An annual meeting of GE was held in Boca Raton in January 1996. The managers attending the meeting discussed the possibility of embracing Six Sigma with the ambition that it would prove to be the ‘best and the brightest method ever deployed by GE. Resultantly, GE witnessed growth in operating margin to 18.9 percent in the year 2000, from 14.8 percent four years earlier. (Morris) As such the paper strives to explore the process of six sigma is a set of methods focusing on improving quality along with a robust technique to reduce costs.
Change is considered inevitable whether it is in manufacturing processes or systems of information and technology. It motivates the people in organizations to try new things other than just simple and ordinary. There are some managers against the concept of learning altogether new software, while some front-line employees are not in the favor of receiving extensive training necessary to develop an innovative distribution system. Some middle managers are against coordination activities implemented in training sessions. It is the theme of ‘resistance to change’ in a firm that encompasses quality improvement projects of Six Sigma.
Resistance to change is vital while performing different projects, whereas the element of change comprises small as well large changes like those due to economic recession or prosperity. The change significantly supports in resolving problems through utilization of tools or methods as swift development projects and kaizen statistical analysis or Six Sigma.
Methodology of Quality Management
Six Sigma is described as an exclusive methodology related to quality management that supports businesses with such methods or tools that can be effectively used for improving the overall ability of processes in any business. This enhancement in performance, as well as a reduction in the variation of processes, ultimately results in a reduction of defects and considerable improvements in profits, boosting the morale of employees and continuous quality improvement also.
Six Sigma is both a qualitative measure and a plan for improving processes that were initially implemented by Motorola in the decade of 1980. It concentrates on certain control measures related to a process up to the specific position of Six Sigma from 3.4 defects per million items. It is pertinent to mention that Six Sigma identifies such elements that are vital for an integral part of quality as desired by the customer. Moreover, it significantly reduces variations in processes, increases steadiness; improves capabilities, and designs related systems for accomplishing the goals set for Sigma.
The paradigm of Six Sigma is, in fact, a superlative and disciplined quality approach that can support organizations to concentrate on not only developing but delivering almost perfect products or services. It is primarily based on Joseph Juran’s statistical work. Juran was a Rumanian-born, United States pioneer of the famous and highly praised quality management. The word ‘Sigma’ is a sign used in Greece for a particular statistical term that effectively measures the variation of a process from perfection. In case the sigma number is more, then the goal of perfection is almost accomplished. As Six sigma is narrated as just 3.4 defects per million the primary theme behind Six Sigma is that; if defects can be measured in a process, it can be easily computed how they could be eliminated reducing to almost ‘zero defects’.
Fulfillment of Customer Requirements
The concept of Six Sigma has developed in the last two decades. It has practical, conceptual, as well as literal elaborations and can be used at three distinctive levels; as a metric; as a methodology; and as a management system. Since Six Sigma is mostly used as a specific scale of quality, by using such scale it equates to 3.4 defects per one million and ultimately can be applied in different processes of the business for the same objectives.
To understand as well as fulfill customer requirements it is essential to align the major business processes to accomplish such requirements. Through using accurate, rigorous, and meticulous data analysis as a methodology with the main intention to reduce variation in the success process swift and sustainable improvements can be ensured in the business processes.
At the core of improvement methodology in Six Sigma is a particular model aimed to improve processes and comprise elements such as; define opportunity; measure performance; analyze opportunity; improve performance, and control performance. Practiced as an exclusive management system, it is a high-performance program for implementing business strategy. Six Sigma is considered a top-down solution to support firms. Six Sigma aligns business plans and strategy to fundamental and vital improvement endeavors for managing high-profile projects. It accelerates positive business results and administers attempts to ensure that resulted improvements made in the processes and margins are sustained.
The system of Six Sigma drives precision and transparency in the strategies implemented by the business and the metrics that exhibit accomplishments with that strategy. It also provides the necessary structure to apply resources in a project that can help improve the metrics and also motivating leaders who manage the endeavors for swift, improved, and sustainable business results.
The six Sigma process generally has five stages. First is the ‘definition’ which clarifies complications and narrows its range in such a way that measurable objectives can be accomplished in just a few months. Then a team is formed to supervise the process in-depth, recommend improvements, and ultimately implement such recommendations.
The second stage is ‘measurement’ in which data is collected by the team and then make necessary arrangements for presenting it to high-levels to make analysis. The third stage is ‘Analysis’ in which the team of Six Sigma can commence analysis after the process has been documented and the quality of data has been verified. Often, the team members commence by recognizing certain methods in which employees fail to ensure necessary control and handle activities at each stage.
‘Improvement’ is the fourth stage in which the team makes recommendations, executes decisions, and employs improvements. The fifth and last stage is ‘Control’. In this stage, the team establishes controls that enable the organization to extend and sustain the improvements. Every stage of Six Sigma brings particular responsibilities including approvals, financial supports, project creation as well as execution. In a firm with level-particular, contributions, cooperation and coordination are vital to the accomplishment of goals set for a Six Sigma project.
Betsy Morris, senior writer in ‘Fortune’ has described the role of Six Sigma in an article on July 11, 2006. Betsy has highlighted that organizations adopt Six Sigma as a set of methods for two primary objectives; improvement in quality, and reduction in costs. Betsy has presented evidence to support the significance of Six Sigma by quoting the details of GE annual managers’ meeting in Boca Raton in January 1996. Six Sigma was expected to be the most ambitious undertaking taken ever by GE. The results ratified their decision as operating margins increased from 18.9 % in 2000 to 14.8% four years earlier. (Morris)
Six Sigma is a superlative as well as a disciplined qualitative theme that can support organizations to improve quality while reducing costs significantly. Six Sigma is mostly used as a specific scale of quality, by using such scale it equates to 3.4 defects per one million. Therefore, on the strength of arguments presented in the paper and the evidence quoted in the ‘Fortune’ article by Betsy Morris showing substantial improvement in the operating margins of a company, it can be safely concluded that Six Sigma is an effective approach adopted by the companies for dual purposes of improving quality and reducing costs at the same time.
Morris, Betsy, “New rule: Look out, not in. Old rule: Be lean and mean,” Fortune 2006. Web.