Six Sigma Problem Solving Approach

But when both are woven into the DMAIC methodology, a distinction from previous problem solving techniques (such as TQM, Basic Quality Tools) occurs.After the initial criticism for the looseness with the 1.5 sigma shift of long-term data, the percent defective predictions referenced in the long-term sigma tables and other statistical extrapolations (Wheeler, 2005) subsided, the scientific, deterministic and data/fact driven basis of Six Sigma led to widespread approval in academic and industry circles.During this period, the traditional (or preexisting) quality and continuous improvement initiatives, primarily TQM, were largely scrapped or simply dissolved, as was the case at Allied Signal.

Thus, the real driver of adoption of Six Sigma in many examples was this type of business case.In this article, David Joecken, a Six Sigma Master-Blackbelt at a privately-owned tier-one automotive supplier, examines Six Sigma’s historical legacy and projects its future role.From Six Sigma’s initial creation and conception thirty years ago, to its widespread appeal, a potential exaggeration and overextension is postulated.Recent history has shown that these ambitious claims have not been borne-out universally and rarely in particular.This article will attempt to summarize the industry’s recent experiences and issues with Six Sigma, most specifically with its shortcomings on the human side of improvement and change.Once the initial savings began to wane, management’s support may have waned as well, which is detrimental for the success of any long-term improvement plan.Thus, the propensity was that the subsequent savings due to Six Sigma projects in areas outside of quality were lumped together; per Jeroem de Mast: “such conceptual erosion is better avoided…economists have good reason to distinguish between product quality, process efficiency, cost and capital and not labeling it all quality” (de Mast, 2007).This article also attempts to create a vision of what Six Sigma’s legacy will be, and which long(er) lasting benefits will be fondly remembered and practiced a decade from now.The creation of Six Sigma is generally dated to 1979 and credited to Bill Smith, a senior engineer at Motorola.After roughly 30 years (1979–2009), Six Sigma-DMAIC, when examined as a structured, scientific–based, problem-solving methodology (and its record of providing tangible, bottom-line benefits) stands up to the test of time.It has however, not lived up to the remainder of its wide claims as a stand-alone program for strategy, change management, leadership development, and as a quality and continuous improvement strategy, these weaknesses primarily being traced to Six Sigma’s minimal/poor consideration of the human, behavioral, and team-participative aspects of creating and driving sustainable change.

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