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Six Sigma As The Ultimate Management Tool

Dec 25, 2007
Six Sigma uses two methodologies, namely DMAIC and DMADV to take care of the existing processes and the new processes that need to be developed for reducing the defects and raising the quality respectively. These two process improvement methodologies are recognized as the finest quality management system that the commercial world has ever experienced.

Six Sigma, The Stepping Stone To Success

The question that crosses everybody's mind is - what makes Six Sigma such a high caliber, fine quality process improvement tool? Six Sigma was Motorola's biggest and most successful implementation quality improvement process. The comprehensive and structured approach of 6 Sigma reportedly saved the company millions of dollars. The structure of Six Sigma covers the entire pyramid of the organization and requires everyone to devote 100% of their time towards implementation.

The best thing about the 6 Sigma approach is that it involves the entire organization in the implementation process. Top management is given key roles such as identifying and reviewing projects. The middle level management group consists of Champions and Master Black Belts that take it upon themselves to solve problems and remove any trans-jurisdictional bottlenecks.

Bottlenecks can pose a threat to successful implementation of the strategies and the Champions have to handle them like veteran combatants. The Master Black Belts, on the other hand, need to be extraordinarily talented in problem solving and in utilizing the complicated statistical tools. If an organization wants to reap all the benefits of Six Sigma, then everybody will be required to put their best foot forward and act in unison.

How Effective Is it?

The statistical tools that are used are very sophisticated, versatile and have a highly customized approach towards each problem. 6 Sigma is touted as the ultimate management tool - and why not - with its achievement level of 3.4 defects in per million chances, saving million of dollars for the company and satisfying customers. But is it really the ultimate management tool for an organization or is the success of 6 Sigma a result of just a lot of hype?

On January 22, 2001 the failure of 6 Sigma strategy to position Iridium, the satellite phone by Motorola as "the" satellite phone and erase all its competitors fell flat. The phone, despite the glitzy publicity and state-of-the-art engineering was a total flop and it also raised questions on the claims of Six Sigma being 99.9997% accurate and effective. It also threw light on another and till now unnoticed aspect of 6 Sigma and that is, Six Sigma only assures quality and not customer satisfaction.

Critics pointed out that there were certain statistical snags like the Six Sigma not moving methodically on to different assignments and not using tools like decision theory and cost-benefit analysis.

Therefore, we can conclude that Six Sigma is just a methodology to perfect the process and improve quality and thus, increasing the customer satisfaction level of those customers who buy the products.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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