Real Life Sigma Level Examples

In Six Sigma, you can summarize the success rate of a process metric into something called a sigma level. In most processes, a process performing at “6 sigma” is considered excellent.

Here are some examples of processes and their sigma level, along with the number of incidents that would happen out of one million chances.

MetricIncidents per millionIncident Rate %Sigma Level
Single airline fatality (1993-2012)0.20.00002%6.56
Medical specimens not meeting transportation conditions required for testing510.005%5.39
Trash hauler fatal injuries per full-time equivalent worker (2014) 3580.04%4.88
Lost luggage on major US airlines (2012)3,0900.3%4.24
Patients found without identification bands5,2650.5%4.06
Duplicate medical test orders15,2001.5%3.66
Healthcare specimen redraws19,0531.9%3.57
Contamination level of recycling shipped to China20,0002.0%3.55
Illness or injury per Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) worker (2017)98,0009.8%2.79
Oregon recycling rate of beverage containers covered by its bottle deposit system (2018)100,00010.0%2.78
Therapeutic drug monitoring timing244,00024.4%2.19
Manitoba (Canada) material lost recovery rates (2016)300,00030.0%2.02
Electronics shipped to developing nations for recycling that end up in the landfill (2016)310,00031.0%1.99
Patient compliance to anticoagulation therapeutic range for single clinic (2015)543,69854.3%1.39
Trash not recycled in the United States (2014)654,00065.4%1.10
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