Six Sigma is a new business strategy that is based on removing the errors in the system and creating an infrastructure within an organization that only employs experts in their fields. Originally implemented by Motorola, this process uses the statistical data to identify the problems and is applied for the variation of manufacturing and then business processes. Six Sigma follows simple procedures at first but in the core is healthy with its result orientation. It was designed to remove errors in the manufacturing process so that the customer dissatisfaction ratio is decreased. Today various organizations have successfully implemented this technique to get improved customer satisfaction. Six Sigma word was inspired by its six preceding decades that were based on Total Quality Management, Quality Control and Zero Defects. Then six sigma was used in the measuring of the statistical data in short term six sigma levels.
Basic method of six sigma is abbreviated as DMAIC. D for the designing of the goals, M for measuring of the current business situations, A for analyzing the data available, I for the improvements of the processes based on experiments and C for the controlling abilities which require changes in the strategy according. Another term DFSS is also used which is abbreviated as Design For Six Sigma is a more determined form of the six sigma which is used by different organizations according to their requirements.
Another term DMADV is also another form of DMAIC as the words typically used in this form mean same for the previous term.
The main emphasis of six sigma is on the changing of the infrastructure. When this happens, the whole organizational structure and culture also changes. Six sigma therefore also identifies certain roles in different management positions. First level is the executive management that looks at the whole implementation processes of six sigma. Then comes the champions who are responsible for the practical implementation within organization. Master Black Belts are those who have all the experience of six sigma and they provide recommendations accordingly. Black Belts work under the Master Black Belts and provide assistance to the Green Belts. Green Belts are the employees who actually take care of all the procedures.
There are numerous tools that are used in the six sigma implementation. The main purpose of six sigma is to provide quality with satisfaction and with lesser number of defects in the products. Some of them are control chart, histograms, analysis of variance etc. that all look into statistical data for the improving of the whole system.
Motorola was the first one to introduce this method into their ranks. At that time Motorola was a defective name in the market where even the CEO said that their quality stinks. In the mid 1980s, Motorola started to emphasize upon their quality management. They used the variance method for quality and soon were producing around 3.4 defects per million products which were more than thousands some years back. The implementation of the strategy looked at the desired results and the original manufacturing capability. Soon Motorola launched the Razr cell phone which was all but based on the six sigma where even the antennas were made to hide when the quality becomes optimal.
The six sigma business model soon became a worldwide business gospel and various organizations followed the footsteps of Motorola as until now it has become the quality name. General Electric was also going through the same problems when it implemented the six sigma business model. Jack Welsh initiated this process by first requiring his employees to become more purposeful and should think like engineers at first place. GE plans included that around 2000; GE will be looking at the successful completion of the six sigma business model in their every department. More importantly as six sigma requires the cultural and structural change, Welsh invested highly on the same employees and made them equipped with certain techniques and tools that they could effectively use.
Other organizations also followed Motorola and GE soon. The innovations in the business procedures were becoming more requirement than probability. The customer satisfaction was becoming an important tool for success and with the formation of the defective products; it was becoming difficult for organizations to stay up in the competition. Ford Motors had a slogan of “Quality s Job 1” in 1980s. But since then it has fallen in the quality and lost many customers. The problem lied in the inability of the staff to carefully work upon the manufacturing processes. Soon Ford Motors found them in the seventh place in the world biggest automakers. The change was needed and Ford Motors delivered it. They delivered it by redefining the whole of their way to do business. Six sigma was implemented in their manufacturing process. Variance and histograms were used to find the flaws. The customer dissatisfaction was taken into account and then the new Ford Motors was revealed which had increased its quality more than ever before.
Toshiba the electronics giant has always worked with quality. Though they didn’t have continuous problems, but they still implemented six sigma model in their manufacturing. In fact Toshiba has been continuously working in conjunction with various world renowned universities that could create different new tools for the measuring of statistical data. They have been the strict followers of six sigma and their products show that which rarely are defective.
Wal-Mart after their creation didn’t have the best of the business policies that could work for them. Even though being a retailed company they always emphasized on the customer satisfaction. That is why they were always having their customers back. Most of their products are made in the developing countries because of the cheap labor but the standard of those institutions are according to the six sigma business procedures. They have high class team that follows certain strategies on the ground that has helped them become the biggest retailers in the world.
No matter how big or small a company is, the importance of six sigma business model is inevitable. The changes in the repute of the organizations like Motorola and Ford are in front of us. In the similar way any organization that follows the same plans can exceed the expectations and can become a successful entity.