Origins of Six Sigma
Six Sigma as a measurement standard in product variation can be traced back to the 1920's when Walter Shewhart showed that three sigma from the mean is the point where a process requires correction. Many measurement standards, such as Zero Defects, later came to the fore, but credit for coining the term "Six Sigma" goes to a Motorola engineer named Bill Smith. "Six Sigma" is a federally registered trademark of Motorola.
In the early and mid-1980s, Motorola engineers decided that the traditional quality levels measuring defects in thousands of opportunities didn't provide enough depth of information. They wanted to measure the defects per million opportunities. Motorola developed this new standard and created the methodology and needed cultural change associated with it. Six Sigma helped Motorola realize powerful bottom-line results in their organization they proceeded to documented more than $16 Billion in savings as a result of our Six Sigma efforts.
Since then, hundreds of companies around the world, most notably GE, have adopted Six Sigma as a way of doing business. This is a direct result of many of America's leaders openly praising the benefits of Six Sigma. Companies such as Allied Signal, and General Electric Company rolled out their Six Sigma effort early and with outstanding results.