Is Apple a six sigma company?

Here is a list of some of the largest and most famous Six Sigma companies: List of Six Sigma companies - Wikipedia

It includes Ford, 3M, Amazon, John Deere, and many, many others that you will recognize. That list is not a comprehensive list, it simply includes the largest and most famous companies. Many, many smaller companies use it too.

One should understand however that Six Sigma is only one of many quality assurance systems. The Toyota Production System (TPS), Total Quality Management (TQM), and 5S are all common. Many companies use their own systems that bring together elements of Six Sigma, Lean (which is largely derived from TPS), and 5S to create their own system. United Technologies (which owns Pratt & Whitney and many other companies) is such an organization. Their hybrid system is called the ACE Operating System. Even companies that do use Six Sigma often refer their approaches as Lean Six Sigma (LSS) due to their efforts to combine Lean approaches with Six Sigma projects - even though the two are derived from extremely different philosophies. (Lean focuses on gradual continuous improvements and avoidance of wasted time and energy while Six Sigma focuses on attempts to create a revolutionary change.)


I think there are many companies that operate under the guise of Six Sigma or LSS, but for the most part I believe it is in name only. Yes, they recruit and hire those with LSS Certificates and actively tout their own systems but the problem is always with implementation and responsibility and integrity within the system. Take for example the recent problems at Toyota, VW, Ford, and other automakers. All of them tout either LSS or a hybrid thereof but why do we have so many recalls? The main purpose of Six Sigma is to reach ZERO defects and to empower at any point in the process employees to stop and fix what is wrong, to report it and make corrective action. This can only happen if upper management, at whatever level is required to stop and fix what is out of control. Most of the recalls were not ‘design' problems, they were problems in disregarding what was already in place. The best examples are the intentional circumventing by VW of the emissions system and protocol to alter the true values of the engines to avoid doing the necessary changes to meet federal standards. The second case is with Toyota and all of their recalls of the last several years and with the Takata air bags. They all knew and made a conscious decision to avoid, cover-up, alter, or otherwise deceive themselves or the consumer that all was not well.

These are highly regarded companies that, by their own admission, violated the trust of consumers and employees alike and willfully chose to deceive millions. That they would tout on one hand what they demand and seek in candidates to meet a certain level of expertise in quality and then disregard or outright lie to avoid or achieve a goal for financial reasons precludes that they are Six Sigma companies. What is claimed on paper or in name does not make them LSS or any other moniker if they do not have the integrity to operate with these same principles.


Apple bases its quality on TQM, not the farce of Six Sigma. The fundamentals of TQM are based on the work of Professor Deming.

Perhaps Apple wishes to improve, rather than let itself be destroyed by the nonsense of Six Sigma. "Of the 58 large companies announced Six Sigma programs, 91 percent have trailed the S&P 500 since." GE and Motorola lead the charge down the drain, thanks to Six Sigma.

Six Sigma is a management fad based on pure farce. It was created by a psychologist who claimed that all processes shift or drift by +/-1.5 sigma in 24 hours and this claim was based on the height of a stack of discs. (Benderizing) Some simple sums yields the meaningless Six Sigma metric of 3.4 dpmo.

Dr Wheeler, the world's leading process statistician, calls Six Sigma "goofy". CBS calls it the most stupid fad of all time.

Surveys show that 80% to 95% of Six Sigma projects fail (of those brave enough to admit failure).

Here's what a ridiculous Six Sigma process with its +/-1.5 sigma drift looks like - wildly out of control and unpredictable. It cannot achieve good quality, no matter where specification limits are set!


First, there is no such concept, or qualification such as "Is this xyz company a Six Sigma Company?" The philosophy of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) pertains to a mindset and behavioral competency level of the culture on how they make decisions (my simplest definition). Using data to make a logical decision is key and so no company would ever be truly called a "Six Sigma" company, including the Motorolas, GEs, and so forth.

So then what can one gain from knowing whether LSS is ingrained in a company's culture? Speak with individual employees in your network (such as LinkedIn), meet with them virtually or in person.

That is a far better evaluation of what you wish to seek and moreover there is no measure of how a company can be rated as "LSS" company, regardless of what other responses you receive. I may be wrong and if I am, I stand corrected.

Finally, I would appreciate knowing of why you need an answer to such a query and what aspect would it help address for you.


Yes. You may view the interview of Steve Jobs on youtube - talking about quality in the background of Six Sigma


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