Six Sigma is a quality improvement technique that was originally devised by the Motorola Company in the 1970's. At that time, U.S. companies were facing stiff competition from Japanese companies that somehow managed to manufacture better quality products. The Motorola Company realized this when a Japanese firm took over its television manufacturing unit and drastically improved quality by reducing the number of defects to about 1/20th of the number of defects that occurred under Motorola management.
This forced Motorola Company to focus their efforts on the development of new quality concepts and methodologies. This resulted in the development of some of the most basic quality concepts and techniques, all of which were together referred to as Six Sigma.
Changes Made Over The Years
With the development of newer technologies, it has also become possible to implement Six Sigma management programs in organizations belonging to the services sector. Many services sector companies such as those belonging to the telecommunications and Information technology industry have now implemented Six Sigma and are reaping the associated benefits.
It is now common knowledge that companies that implement Six Sigma concepts and methodologies deliver far better results vis-a-vis companies that do not.
Similarities Between Six Sigma And Other Management Programs
Six Sigma is treated as a management program because when we look closely at its various concepts, we find that it has various quality levels such as 3 sigma , 4 sigma, 5 sigma, and of course the highest quality standard, "6" Sigma. Depending on the aims and objectives of an organization and the resources available, its implementations aim to gradually reach the highest level of quality, i.e. "6" Sigma. This is just like any other management program that requires a specified period of time to take effect.
Although the main purpose of implementations is to improve the quality of products or services, the implementations also affect the overall efficiency of the organization by making improvements in existing business processes. Many a management program that are executed nowadays relate to human resource management and Six Sigma is no different because it also helps in improving employee satisfaction and morale.
When the programs are implemented, the work of employees gets more organized, which means employees have to do relatively lesser amount of work. Moreover, the complexity of existing business processes is also reduced when these programs are implemented in an organization.
The ultimate objective of management programs related to any of the functional departments is to improve profitability. This is probably one of the most basic similarities because ultimately the implementations also improve profitability, though it may seem that they are just reducing defects.
Improved business processes will directly improve profitability, as operational costs will be reduced. The indirect benefit is that better processes means better products and services, which ultimately helps in developing a vast group of loyal customers, necessary for maximizing profitability and for ensuring the success of the organization in the near future.
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.