- Successful Applications of Six Sigma Management
- Key Ingredients for Success with Six Sigma Management
- Benefits of Six Sigma Management
- Fundamentals of Improving a Product, Service, or Process
- Fundamentals of Inventing–Innovating a Product, Service, or Process
- What Is New about Six Sigma Management?
- Six Sigma in Non-Manufacturing Industries
1.7 Six Sigma in Non-Manufacturing Industries
Six Sigma management is equally applicable in manufacturing and service industries, education, and government. Most people in manufacturing organizations are employed in service functions such as Human Resources, Payroll, Food Services, and Risk Management. General Electric has been very successful utilizing Six Sigma theory and methods in its non-manufacturing functions such as GE Capital. Additionally, service organizations such as American Express, HSBC, and the University of Miami have successfully used Six Sigma management.
Granted, service transactions are frequently "one-of-a-kind" transactions that take place on demand (zero inventories) in the presence of the customer (zero time between production and use of service) with subjective service quality characteristics. Still, Six Sigma is appropriate in this type of environment. For example, a subjective quality characteristic in a restaurant is how patrons feel about the taste of cheesecake. One way to measure this is to ask patrons how they feel about the taste of cheesecake on a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 = very dissatisfied, 3 = neutral, and 5 = very satisfied. This type of measurement is subject to inaccuracies caused by factors such as embarrassment at telling the "truth." Another way to determine how a patron feels about the taste of cheesecake is to instruct one busboy to collect the first cheesecake dessert eaten by a patron each of the six evening hours each day, and to weigh the cheesecake left on the plate. All cheesecake slices are 4 ounces, so 4 ounces minus the weight of cheesecake returned is the weight of cheesecake eaten by the patron. With the preceding information, the chef can estimate the average ounces and range (maximum–minimum) of cheesecake eaten by patrons each day. Consequently, the chef can modify the recipe for preparing cheesecake and determine from the statistics if the patrons eat more cheesecake (higher average) with less variation (smaller range) per day. If they do, the chef assumes that the patrons like the taste of the cheesecake better with the new recipe than with the old recipe.