Six Sigma is a powerful set of statistical and management tools and methodologies that can create dramatic increases in customer satisfaction, productivity and shareholder value. It is based on improving process targeting and reducing variation in a business process. It can also be a great way to improve organization and cultural development!
The Six Sigma approach has been used with great success in leading companies such as GE, Johnson & Johnson, Allied Signal, and Quest Diagnostics. It was first begun at Motorola, but received international acclaim when Jack Welch at GE began touting it as the approach that would save his company billions of dollars. It has...and the rest is history.
What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a statistical measure of process capability that lets you measure the quality of your business’ products and services.A level of Six Sigma (about 3 defects per every million) represents the highest quality: virtually all products and business processes are defect-free. But most companies today function at only 3 to 4 sigma and lose 10-15% of their total revenue due to defects. Four sigma still means 6,210 defects per million opportunities!
What does that mean? If your goal was 99% quality, you'd still have:
- One hour of unsafe drinking water per month
- Two unsafe plane landings per day at O'Hare International Airport, Chicago
- 16,000 pieces of lost mail every hour
- 500 incorrect surgical operations per week
Six Sigma was originally "named" at Motorola by a manager working to improve their manufacturing processes. When Jack Welch began using it at GE, he made sure that it was applied to the entire company - services as well as manufacturing. At GE Capital, for instance, Six Sigma was applied to improving response time to financial and leasing customers. In 1999 alone, GE saved $2 billion using Six Sigma principles.
|"Process Excellence [which includes Six Sigma] has been an important contributor to productivity efforts that have helped us to eliminate more than $5 billion in costs over the past five years." |
Ralph Larssen, CEO, Johnson & Johnson
How is Six Sigma Different?
Is Six Sigma really different from other approaches? Although many of the tools are old, Six Sigma gives you:
- A top-down approach, linked to strategy, sponsored by leaders
- Puts customer requirements first
- Applicable to all business processes - administrative, sales, marketing, R&D, etc.
- Fact based, data driven
- Results-oriented, hands-on way to develop critical managerial skills
- Projects based on top and bottom-line impact
- Exponential improvement targets
When done correctly, Six Sigma becomes a way toward organization and cultural development. It is more than a set of tools!
To learn more about what makes us different - and how we can help you in your effort - see courses , consulting services and check out the Six Sigma Interactive above!
Learn more about Rath & Strong's Six Sigma Training today!