Six Sigma–Creating a Six Sigma Focus


In the ninth chapter of the book Six Sigma:  The Breakthrough Strategy Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations, the authors Ikel Harry, Ph.D., and Richard Schroeder talk about the implementation and deployment of the strategy after having described it in chapter 7.

A company can focus on Six Sigma by focusing on one or more of the following four areas:

  1. Project Cost Savings–a company can determine the number of projects it needs to complete to save a specific dollar amount.  Projects are selected for potential reductions in fixed and/or variable costs.  The authors feel that this is a limited approach, especially when trying to establish a new mind-set about quality throughout the organization.
  2. Deliverables–a company can focus on the product family or system that is the greatest cause of poor customer satisfaction.   However, the authors feel that this approach needs the company to go beyond focusing on products, and to examine the processes that contribute to that product’s poor customer satisfaction.
  3. Processes–this is the approach that the authors recommend over the first two, because companies that focus on processes over costs or products will find that correcting a process in one division will almost always have positive spillover effects for other divisions within the company.
  4. Problems–another alternative way of focusing on Six Sigma is to describe it in terms of problems and solutions, rather than just inputs and outputs of processes.   The authors feel that this is just another way of looking at the application of Six Sigma, but that the focus will have to be sooner or later on the processes that cause these problems, and the improvement or even elimination of these processes is the same thing as finding a solution to the problem.

These are the main ways of focusing on Six Sigma by focusing on product quality.   But what if a company focuses on specific products, especially those within a key product line?   There are five additional ways to focus Six Sigma based on this approach, and these will be taken up in the next post.

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