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DPMO is the acronym for Defects Per Million Opportunities, a quality metric used in the calculation of the sigma level. It facilitates direct comparisons between processes with varying levels of complexity. The formula:

DPMO = (Number of Defects x 1,000,000) / (Number of Defect Opportunities Per Unit x Number of Units)


A call center manager has determined that the call resolution process has 15 opportunities for an error (defect). In the last week, the center has fielded 773,560 calls. On those calls, 85,450 errors were noted. The DPMO for the process is:

DPMO = (85,450 x 1,000,000) / (15 x 773,560) = 7,364.

Looking up a sigma level conversion table, the DPMO of 7,364 translates into a sigma level of 3.9.