Six Sigma was born out of a desire at Motorola to improve quality while decreasing costs in the 1980s. The result was a full-on movement in major corporations that has lasted straight through to present times.
Essentially, Six Sigma uses statistics and metrics focused on critical-to-quality characteristics of products and processes as identified by customers to improve quality and add 000s to the bottom line.
D-M-A-I-C is the five step approach that is taken to a Six Sigma project by a Black Belt and all of her Green Belt cronies. It stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control, and gives structure to the rather tricky task of improving important products and services.
Six sigma means that a process produces just 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Defects are defined by the customer and a given unit of product can have multiple defect opportunities.
Messrs. Harry and Schroeder do a great job of balancing technical jargon with anecdotal evidence backed up by numbers. For business junkies, the book might fly by, but otherwise it will be a rather dense read.
Aspiring consultants, GE hopefuls, and manufacturing-based company employees should consider reading this one to gain an understanding of the basics of a transformative concept in worldwide business. 281 pages with graphs and charts spread throughout will make for 4-5 hours of reading if you decide to tackle it head-first.
If you are interested in learning more about the concept, but don’t want to read the book, shoot me an email or leave your email in the comments section for a quick powerpoint with notes on the basic concepts. (I volunteered to do a short session on the concept at work, so I’ve got a powerpoint presentation saved to my computer.)
Or, if you are interested in the book itself, check it out on Amazon: