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This chapter is from the book

The Rest of the Story

This book is divided into four main parts: the case for Six Sigma beyond the factory floor, ensuring successful deployment, ensuring project success, and ensuring proper application of methods and tools. In this overall flow, we address strategic, tactical, and operational aspects of deploying Six Sigma. In Chapter 1, we have set the context for the book, highlighting the growing importance of health care, financial, service, and non-manufacturing functions to our economy, and the tremendous opportunity and need for improvement in these areas. We refer to these operations as the real economy. In Chapter 2, we address the fundamental barrier to improvement—the attitude that "we're different"—and show that, in fact, improvement efforts in diverse processes and environments have much more in common than they have differences. We find that Six Sigma works very well beyond the factory floor.

In Chapters 3 and 4, we present deployment case studies, key lessons learned from these cases, and a Six Sigma deployment road map that has been shown to be effective in a number of companies from a number of different environments. The focus of these two chapters is on the management systems that must be put in place to effectively deploy Six Sigma. One of the key things that makes Six Sigma different from earlier improvement methods is the existence of an infrastructure of management systems to support the deployment of Six Sigma. One of the key reasons that previous improvement approaches, such as total quality management (TQM) and statistical process control (SPC) were not as successful long term was that these approaches lacked an effective deployment method. This is not the case with Six Sigma.

Chapters 5 and 6 focus on ensuring project success. The successful completion of projects, one after another in a steady stream, is at the heart of Six Sigma. The discussion consists of case study presentations, the Six Sigma method for doing project-by-project improvement and keys to completing successful projects. Chapter 7 discusses technical considerations essential to successful improvement in the real economy. Many of these issues are not discussed elsewhere in the literature. The topics include the tools used and unique aspects of the data analysis in applications beyond the factory floor.

Chapter 8 discusses some next steps you may want to consider to make Six Sigma an integral part of the way your organization does business and serves its customers (and community). The goal is to get more out of Six Sigma. This can be accomplished by making Six Sigma part of, if not, your strategic signature—something for which your organization is known. As a result, all work in all areas of the organization will be using some aspect of Six Sigma to help make them successful. When others look at your organization, they will see Six Sigma as your signature.

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