Six Sigma


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No discussion in regards to quality would be complete without talking about Six Sigma. The image above depicts the problem solving approach called DMAIC which is the heart of the Six Sigma methodology. This approach to quality is very popular in the manufacturing and service industries. Both are important part of the Walt Disney Corporation and as a result, Disney was an early implementer of this quality approach. The implementation of Six Sigma within Disney forces the company to work much more diligently and quickly to uncover and reduce unacceptable variations in processes. In addition, it empowers all employees with the ability to improve quality.


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This is a requirement for Disney to maintain its classification as a world class enterprise company. The text book, Business Statistics: For Contemporary Decision Making, describes the intense level of six sigma quite well in the following passage,

“In the airline industry, the three sigma goal implies that it is acceptable to have 2,600 unsatisfactory landings by commercial aircraft out of every million landings. In contrast, a Six Sigma approach would require that there be no more than 3.4 unsatisfactory landings per million, with a goal of approaching zero”(Black, 2013).

A Six Sigma implementation within Disney fits the business perfectly. Disney is data driven and customer focused. To maintain their high standard, Disney sends required cast member to Lean Six Sigma training taught by Master Black Belts currently working with the methodologies. In addition, additional training is offered onsite for cast members as well as online via web training. The levels of training are depicted in the following image:


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Implementation of Six Sigma, while not easy, is worth the cost, time and effort. It all starts with executive buy-in and flows down from there. Deployment in large companies such as Disney is done in phases;

Measure Phase:

    • Establishing commitment and continues involvement of Disney leadership.
    • Create a Six Sigma Core Team responsible for the development initiative.
    • Work with outside quality facilitators to garnish training and guidance.
    • Train leaders and core team members
    • Regularly conduct implementation reviews during the development process
Analyze Phase:
    • Utilize the organization’s goals to create the business plan and goals for the Six Sigma Implementation.
    • Use tools such as gap analysis to identify how the current processes perform.
    • Plan out the separate projects that make up the overall initiative.
    • Plan goals and metrics for expected performance
    • Implement a recognition and incentive program.
    • Create a team for quality service responsible to motivate and train employees.
Improve Phase:
    • Form the Six Sigma project teams responsible for the completion of project goals.
    • Train the members of the project teams
    • Implement the individual projects
    • Continuously review and monitor the status and results of each of the projects.
Control Phase:
    • Post Implementation auditing of experienced results
    • For improved systems, implement the changes to policies, procedure and operations to maintain the   gains.
    • Recognize project team members for accomplishments and successes.
    • Based on results, implement continuous process improvement.

References: Six Sigma for Large Companies. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from

SixSigma. The Walt Disney Co. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from


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