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Foundations of Six Sigma Management

This chapter is about getting you comfortable with Six Sigma management. It accomplishes this objective by providing you with strong anecdotal evidence that Six Sigma is a very successful style of management, explaining how it must be emphatically led from the top of the organization, and, finally, introducing you to the Six Sigma models for improving and inventing/innovating products, services, or processes. This chapter could serve as a brief introduction to Six Sigma management for any stakeholder of your organization.
This chapter is from the book Chapter 1: Foundations of Six Sigma Management


  • Introduction
    • 1.1 Successful Applications of Six Sigma Management
    • 1.2 Key Ingredients for Success with Six Sigma Management
    • 1.3 Benefits of Six Sigma Management
    • 1.4 Fundamentals of Improving a Product, Service, or Process
    • 1.5 Fundamentals of Inventing–Innovating a Product, Service, or Process
    • 1.6 What Is New about Six Sigma Management?
    • 1.7 Six Sigma in Non-Manufacturing Industries
  • Summary
  • References

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Present strong evidence of the value of Six Sigma style of management.
  • Understand the key ingredient for success with Six Sigma management.
  • Appreciate the benefits of Six Sigma management.
  • Review the fundamentals of improving a product, service, or process.
  • Appreciate the DMAIC model for improvement.
  • Introduce the fundamentals of inventing and innovating a product, service, or process.
  • Appreciate the DMADV model for invention and innovation.
  • Know what is new about Six Sigma management.
  • Appreciate the significance of Six Sigma management in non-manufacturing industries.


This chapter is about getting you comfortable with Six Sigma management. We accomplish this objective by providing you with strong anecdotal evidence that Six Sigma is a very successful style of management, explaining how it must be emphatically led from the top of the organization, and, finally, introducing you to the Six Sigma models for improving and inventing/innovating products, services, or processes. This chapter could serve as a brief introduction to Six Sigma management for any stakeholder of your organization.

1.1 Successful Applications of Six Sigma Management

Manufacturing organizations have experienced great success with Six Sigma management. Selected manufacturing organizations that use Six Sigma management include the following:

  • Asea-Brown-Boveri
  • AT&T
  • Bombardier
  • Eli Lilly
  • Foxboro
  • General Electric
  • Honeywell/Allied Signal
  • IBM–UK
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Motorola
  • Raytheon
  • Seagate
  • Texas Instruments

Additionally, non-manufacturing organizations have had excellent results with Six Sigma management. A few non-manufacturing organizations using Six Sigma management include the following:

  • Allstate Insurance
  • Amazon.com
  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Bankers Life and Insurance
  • Capital One Services
  • Intuit
  • J. P. Morgan Chase
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Microsoft
  • United Health Group
  • University of Miami

Jack Welch, Chairman emeritus and CEO of General Electric, was so committed to and impressed with Six Sigma that he stated:

"Six Sigma GE Quality 2000 will be the biggest, the most personally rewarding, and, in the end, the most profitable undertaking in our history."

"...we plunged into Six Sigma with a company-consuming vengeance just over three years ago. We have invested more than a billion dollars in the effort and the financial returns have now entered the exponential phase." (GE’s letter to shareowners, February 12, 1999)

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Last Update: November 17, 2020