Where You Stand

We would be surprised if you weren't saying to yourself right about now We're already doing some of those things. But remember, we've already noted that much of Six Sigma is not brand-new. What is new is its ability to bring together all these themes into a coherent management process. As you review this introduction and guide to the Six Sigma way, we encourage you to take stock of what you are already doing that supports the themes or tools of Six Sigma and keep doing them. Meanwhile, be...

Theme Five Boundaryless Collaboration

Boundarylessness is one of Jack Welch's mantras for business success. Years before launching Six Sigma, GE's chairman was working to break down barriers and improve teamwork, up, down, and across organizational lines. The opportunities available through improved collaboration within companies and with their vendors and customers are huge. Billions of dollars are left on the table (or on the floor) every day, because of disconnects and outright competition between groups that should be working...

The Tools and Themes of Six Sigma

Like most great inventions, Six Sigma is not all new. While some themes of Six Sigma arise out of fairly recent breakthroughs in management thinking, others have their foundation in common sense. Before you dismiss that origin as no big deal, we'd remind you of a saying we picked up once while working in Europe Common sense is the least common of the senses. From a tools perspective, Six Sigma is a pretty vast universe. Figure 1.2 summarizes many but by no means all of the most important Six...

The Actions behind the Results

GE's successes are the result of a passionate commitment and effort. Notes Welch In nearly four decades with GE I have never seen a Company initiative move so willingly and so rapidly in pursuit of a big idea.2 Tens of thousands of GE managers and associates have been trained in Six Sigma methods a hefty investment in time and money (which is appropriately deducted from the gains cited earlier). The training has gone well beyond Black Belts and teams to include every manager and professional at...

The Six Sigma Wave

As we've noted, it might be easy to dismiss Six Sigma as a fad if it weren't for the caliber of the results it's producing and the companies adopting it. In almost an antifad mentality, in fact, a number of prominent companies in industries from financial services to transportation to high-tech are quietly embarking on Six Sigma efforts. They're joining others who have been more vocal about their efforts, including Asea Brown Boveri, Black & Decker, Bombardier, Dupont, Dow Chemical, Federal...

So What Is Six Sigma

If you've read this far, you already know that Six Sigma is not some kind of new sorority or fraternity. On the other hand, there are different perspectives on what Six Sigma is. Business media often describe Six Sigma as a highly technical method used by engineers and statisticians to fine-tune products and processes. True, in part. Measures and statistics are a key ingredient of Six Sigma improvement but they are by no means the whole story. Another definition of Six Sigma is that it's a goal...

Six Sigmas Hidden Truthsand Potential Payoff Hidden Truth

Six Sigma encompasses a broad array of business best practices and skills (some advanced, some common sense) that are essential ingredients for success and growth. Where it's shown the most impressive impact, Six Sigma is much more than a detailed statistics-based analytical method. We'll address the full range of Six Sigma as it's being applied in these diverse and growing organizations. The Payoff You'll be able to apply Six Sigma to many different business activities and challenges from...

Six Sigma Changing Business Habits

A story from our early experiences implementing Six Sigma illustrates how this new approach to business impacts the very habits that drive an organization. We were working with leaders and Six Sigma project teams at one of largest business units of GE Capital (the first totally service-based company to launch Six Sigma). It was during a Gallery Walk at which the teams were explaining their progress to company leaders that the firm's CEO began challenging one of the team leaders. If you think...

Part Three Implementing Six Sigma The Roadmap and the Tools

This section focuses on the How-to of the major components and tools in the Six Sigma system. For those who want to begin doing the work of making Six Sigma gains or just want to know more about what's really involved in the effort this section should answer many of your questions. If your concern is about measurement, for example, you can concentrate on Chapter 14 if you're looking at redesigning a process, Chapter 16 will be your focus. We cover some of the more important advanced tools of...

Motorolaand Some Six Sigma History

Today, the very existence and success of electronics leader Motorola is tied to Six Sigma. It's the company that invented the concepts that have evolved into this comprehensive management system. And while GE has used Six Sigma to strengthen an already thriving company, for Motorola it was an answer to the question How do we stay in business. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Motorola was one of many U.S. and European corporations whose lunch (along with all other meals and snacks) was being eaten...

Key Features of the Six Sigma

This book is designed with maximum customer satisfaction in mind. We hope that by reading it you'll gain a complete picture of what's behind the Six Sigma movement, how it's paying off, and how you can implement the system so as to best fit your circumstances. Our goal is to provide a flexible resource and reference, whether you've been engaged in Six Sigma for several years or are just starting to learn and apply it. Here are some of the features that will help you get the most out of the book...

Is Six Sigma Really Different

Some people, when first exposed to Six Sigma concepts, complain that it's similar to the Total Quality efforts of the last 15 to 20 years. Indeed, the origins of many Six Sigma principles and tools are found in the teachings of influential quality thinkers like W Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran. In some companies GE and Motorola among them the terms quality and Six Sigma often go together. So it's true that in some ways Six Sigma's expansion is heralding a rebirth of the quality movement....

Final Philosophical Word

Lastly, we'd like to offer you a theme that we think represents one of the most important aspects of Six Sigma and hence will be key to your success in applying it to your business. In their book Built to Last, James Collins and Jerry Porras provide insights into many of the most successful and admired companies of the 20th century. The dimension that they found most remarkable among these firms is their ability and willingness to simultaneously adopt two seemingly contrary objectives at the...