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Not many people are aware that the one of the most potent Six Sigma techniques named as Design of Experiments (covered in detail in our Black Belt training program) was first used in agriculture.

In the 1920s, Fisher created the statistical approach to Design of Experiments (DOE), and the data analysis tool - Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), while working at Great Britain's Rothamsted Agricultural Experimental Station.

Design of Experiments was first used in a major way outside agriculture in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Today the statistical approach to design of experiments is used in many areas like manufacturing and R&D, sales and marketing, and service.

One of the fundamental concepts in Six Sigma is - One should identify the critical controllable input factors and then find the best combination of those for desirable output. In agriculture, the quality and volumes of crop can be influenced by the use of best combination of factors such as crop rotation pattern, spacing between seeds, fertiliser selection etc.

There is no better place for implementation of Six Sigma than agriculture, especially in a country like India where agriculture yield contributes handsomely to the nation's GDP



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  • 8 months later...

This is completely true. In a country like ours, where agriculture is the foundation of our GDP, agricultural perfection should be pushed for. There are a lost of issues in the agricultural industry in India.

70% of our GDP is from thr rural are because of agriculture, but more than half of these rural areas have acute irrigation and power problems. These two are biggest technologies they need for agriculture, but because of the distorted distribution channels of various govts, they normally end up never getting it out. If six sigma was enforced on these distribution channels there would be different result than what the present is.

On a similar note, the Gujarat govt has innovated a bit and come up with this model, Jyotigram Yojna, where the govt has pioneerind the management of electricity and groundwater found nowhere else inthe world. Electricity us is intelligently managed by having separate feeders for agriculture and non agriculture use. This allows power to be rationed at 8 hours a day at set time for agriculture and provides 24 hours for domestic, commercial and industrial use.

You can check out this case study for the project here - http://www.slideshare.net/InnovationIndia/jyotigram-innovation-for-india-award-winner

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@Vishwadeep "One of the fundamental concepts in Six Sigma is - One should identify the critical controllable input factors and then find the best combination of those for desirable output."

What I learnt is that prior to identifying the critical controllable input factors we need to identify the problem. The critical input controllable factors will depend on the problem and the desirable output/ results.

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  • 3 weeks later...


I agree with you.

Few points to add here:

  • Six Sigma projects focus not only on "problems" but also on "opportunities"

  • Some projects are also derived from a "compelling desire to excel" or a "philosophy of delivering outputs/products/services that are better/faster/cheaper than ever before"

  • ]In all cases, an objective (that makes enough business sense) is required for approval of a specific Six Sigma project within the organisation.



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  • 7 months later...

Rightly said!!! If six sigma benefits agriculture, farmers won't run from it as in today's world of concretization where they are motivated to sell their farms at lucrative prices for real estate development, which is already increasing India's ever-growing food supply-demand gap. This is one area where I would like to contribute my six sigma learnings, if given an opportunity.


Praveen Gupta

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  • 6 months later...

Hello VK

I agree with you. Imagine my surprise when i learned that America uses DOE to increase and optimize agricultural outputs. Why can't we have the same system in India? Why can't we use use Lean Six Sigma to reduce variation and streamline the agricultural practices? I am very interested in the topic and would appreciate id you can point out a good direction to start my research journey.

Thank you

Venkatesh Alla


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Hi Venkatesh, 


There are a few reasons why it has not succeeded as much as it should have.


  1. Small farmlands make it hard to reduce risks. 
  2. The government initiative is limited. 
  3. People who own agri-fields have limited education to understand and absorb such concepts. 
  4. Any Agri-University in India has not tried to scale it up.

It is not as if results are not available to India. Companies like Syngenta and Monsanto have been partnering with Agriculturists to reap the benefits in a partnering fashion. 


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  • 1 year later...

I am post graduate in Agriculture and experience in agriculture industry working in Research & Development function for 15 years and 5 years experience in Seed Production. I would like to learn Six Sigma and would like to know in which area of the process of Seed Industry it will help, also how it will support me in my career.  

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