Two important cases of companies working under the Six Sigma thinking

As we have seen in this blog, one of the most significant methods for improving productivity is Six Sigma. Through this technique, organizations can not just to increase their processes quality but also to be more competitive, reducing manufacturing costs and giving better benefits to their customers. Implementing the Six Sigma thinking in a particular organization, not only can help companies to organize their procedures and activities but also have cleaner processes and better working spaces.

The Six Sigma philosophy could be defined as one of the best methods for reducing or removing defects in the production processes for having better products or services. In other words, it is an excellent way for giving to customers what they need with the best quality standards. The main objective for the Six Sigma thinking is to have 3,4 errors in one million of opportunities, obtaining a 99,99% of effectivity, which means better products and more satisfied customers.

In this post, we will see some companies from different industries, implementing successfully the Six Sigma philosophy in their processes. But first, it is important to understand where this methodology comes from and to know what their roots were. Let’s see two important methodologies that were created before the Six Sigma approach.

The Total Quality Management

This method was developed in Japan between 1950 and 1960 by W. Edwards Deming and  Joseph Juran, two American engineers and experts in the quality improving. These two experts developed this thinking through the Denim Circle, a quality control technique for making better manufacturing processes. Some years later, the Total Quality Management approach was adopted by multiple organizations not only in Japan but in the entire world, being used in different industries like manufacturing, banking, education, government, among other fields.

Basically, the Total Quality Management methodology is an improving technique where all the processes are involved and go from the CEO to the last worker. Put differently, this thinking is focused on improving every aspect from every process for increasing the productivity and it involves every actor which makes part of this.

Thanks to the Total Quality Management and its evolution, the Six Sigma technique was born, adapting some elements of this methodology, giving birth to the model that is well known today.

The Statistical Process Control

This is another technique which complements the Total Quality Management for giving origin to the Six Sigma philosophy. Basically, the Statistical Process Control involves statistical procedures to monitor the production processes in companies, letting them know how they are working, showing trends and insights to be more productive and competitive.

Energy Efficient Processors
Image courtesy of Intel Free Press at Flickr.com

This method not only gives to organizations the possibility of being more productive but also let them reduce and remove those wasting activities that make processes more efficient and effective. In other words, thanks to the Statistical Process Control approach, companies are able to determine where the most unproductive and unnecessary activities are, so they can improve or remove them.

Understanding the contribution of these two methods, then we can talk about some organizations implementing the Six Sigma approach and how they benefited from it.

General Electric

Created in 1825 in Schenectady, New York by Thomas Edison, Charles A. Coffin, Elihu Thomson and Edwin J. Houston, this giant corporation has used the Six Sigma thinking for creating different products. Through its 125 years of life, General Electric has been a significant part in different industries like Aircraft engines, Appliances, Electrical distribution, Electric motors, Energy, Software, among other fields. In 2016, this company had incomes for more than $9 billion dollars and employed more than 300.000 workers around the world.

A few years ago, General Electric developed the Durathon, a more powerful battery than the regular ones, having 10 times more durability and having a smaller size. This was possible, thanks to the Six Sigma approach, which let this company reduce the production defects both in the production procedures and in the product delivery.

Bank of America

Founded in 1902 by Amadeo Giannini, an Italian-American banker, the Bank of America is considered one of the biggest financial institutions not only in the United States but in the world. Currently, this organization has incomes for more than $17 billion dollars and more than 200.000 employees in the world.

Under the leadership of Barbara J. Desoer for the technology department, this bank applied different initiatives supported by the Six Sigma approach to giving to their customers better services and support. Basically, this methodology was applied to the bank through multiple technological projects which were focused on the integration of all those separated activities which had the same purpose, making them a single body, giving more productivity and efficiency.

We have seen two excellent samples about the implementation of the Six Sigma thinking, but there are other huge companies working under this model, like 3M, AXA, Dell, DAMCO, Motorola, Wipro, and much more.

Related: How To Understand The Basics Of Six Sigma by David Kiger

* Featured Image courtesy of Fagor Automation at Flickr.com

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