Common Six Sigma Myths and Misconceptions

Six Sigma MythsAs Six Sigma principles have become a part of mainstream business practices, more and more people have begun talking about the methodology. Some of what is said is based on proven results that accurately reflect the Six Sigma’s reputation for improving quality, getting products to market faster and increasing customer satisfaction.

However, misunderstandings and misconceptions exist side by side in the public consciousness with the hard-won praise that Six Sigma has earned for improving financial performance and product quality for organizations in all types of industry.

You may have heard the myths about Six Sigma listed below. If so then read on and discover the true story.

Myths about Six Sigma

Only manufacturers need Six Sigma – It’s true that Six Sigma was first used by manufacturing giants such as Motorola and General Electric. However, a company does not need to use an assembly line or even produce a tangible product to benefit from Six Sigma.

Any company that uses a simple repetitive process can put the methodology to work. Six Sigma has been applied successfully in industries as diverse as: transportation, hospitality, healthcare, retail, banking, municipal government and even fast food.

It requires too many resources to implement Six Sigma – The two most common objections to Six Sigma are “we don’t have the time,” closely followed by “we can’t afford it.” Doing Six Sigma right requires both time and money but its benefits far outweigh the costs.

Once employees in your organization have adopted a Six Sigma philosophy, it will continue to reap rewards for years to come. The benefits of a workforce that is able to use Six Sigma principles to improve quality and increase profitability far outweigh the initial training costs. After training is complete, your organization has hundreds of eyes to spot problems and hundreds of hands to solve them.

Six Sigma is a fad – Six Sigma has a 40-year history of increasing revenues and decreasing costs for all types of industry all over the globe. Every day, more organizations are deploying Six Sigma initiatives and seeking certified employees to help staff Six Sigma project teams.

Six Sigma will continue to enjoy a long life so long as it reduces process variation. Any company with a repetitive process is aware of the danger that variation brings. A process with high variance has difficulty meeting customer expectations and risks losing business. Six Sigma guarantees itself a future by reducing variance and eliminating the unpleasant surprises that disappoint customers.

Using Six Sigma is an excuse to cut jobs – Six Sigma reduces waste and eliminates variance, so some mistakenly conclude that Six Sigma is designed to cut jobs.

Don’t believe it.


Six Sigma’s objective is to reduce the number of defects that a process produces by reducing process variance. It is not a cover for downsizing and not the enemy of the employees who are certified to use it. Six Sigma makes employees more valuable and helps them advance in the organization by giving them proven, reliable process improvement skills.

Unfortunately, Six Sigma myths and misunderstandings still persist. Share your favorite ones below.

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