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In the Beginning

Summary: In an interview with Six Sigma Forum Magazine editor Godfrey Blanton, former Motorola CEO Robert W. Galvin talks about how Motorola started Six Sigma and helped spread its success. Motorola began its Six Sigma initiative in response to declining product quality and increasing customer dissatisfaction. It was discovered that by using statistical methods, an end result of 3.4 defects per million opportunities, or a six sigma level, could be achieved. The term stuck and became shorthand meaning that if you control variation you can achieve remarkable results. Despite initial resistance, quality became first on the agenda at all committee meetings. After winning the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Motorola University was started to teach Six Sigma and other ways to improve quality to top management of other businesses. Galvin says GE, AlliedSignal, and other companies have added to the Six Sigma process by applying their vigor to the upswing of momentum started at Motorola. Because Six Sigma is common sense, it applies to any business process, including healthcare and education. Galvin's university challenge proved to be so popular that other companies were recruited to help out by sponsoring several universities each.

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  • Topics: Customer Satisfaction and Value, Quality Control, Innovation, Six Sigma, Leadership
  • Keywords: Customer focus,Companywide Quality Control (CWQC),Higher education,Innovation,Start up process(es),Six Sigma,Leadership,Quality Improvement System (QIS),Statistical quality control (SQC),Interviews
  • Author: Godfrey, A. Blanton
  • Journal: Six Sigma Forum Magazine