DPU, DPMO, DPO and DOE. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of six sigma acronyms which makes it even harder to remember what the heck they do. DPMO is the acronym for defects per million opportunities. So, why do we need to know that. Well roughly because six sigma is in large part based on 3.4 defects per million opportunities or 3.4 DPMO. That's right, in order to reach a six sigma rating a company must have no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities or 99.9997% yield. To put it simply DPMO is the average or ratio of the number of defects in one million opportunities. Lets first understand an important concept before moving forward.
Defect and Defective
We want to be sure that defect and defective are not confused before diving into DPMO. If a part is said to be defective it may have more than one defect associated with it. For example we may have one defective shirt but the shirt may have a rip in it, a loose button and a stain. That means our one defective shirt has three defects associated with it. When we calculate DPMO we use the number of defects to figure our calculation.
How is it calculated?
The easiest way to calculate DPMO is to multiply DPO by 1,000,000 which will then give you your DPMO. As a reminder for calculating DPO visit our recent post in Listen to the Gemba titled Calculating Defects Per Opportunity (DPO).
Pretty easy right. In short DPMO is the measure used to gauge business process performance. By calculating and monitoring DPMO you will have a better understanding of how to improve processes.