (in terms of increased productivity, reduced non-quality costs, growth, savings in manufacturing costs and elimination of defects in its processes), the technique was successfully adopted by other major companies, such as AlliedSignal (today Honeywell) and General Motors.
Since then, hundreds of companies have embraced this improvement strategy, and today it is considered a work philosophy. Although it originated in manufacturing, it is now also successfully applied in the service sector.

What is DMAIC

Correct implementation of Six Sigma requires compliance with 5 well-defined stages (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) that make up DMAIC: a methodology for solving problems on processes already created.


Define the problem and objective of the project, including resources and timeline.


Measure the process to determine its current performance. The quality of the data is crucial for the performance of the Six Sigma process.


Analyze and validate the root causes of defects. Prioritize the causes and identify how they affect the outcome of the process.


 Improve the process by eliminating its defects via the testing and implementation of creative solutions. The simplest solution is often the best solution.


Control the future performance of the process. Make sure the solutions that were implemented are sustainable by monitoring according to a predefined control plan.

Benefits of Integrating Six Sigma in Manufacturing

Improved quality

Improved quality of product or service which lead to higher revenues through customer satisfaction

Reduction of Errors

Reduction of errors and shorter cycle times: Cost savings and thus higher profit margins

Tools used in the development of six sigma projects can be divided in 2 categories: tools for quality improvement and tools for statistical data analysis.

Some of the tools often used during DMAIC application

  • Process flow diagram
  • Affinity diagrams
  • CTQ trees
  • Histograms
  • Pareto diagram
  • Ishikawa diagram
  • Repeatability and reproducibility studies (R&R)
  • Hypothesis test
  • Design of experiments (DOE)
  • SPC
  • Pokayoke

Successful Six sigma implementation requires accurate manufacturing data

The Six Sigma improvement strategy is based on statistics, therefore, a large amount of data on the process must be available to carry it out. DMAIC, the Six Sigma work methodology, considers the collection of information and the veracity of the data as the basis for improvement.

Monitor-Box system collects following data

M-Box Collects Data related to:

  • Defect statistics
  • Cycle times
  • Product cost
  • Electrical energy consumption
  • Duration of failures

M-Box Collects Data by:

  • Shift
  • Operator
  • Machine
  • Project

M-Box Records Data related to:

  • Production sequence
  • Bills of materials
  • Equipment operating parameters

This amount of available data will give you the opportunity to successfully apply the “Six Sigma” improvement strategy in your factory.

Throughout the world manufacturing and service companies strive to reduce costs, reduce cycle times, and achieve greater market share. This requires continuous efforts to maintain a portfolio of improvement projects.

Project management and Six Sigma

As previously described, the Six Sigma process is characterized by the continuous and strict application of the DMAIC methods, project after project. However, Six Sigma is more focused on the study of the process variation and its improvement rather than on the project management itself.

Still, project management can be viewed as a series of returning processes. Each one of them has a room for improvement. Only when all those processes function optimally, you can achieve optimal customer satisfaction with lowest project turnaround, which means maximum revenues at minimal cost.

Project processes that can be Improved using Six Sigma

  • Scope definition
  • Work breakdown analysis
  • Schedule development
  • Risk analysis
  • Status reporting
  • Cost budgeting

These processes together allow you to advance in each of the DMAIC stages, during the implementation of the Six Sigma strategy.

Six Sigma and Project Management Complement Each Other

These two approaches, “Six Sigma” and “Project Management”, are complementary. Integrating them is an effective answer to challenges a company usually faces and will result in a portfolio of continuous and successfully executed improvement projects.

By integrating these two approaches, the variability problems of your organization’s processes would be solved, with well-managed projects that would meet the required scope, time, budget, and quality.

In this way, the incremental improvement of processes would be ensured, as well as the competitiveness of your organization.

How to Integrate Six Sigma and Project Management in Manufacturing

Monitor-Box an Essential Tool for Successful Integration

M-Box has a full project management functionality:

  • Integrated activity monitor
  • Keep track of all your projects and tasks
  • File storage and Communication
  • Monitor activity of remote workers and contractors

This will serve as a platform to successfully manage your organization’s projects from start to finish.

Imagine the possibility of uniting the M-Box functionality of Production Monitoring along with Project Management, as well as everything that each one represents.

You would be truly integrating the Six Sigma and Project Management approaches, ensuring the incremental improvement of processes as well as the competitiveness and future of your company.