HISTORY OF SIX SIGMA BASIC INFORMATION AND TUTORIALS


“In 1981, Bob Galvin, then chairman of Motorola, challenged his company to achieve a tenfold improvement in performance over a five-year period. While Motorola executives were looking for ways to cut waste, an engineer by the name of Bill Smith was studying the correlation between a product’s field life and how often that product had been repaired during the manufacturing process.

In 1985, Smith presented a paper concluding that if a product were found defective and corrected during the production process, other defects were bound to be missed and found later by the customer during the early use by the consumer.

Additionally, Motorola was finding that best-in-class manufacturers were making products that required no repair or rework during the manufacturing process. (These were Six Sigma products.)

In 1988, Motorola won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which set the standard for other companies to emulate. (This author had the opportunity to examine some of Motorola’s processes and products that were very near Six Sigma.

These were nearly 2,000 times better than any products or processes that we at Texas Instruments (TI) Defense Systems and Electronics Group (DSEG) had ever seen. This benchmark caused DSEG to re examine its product design and product production processes. Six Sigma was a very important element in Motorola’s award winning application.

TI’s DSEG continued to make formal applications to the MBNQA office and won the award in 1992. Six Sigma was a very important part of the winning application.)

As other companies studied its success, Motorola realized its strategy to attain Six Sigma could be further extended.” (Reference 3)

Galvin requested that Mikel J. Harry, then employed at Motorola’s Government Electronics Group in Phoenix, Arizona, start the Six Sigma Research Institute (SSRI), circa 1990, at Motorola’s Schaumburg, Illinois campus. With the financial support and participation of IBM, TI’s DSEG, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Asea Brown Boveri Ltd. (ABB), and Kodak, the SSRI began developing deployment strategies, and advanced applications of statistical methods for use by engineers and scientists.

Six Sigma Academy President, Richard Schroeder, and Harry joined forces at ABB to deploy Six Sigma and refined the breakthrough strategy by focusing on the relationship between net profits and product quality, productivity, and costs.

The strategy resulted in a 68% reduction in defect levels and a 30% reduction in product costs, leading to $898 million in savings/cost reductions each year for two years. (Reference 13)

Schroeder and Harry established the Six Sigma Academy in 1994. Its client list includes companies such as Allied Signal, General Electric, Sony, Texas Instruments DSEG (now part of Raytheon), Bombardier, Crane Co., Lockheed Martin, and Polaroid. These companies correlate quality to the bottom line.

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