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Graph of the normal distribution, which underlies the statistical assumptions of the Six Sigma model.
The Greek letter ʍ (sigma) marks the distance on the horizontal axis between the mean, µ, and the
curve's inflection point, in this case µ=1. The distance is equally distributed horzontally to both sides
of the mean µ as: [µ - ʍ/2, µ + ʍ/2]. The greater this distance, the greater is the spread of values
encountered. For the curve shown above, µ = 0 and ʍ = 1. The upper and lower specification limits
(USL, LSL) are at a distance of 6ʍ from the mean. Because of the properties of the normal
distribution, values lying that far away from the mean are extremely unlikely. Even if the mean were
to move right or left by 1.5ʍ at some point in the future (1.5 sigma shift), there is still a good safety
cushion. This is why Six Sigma aims to have processes where the mean is at least 6ʍ away from the
nearest specification limit.c

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