WHAT IS SIX SIGMA?
Daniel L. Quinn
At the end of the day, Six Sigma is much less of a technical program,
although it has a lot of technical tools, than it is a leadership and cultural
Interview with Dave Cote, President and CEO, Honeywell International
We are doing Six Sigma as part of our process improvement initiative. I
see Six Sigma, indeed, as the natural next step in how we get process
improvement done. Six Sigma is a more high-powered set of tools than
our previous methods, plus its basic philosophy forces people like
myself, the leaders of the business, to think beyond our existing management
techniques and perhaps our existing management philosophy.
Interview with Stephen J. Senkowski, President and CEO,
Armstrong Building Products
Six Sigma is a management framework that, in the past 15 years, has
evolved from a focus on process improvement using statistical tools to a comprehensive
framework for managing a business. The results that world-class
companies such as General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Honeywell,
Motorola, and many others have accomplished speak for themselves. Six
Sigma has become a synonym for improving quality, reducing cost, improving
customer loyalty, and achieving bottom-line results.
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON SIX SIGMA
We quickly learned if we could control variation, we could get all the
parts and processes to work and get to an end result of 3.4 defects per
million opportunities, or a Six Sigma level. Our people coined the term
and it stuck. It was shorthand for people to understand that if you can
control the variation, you can achieve remarkable results.
Interview with Robert W. Galvin, Chairman Emeritus of Motorola, Inc.
In the mid-1980s, Motorola, under the leadership of Robert W. Galvin,
was the initial developer of Six Sigma. Most credit the late Bill Smith for
inventing Six Sigma; Smith, a senior engineer and scientist within Motorola’s
Communications Division, had noted that its final product tests had not predicted
the high level of system failure rates Motorola was experiencing. He
suggested that the increasing level of complexity of the system and the resulting
high number of opportunities for failure could be possible causes for this.
He came to the conclusion that Motorola needed to require a higher level of
internal quality, and he brought this idea to then-CEO Bob Galvin’s attention,
persuading him that Six Sigma should be set as a quality goal. This high goal
for quality was new, as was Smith’s way of viewing reliability of a whole
process (as measured by mean time to failure) and quality (as measured by
process variability and defect rates).
Motorola had always been a pioneer in the areas of productivity and quality.
In the 1980s, Motorola had been the site for presentations of quality and
productivity improvement programs by a number of experts, including
Joseph M. Juran, Dorian Shainin (our colleague at Rath & Strong), Genichi
Taguchi, and Eliyahu Goldratt. Mikel Harry, now president of the Six Sigma
Academy and coauthor of Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy
Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations, was an attendee of some
of these programs; inspired in part by their thinking, he developed a program
for the Government Electronics Division of Motorola that included Juran’s
quality journey, Statistical Process Control (SPC), and Shainin’s advanced
diagnostic tools (ADT) and planned experimentation (PE).
Harry then worked with Smith on the Six Sigma initiative. Harry led
Motorola’s Six Sigma Institute and later formed his own firm specializing in
the subject. Smith and Harry’s initial Six Sigma umbrella included SPC,
ADT, and PE. Later, they added Design for Manufacturability (product capability
and product complexity), accomplishing quality through projects and
linking quality to business performance.
Meeting the challenge Galvin had set in 1981 to improve quality by tenfold
and developing Six Sigma helped Motorola to win the first Malcolm
Baldrige National Quality Award in 1989. In line with Galvin’s policy of
openness and in response to the interest generated by the Baldrige Award,
Motorola shared the details of its Six Sigma framework widely.
In the mid-1990s, AlliedSignal’s Larry Bossidy and GE’s Jack Welch saw
in Six Sigma a way to lead their organizations’ cultural change through Six
Sigma initiatives and also achieve significant cost savings. In 1998, Business
Week reported that GE had saved $330 million through Six Sigma, double
Welch’s previous prediction. Interest in Six Sigma really took off after that
article appeared, an interest that was fed by GE’s continued success with Six
Sigma and Jack Welch’s speeches and books.
SIX SIGMA DEFINED
The Six Sigma of today speaks the language of management: bottom-line
results. It institutionalizes a rigorous, disciplined, fact-based way to deliver
more money to the bottom line through process improvement and process
design projects—selected by the top leadership and led by high potentials
trained as Black Belts or Master Black Belts in Six Sigma—that aim to create
near-perfect processes, products, and services all aligned to delivering
what the customer wants. In successful implementations, the majority of Six
Sigma projects are selected for measurable bottom-line or customer impact
that is completed within two to six months. The projects deliver through the
application of a well-defined set of statistical tools and process improvement
techniques by well-trained people in an organization that has made it clear
that Six Sigma is a career accelerator.
In our practice, we see companies viewing Six Sigma in two ways: as a set
of powerful tools for improving processes and products and as an approach
for improving both the process- and people-related aspects of business performance.
Six Sigma is used as a hands-on approach to developing leadership
and change management skills. The companies that achieve the greatest benefits
from Six Sigma leverage the linkages between people, processes, customer,
and culture. In its 2000 annual report, GE describes the changes
brought by Six Sigma this way: “Six Sigma has turned the Company’s focus
from inside to outside, changed the way we think and train our future leaders
and moved us toward becoming a truly customer-focused organization.”
While Six Sigma was invented at Motorola in the late 1980s, Six Sigma has
had antecedents over the past 100 years. In this section we highlight some of
the important developments, methodologies, and lessons learned that Six
As far back as 1776, in The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith identified the
economies of scale made possible with specialization in manufacturing. During
the early years of the twentieth century, systems were developed for disaggregating
manufacturing work processes into subsystems and components
in the effort to increase efficiency. Modern organizations are still based on the
specialization of labor and the fragmentation of processes into simpler tasks.
These principles are generally thought of as starting with Frederick W. Taylor
and the scientific theory of management. We’ll start our look backward
How Companies Define Six Sigma
It is enlightening to compare how various companies—including leading
proponents of Six Sigma—define it for their employees and their customers.
General Electric: What Is Six Sigma?
The Road Map to Customer Impact
“First, what it is not. It is not a secret society, a slogan, or a cliché. Six Sigma
is a highly disciplined process that helps us focus on developing and delivering
near-perfect products and services. Why ‘Sigma’? The word is a statistical
term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection.
The central idea behind Six Sigma is that if you can measure how many
‘defects’ you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how to
eliminate them and get as close to ‘zero defects’ as possible. Six Sigma has
changed the DNA at GE—it is now the way we work—in everything we do
and in every product we design.”
What Is Six Sigma?
“Six Sigma is a structured and disciplined, data-driven process for improving
business. TRW is committed to the implementation of Six Sigma
focusing on how we can dramatically improve our competitiveness by
increasing customer focus, enhancing employee involvement, instilling
positive change into our culture and ultimately creating bottom and top
line growth. At the highest level, Six Sigma is all about satisfying customer
needs profitably. It is a highly disciplined methodology that helps develop
and effectively deliver near-perfect products and services. It will help
TRW in all of our operations, engineering, manufacturing and staff areas.”
Six Sigma Plus
“Six Sigma is one of the most potent strategies ever developed to accelerate
improvements in processes, products, and services, and to radically
reduce manufacturing and/or administrative costs and improve quality. It
achieves this by relentlessly focusing on eliminating waste and reducing
defects and variations.
“Leading-edge companies are applying this bottom-line enhancing
strategy to every function in their organizations—from design and engineering
to manufacturing to sales and marketing to supply management--
for dramatic savings.
“Now, Honeywell has developed a new generation of Six Sigma . . . Six
Sigma Plus is Morris Township, NJ–headquartered Honeywell’s principal
engine for driving growth and productivity across all its businesses, including
aerospace, performance polymers, chemicals, automation and control, transportation,
and power systems, among others. In addition to manufacturing,
Honeywell applies Six Sigma Plus to all of its administrative functions.”
Was Six Sigma Part of the Natural
Progression of Quality, or Was It a Totally
New Event and a New Thrust?
BOB GALVIN: I think it was both. You could lean either way in terms of the
natural intelligence that finally emerged. Was it a great discovery or just
remarkably good mathematics and common sense? You can interpret it
MIKEL HARRY: I think Six Sigma is now squarely focused on quality of
business, where TQM is concerned with the business of quality. That is,
when you adopt TQM, you become involved in the business of doing quality,
and when you adopt Six Sigma, you’re concerned about the quality of
business. In a nutshell, TQM is a defect-focused quality improvement initiative,
whereas Six Sigma is an economics-based strategic business management
system. Didn’t start off that way, but it has evolved that way.
So I see Six Sigma as a vector change. As I look across the history of
quality from the era of craftsmanship, it’s fairly continuous; each step is a
logical continuance of the preceding step, built off the same fundamental
core beliefs and principles, whereas Six Sigma represents a radical departure
from that continuum. It’s actually a reassessment of quality from a
whole new perspective and frame of reference. It’s a reinvention of the history,
if you will, but it’s a birth of a new history, and that’s the way to say
it. It’s been the evolution of a business management revolution.10
1900 to 1920s: Scientific Management and Statistics
Taylor and Scientific Management. Frederick W. Taylor’s techniques,
which became known as scientific management, made work tangible and
measurable through analyzing manufacturing processes and turning them
into a set of tasks that could be standardized and made repetitive. With work
fragmented into a multitude of tasks, a managerial system was then required
to control work. The concept of the separation of planning and execution was
central to Taylor’s system. Taylor advocated planning departments staffed by
engineers with the following responsibilities:
• Developing scientific methods for doing work
• Establishing goals for productivity
• Establishing systems of rewards for meeting the goals
• Training the personnel in how to use the methods and thereby meet
the goals Taylor’s system dealt a blow to the concept of craftsmanship in managing
work or quality as a single end-to-end process. In 1911, The Principles of Scientific
Management, a collection of his writings, was published. By the
1920s, Taylor’s methods were widely adopted and Taylor’s ideas had influence
across the globe.
Ford Assembly Line. Henry Ford adopted four principles in his goal to
efficiently produce an automobile at an affordable price: interchangeable
parts, continuous flow, division of labor, and a reduction of wasted effort.
Influenced by Taylor’s ideas and Ford’s own observations of improved work
flow in other industries, the assembly of the Model T, first produced in 1908,
was broken down into 84 distinct steps, with each worker trained to do just
one. Ford had Taylor do time-and-motion studies to determine the exact
speed at which the work should proceed and the exact motions workers
should use to accomplish their tasks. In 1913, Ford’s experiments and innovations
came together in the first moving assembly line used for large-scale
manufacturing. Ford’s early methods are a foundation of Just-in-Time and
Walter A. Shewhart and Statistical Process Control. Quality engineering
can trace its origins to the applications of statistical methods for control of quality
in manufacturing. Much of the early work was done at Bell Telephone Laboratories,
where bothWalter Shewhart and Dr. Joseph M. Juran worked in the
1920s. In 1924, Shewhart first sketched out the control chart.What has survived
of that early work is the Shewhart control chart and what has become known as
Statistical Process Control. Shewhart’s work laid the foundation not only for
the use of engineering methods to specify work processes, but also for the use
of statistical methods that quantify the quality and variability of processes.
1950s: Deming, Juran, and Feigenbaum and the
Japanese Quality Emergency
Japanese upper management—presidents and general managers—assumed
the leadership of the quality function in response to the quality emergency of
the 1950s. Shoddy quality had made Japanese goods uncompetitive. The
postwar rebuilding of Japanese industry was seen by industry leaders as a
unique opportunity to radically deal with this problem.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Dr. Armand Feigenbaum, and Dr. Joseph M.
Juran are widely credited with helping the Japanese revolutionize their quality
and competitiveness after World War II, and they served as consultants to
the Japanese in the ensuing decades. The three became prominent in the
United States after the Japanese quality revolution struck fear into American
business. Although their contributions are many and complex, what we want
to do here is simply point out contributions that are important to our understanding
of the origins of Six Sigma.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Known for introducing statistical quality control
to Japan, Deming also placed great importance on the responsibility of management,
believing it to be responsible for 94 percent of quality problems.
Deming is also associated with the “plan-do-check-act” (PDCA) cycle as a
universal improvement cycle (also known as the Shewhart cycle, as Shewhart
first advocated its use).
Dr. Joseph M. Juran. Juran developed the quality trilogy—quality planning,
quality control, and quality improvement. Juran associated quality with
customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction, emphasized ongoing quality
improvement through a succession of improvement projects, and believed
upper management leadership of the quality function was critical. Juran also
emphasized reducing the cost of poor quality as a key to competitiveness.
Dr. Armand Feigenbaum. Known as the originator of “total quality control”
or “total quality,” Feigenbaum defined total quality as an effective system
to ensure production and service at the most economical levels that allow
1960s to 1980s: Japanese Quality Revolution
Japanese companies chose to train almost all managers in the science of
quality. Unlike in theWest, quality responsibility and training were not confined
to members of specialized quality functions. From the 1950s onward,
Japanese companies undertook a massive training program in quality for
employees and instituted annual programs of quality improvement. They
also instituted a project concept of quality improvements. Improvement
breakthroughs were made project by project under the guidance of managers
who selected the improvement projects and mobilized and guided
The Toyota Production System (TPS). TPS is perhaps the premier example
known in the West of these Japanese methodologies. Its practices--
kanban and quality circles, for example—have been widely studied and
used in the West, often without achieving the same results. In the 1970s,
TPS was equated with Just-in-Time production methods. Stephen Spear
and H. Kent Bowen believe the reason that U.S. companies have rarely
achieved the kind of results that Toyota has is that they confuse the tools
with the system itself. According to Spear and Bowen’s research, four
basic rules capture the tacit knowledge that underlies the Toyota Production
1. All work shall be highly specified as to content, timing, and outcome.
2. Every customer-supplier connection must be direct, and there must be
an unambiguous yes-or-no way to send requests and receive responses.
3. The pathway for every product and service must be simple and direct.
4. Any improvement must be made in accordance with the scientific
method, under the guidance of a teacher, at the lowest possible level in
In this system, expert knowledge requires the addition of the knowledge of
the people doing the work to improve the process; the people doing the work
need the guidance and help of leader-teachers to apply the scientific method
in a controlled project to achieve improvement. In the Toyota Production
System and in Japanese concepts of quality in general, processes, people,
and behaviors are seen as inextricably linked in a culture of continuous
1980s to 1990s: The American Quality Movement
Loss of market share, especially dramatic in the automotive and electronic
industries, ultimately led to a reinvention of manufacturing in North America,
beginning with the rediscovery of Statistical Process Control (SPC) and the
introduction of quality circles, through Just-in-Time (JIT) and Total Quality
Management (TQM) to business process reengineering (BPR) to Lean Manufacturing
and Six Sigma.
Just-in-Time and Lean Manufacturing. Lean Manufacturing represents a
rebirth in the United States of the powerful methods and concepts of the Toyota
Production System, and Chapter 6 of this book is devoted to it.We will just
say here that JIT, like its predecessor, failed in many cases because its implementation
focused on the tools and characteristics rather than on the underlying
principles of TPS. Lean and Six Sigma are used side by side in some
Total Quality Management (TQM). In application, TQM generally
focused on organizational results rather than on business results. Although
the mantra of customer focus was chanted, the tools for integrating what the
customer required were not rigorous. Also, even while having a mind-set
toward improving processes, entrenched Taylorism, along with the tendency
of companies to ghettoize these improvement efforts as engineering
and quality disciplines, have led to overall disappointment with TQM.
TQM evolved during the mid-1980s into the first generation of Six Sigma
Business Process Reengineering (BPR). Michael Hammer and James
Champy’s message on business process reengineering, introduced in the
early 1990s in Reengineering the Corporation, was welcome to an audience
disenchanted with TQM and ready to use its new IT horsepower to automate
processes and in doing so to tighten processes and eliminate unnecessary and
redundant steps. Executives were looking for business results, not just organizational
TQM, JIT, Lean, and BPR see work as a set of interrelated processes, reintegrating
what was decomposed by Taylorism into isolated tasks. Process
performance improvement is the focus.
Second Generation of Six Sigma
To put Six Sigma in perspective, we started by discussing the beginnings of
Six Sigma in the 1980s and then its antecedents from the early twentieth century
to the recent history of TQM, JIT, and Lean. The Six Sigma of the late
1980s and early 1990s—the first generation—was part of continuous
improvement or total quality efforts at companies that were led for the most
part by quality professionals. These efforts often became islands of isolated
change that died when unsupported by the business leadership. What can be
called the second generation of Six Sigma can be fairly said to have first
emerged at AlliedSignal in 1994, where it was led by CEO Larry Bossidy.
Hallmarks of the second generation are that Six Sigma is part of the corporate
business plan and is key to achieving business objectives, with top leadership
support and often intimate involvement. Another key difference from the first
generation is that the second generation of Six Sigma starts with the Voice of
the Customer. In its first generation, Six Sigma process improvement methodology
included four logically linked phases: measure-analyze-improvecontrol.
In the second generation, during the GE Capital deployment in 1995,
a new first phase, define, was added, becoming the DMAIC methodology now
used in most Six Sigma implementations. In the define phase, data is used to
verify customer needs and requirements and to identify the Critical-to-
Quality characteristics for customer satisfaction. The define phase guarantees
that theVoice of the Customer is central to every Six Sigma project by adding
rigor to the front end of the methodology. Thus, Six Sigma has the potential to
Wasn’t GE Capital the First Business to Add
the D to the MAIC Road Map?
Had to! We didn’t know where to start. We had to start with define. We
couldn’t see our processes. If I were, say, manufacturing a widget, if I
wanted to fix this problem, I would know that it came from this part of
the assembly line. I could see it. But without D, you didn’t understand
where you were starting. You didn’t understand process mapping. You
didn’t understand what a process was like. By the way, even the word
process wasn’t well understood in financial services.12
Interview with Ruth Fattori, Executive Vice President for
Process & Productivity, Conseco create processes with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. And by integrating
process improvement (DMAIC), process, product and service design
(i.e., Design for Six Sigma, or DFSS), and process management into a comprehensive
approach to implementing business strategy, Six Sigma finally
evolved into a program that could be used to drive the business instead of narrowly
focusing on quality.
In the May 2002 issue of Six Sigma Forum, Matt Barney of Motorola tells
how the second generation of Six Sigma differs from the first generation at
the place of Six Sigma’s birth:
While Six Sigma was originally created as a continuous quality improvement
technique, today it is significantly different than the Total Quality Management
(TQM) approach of the 1980s. [Here are] the key differences between Six
Sigma and TQM:
Six Sigma Total Quality
Executive ownership Self-directed work teams
Business strategy execution system Quality initiative
Truly cross-functional Largely within a single function
Focused training with verifiable No mass training in statistics and
Business results oriented Return on investment
. . . The next generation Six Sigma is an overall high performance system that
executes business strategy.
Six Sigma: A Critical Difference. No less an authority than Dr. Joseph M.
Juran has said that while he does not see any significant advances in Six
Sigma, he does think it has succeeded in gaining the participation and commitment
of top leadership, a critical success factor that every other process
improvement program failed to achieve, with a few notable exceptions, such
as Motorola under Bob Galvin’s legendary leadership.14
Evolution to a Revolution. What makes Six Sigma so attractive is that it
integrates a great deal of what we have learned about getting sustainable
results in manufacturing and services. But in seeing Six Sigma as part of that
evolution, it would be a mistake to think of Six Sigma as about evolutionary,
incremental improvement. From the stretch performance targets set for Six
Sigma projects to transforming the mind-sets of the current generation and
next generation of leaders through Black Belt and Master Black Belt training
and successful projects, Six Sigma is about big paybacks and big impacts on
culture and leadership.
What Were Some of the Things That You Saw Leaders Do
That Were Really Helpful?
They really bought in. The buy-in has to be demonstrated in their actions
and through their words and their support and asking questions. And
more important, they gave us the resources and the time. I would not
work in a company where they wouldn’t put in the resources. Because
the problems have been there all that time, and people have known
about them and people have wanted to fix them. They may not have
always had the tools, but people do want to make improvements. People
want things to work. But they don’t have the time. It’s hard to do your
job and do it well and fix some of these bigger problems. And I think that
once management dedicates the resources, which is a big expense, they
will want to see what they get for their money, and to me, that really
reflects their commitment.
Interview with Ruth Fattori, Executive Vice President for
Process & Productivity, Conseco
LEVERAGING PROCESSES, PEOPLE, CUSTOMERS, AND CULTURE
The world is concluding that the way to become a world-class company is to
create superior process performance, as that is what ensures superior products
and services for customers. Superior process performance maximizes
value for the customer and the shareholder. The beauty of Six Sigma is that it
can be applied again and again to improve processes or to design new
processes that continuously align the company with changing customer needs
Change is always difficult. Established organizational structures and expert
functional areas are resistant. To change the way work is done in the hierarchical
structures that are today’s corporations, leaders need to drive the effort.
An advantage of Six Sigma is that it requires leaders to be actively engaged in
leading the pursuit of customer satisfaction. Also, the idea of process
improvement through projects that is at the heart of Six Sigma is very powerful
because it leverages the human factor in change at both the leadership and
the process levels. The people who work in the process become the change
agents using the Six Sigma tool kit. Changing processes changes behavior.
However, changes in culture—the “collection of overt and covert rules, values,
and principles that are enduring and guide organizational behavior”15--
can only be driven by the organization’s leaders. To effect cultural change with
Six Sigma, it must be aligned with strategy and leader behavior.
Here are some ways in which leaders reinforce the kind of culture and
organization they wish to create:
• By what they pay attention to, measure, and control
• By their reaction to critical issues in the organization
• By the way they model the role, teach, and coach
• By their criteria for rewards, promotion, and hiring
• By the questions they ask
When asked what role leaders need to play when driving change in their
companies, Kenneth W. Freeman, chairman and CEO of Quest Diagnostics
Incorporated, gave the following advice:
If you want to drive change in a company, you have got to do it with
more than words. Yes, communication is vitally important. But you have
to mesh that communication in terms of where you want the company to
go with actually providing some participation on your own end in terms
of modeling the behavior you want to have happen. This may sound
kind of old-fashioned, but I really believe that in corporate America
today, there are not a lot of companies where senior leaders are really
willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work. Many people say that a
CEO’s role is to delegate—just set the pronouncement and then come
back next week or next month to make sure they did it. That’s fine for
some companies, but I think if you really want to drive permanent
change, you need to put your feet, not just your mouth, into the game.
That is the single biggest thing a leader can do. My job is to set the
example in driving accelerated commitment and strong performance.17
James Champy, in Reengineering Management: The Mandate for New
Leadership, says that management’s agenda needs to be redefined: “If you
haven’t gotten it by now, let me say it plainly: Purpose, culture, process, and
people replace strategy, structure, and systems as our superordinate questions.”
18 Commitment to Six Sigma puts purpose, culture, process, and people--
including the customer—squarely on the leader’s agenda.
WHERE IS SIX SIGMA GOING?
Process-centered organizations delivering products and services that meet or
exceed customer expectations call for new management paradigms and new
leadership skills. Becoming a Six Sigma company versus a company doing
Six Sigma, as Ken Freeman of Quest Diagnostics puts it, is a journey of risk
and challenge, but the risks can be offset and the challenges met by two
unique aspects of Six Sigma: its ability to develop change leadership skills
and its unrelenting focus on satisfying the customer.
Six Sigma helps leaders define the future: the kind of work people will do,
the skills that are needed, the ways performance will be measured and
Have You Found Six Sigma to Be a Way to Develop
the Leadership Pool within Organizations? Should This Be
a Conscious Goal of Implementing Six Sigma?
It has to be. If you are trying to change the cultural mind-set of a business,
the best way to do that is to start with your highly-promotable people,
they are the ones that tend to get more done. They are also the ones
who will be the leaders of the organization. So, if they go in with the new
mind-set, you have a much greater chance of fundamentally changing
the way people in the company work.
Interview with Dave Cote, President and Chief Executive Officer,
rewarded, the careers of the future, the role managers will play, and how strategy
will be executed.
Results are achieved through people. With Six Sigma, work and the people
who do it are refocused from tasks to processes. Six Sigma gives everyone
in the organization a common language and set of tools for achieving
what is valuable to the customer. Scientific management applied to employees
doing tasks is replaced with the scientific method being practiced by
every employee working in a process. Bill Quinn of Johnson & Johnson,
where Six Sigma is part of its Process Excellence initiative, eloquently
expressed the vision of what it means to be a Six Sigma company in our interview
with him, and we don’t think we could say it any better:
I would love to see it continue to grow and expand to every outpost
within Johnson & Johnson. I would like to see it become the language
of improvement within Johnson & Johnson, and I think that’s something
that time and emphasis will help us get to. I would like to see it help us
meet our business targets and surpass them for both top-line and
bottom-line growth. I’d like to see it help us meet our responsibilities to
our customers and to regulatory bodies around the world, so that the
products and services that we make are flawless or virtually flawless
. . . that we use it as a way to complement our efforts from the
regulatory standpoint and we live up to our regulatory responsibilities
around the world . . . that it helps us live up to our environmental
responsibilities, both regulatory and just doing what’s right around the
world, as a corporation and as a global citizen. I’d like to see Process
Excellence help our leaders become extremely focused on results. I’d
like to see them use facts and measurements very wisely to help them
provide direction in the organizations and to help them ensure that we
get these fantastic business results. I’d like to see it help employees
throughout Johnson & Johnson find ways that they can be successful, so
that there isn’t a problem that they feel that they can’t solve, where they
can use the input, not only the methodologies, but the leadership system,
to be able to benefit not only the company, but also themselves
through the thrill and the exhilaration of achievement, of having solved
things that people before them haven’t been able to solve. That’s a wonderful
thing. When you do that, then our customers end up with products
that are far better than they’ve ever had. Employees have far more
opportunity and satisfaction. The local community is better off because
we’re leading, we’re going well beyond our compliance to local regulations,
and we’re pleasing our shareowners, too. That’s what I would
like to see, and I think Process Excellence can play a substantial role in
helping us do that.
Six Sigma is becoming a cornerstone philosophy among the world’s leading
corporations because it has proven itself by generating substantial business
returns. Six Sigma is also seen as a great training ground for twenty-firstcentury
leadership. It is now fairly commonplace for people who are welltrained
in Six Sigma to achieve top leadership positions.
It is only fitting to end this chapter with words from Six Sigma’s
staunchest champion, JackWelch: “We believed then and we are convinced
today . . . that there is an ‘infinite capacity to improve everything’—but
there was no methodology or disciple attached to that belief. There is now.
It’s Six Sigma quality, along with a culture of learning, sharing, and unending