Industry saw the advent of many quality tools till now. In the 1980s and 1990s the industry was enamored with the quality tool, TQM. Honeywell after the merger in 1999 is a six sigma success story followed by Motorola and GE. Larry Bossidy, the then CEO of Allied Signal the old name of Honey well convinced the managers that Six Sigma has stuff in it and is worth considering. AlliedSignal started its quality improvement initiatives through Six Sigma from the beginning of 1990s and by the year 1999 was saving about more than $600 million annually with the widespread use of Six Sigma by training the employees in its application and principles. Not only did the cost of reworking the defective work was minimized and reduced, Allied started implementing Six Sigma in its design of new products such as the aircraft engines and reduced the time of design from 42 months to 33 months. Many companies adopted Six Sigma after this and slowly TQM started departing and there was a new wave of Six Sigma which started spreading at a rapid pace.
The six sigma wave
Companies might have rejected Six Sigma thinking its another quality tool fad that has arrived but the usage of six sigma has been predominantly increasing owing to the result its producing and the potential it has to change a company altogether and bring it to the path of excellence in all aspects.
The benefits that companies derived from the usage and application of Six Sigma was huge and that is precisely the reason why companies like GE who were already performing well adopted Six Sigma.
The benefits are:
- Generates sustained success and creates an environment of constant revival.
- Sets a performance goal for everyone in any company size.
- Enhances value to internal and external customers.
- Accelerates the rate of improvement.
- Promotes learning and creates a learning organization.
- Executes preventive and strategic change and saves cost.
The Road map of Six Sigma
What do the studies suggest?
Several empirical studies were conducted since 1990 on various quality tools like TQM and six sigma linking the quality efforts with the organizational performance which includes growth, profits, operating costs and income, employee satisfaction and turnover, customer satisfaction and many other such metrics. Most of the quantitative research findings say that the effective implementation of six sigma led to an average saving of 1.7 percent of revenue and an average return of more than $ 2 in the direct savings of the organization for every dollar invested on Six Sigma implementation.
As Six Sigma has various processes and inter-process synchronization has to be done and Six Sigma can be virtually implemented in any organization be it a BPO, financial sector or the manufacturing sector. Thus it requires vigorous training and understanding of the business processes and their relationships.
Owing to the mass usage and application of Six Sigma principles there has been different grades of Six Sigma experts like the Black and Green belts and their respective certification which signifies the level of expertise of the employee. Many organizations get their employees trained on Six Sigma and many recruit the certified Six Sigma specialists.