Humankind has always felt a need to improve its condition right since it first came on this planet. Agriculture and athletics are two outstanding examples of the benefits of a constant focus on improvement. Since the early 1900s, there has been a focus on improvement of business performance. Statistical thinking and methods have played a key role in business improvement as they have in agriculture and athletics. Approaches to business improvement have evolved and grown over the years and today the process–focused, statistically–based Six–Sigma methodology is being used by companies such as GE, Honeywell, Motorola, DuPont, American Express, Ford and many others ? large and small ? to improve business performance. This article traces the evolution of business improvement methodology and the use of statistical thinking and methods in improving business performance. It is shown how Six–Sigma has evolved to include the best features of the improvement methods that have come before it. A case study of reducing newspaper errors is included to illustrate the use of Six–Sigma tools and methods.
International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage – Inderscience Publishers
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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