Nothing puts a chill into system devotees more than the idea that the scheme they rely on, whether it be Total Quality Management, lean or their FranklinCovey Planner, is not "the answer." That's been the case in some quarters for Six Sigma, the celebrated methodology developed at Motorola in 1986 and championed most famously by former General Electric CEO Jack Welch as a way to improve productivity and cut costs by identifying and eliminating defects in manufacturing processes and other business areas.
During the late 1990s, Six Sigma--a quality improvement process based on producing fewer than 3.4 defects per million--was credited for astounding results in improving quality and reducing costs. At General Electric alone, thousands of projects were estimated to have added $5bn to the firm's net earnings over its first five years of implementation. To date, Motorola pegs the financial benefits of Six Sigma at more than $17bn.
But is Six Sigma's reign as the answer to company productivity improvement coming to a close?
Source: Industry Week
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