Six Sigma is a data-driven leadership approach using specific tools and methodologies that lead to fact-based decision making. This paper deals with the application of the Six Sigma methodology in reducing defects in a fine grinding process of an automotive company in India. The DMAIC (Define–Measure–Analyse–Improve–Control) approach has been followed here to solve the underlying problem of reducing process variation and improving the process yield. This paper explores how a manufacturing process can use a systematic methodology to move towards world-class quality level. The application of the Six Sigma methodology resulted in reduction of defects in the fine grinding process from 16.6 to 1.19%. The DMAIC methodology has had a significant financial impact on the profitability of the company in terms of reduction in scrap cost, man-hour saving on rework and increased output. A saving of approximately US$2.4 million per annum was reported from this project. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.