To streamline processes and minimize product defects, the manufacturing sector has relied on one quality improvement technique for nearly two decades: Six Sigma. Recently, companies from Raytheon to JPMorgan Chase have begun to apply the principles and practices proven at an operational level to innovation, customer service, e-business ventures, globalization, culture change, risk management - in short, everything vital to just about any companyís ability to compete, grow and profit in the new millennium.
How is a system born on the factory floor and grounded in hard data revolutionizing todayís leading-edge companies? STRATEGIC SIX SIGMA: Best Practices from the Executive Suite (Wiley; October 25, 2002; Cloth; $29.95) reveals the answer - in action. Drawing on interviews with Six Sigma innovators at the top of highly successful organizations, authors Richard Smith and Jerome A. Blakeslee Jr., both Six Sigma specialists, demonstrate the benefits of this statistically rigorous approach for not only the bottom line, but also top-line business growth. As the authors make clear: "Six Sigma tools and concepts provide a means to optimally align all of an organizationís components - from leaders, culture, and mission and strategy on the one hand, to structure, management practices, systems, work climate, and employee skill sets and behavior on the other - to help a company achieve breakthrough levels of business performance."
Backed by quotes from Six Sigma Black Belts and true believers - including unsung project managers as well as legendary CEOs like Larry Bossidy and Jack Welch - Smith and Blakeslee highlight the key elements of Strategic Six Sigma leadership in todayís thriving "market-smart" enterprises. Whatís more, the authors offer in-depth analyses and concrete guideposts to help change leaders in every industry make these winning practices business as usual. Divided into three distinct sections and packed with compelling case studies from exemplary companies - Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar and Bombardier Transportation, among many - STRATEGIC SIX SIGMA explores:
- How Strategic Six Sigma actually works to deliver high-quality products and services, develop customer loyalty and give any company an edge in a volatile marketplace.
- How wide-ranging companies are achieving the astounding by integrating Strategic Six Sigma thinking into every aspect of strategic planning - and by developing quantifiable measures, then demanding tangible results from people.
- How to develop leaders with strong Strategic Six Sigma expertise - which demands technical, change management and people skills - and how to sustain initiatives by building commitment, not just driving compliance, to Six Sigma methods.
With a focus far beyond improving process performance, STRATEGIC SIX SIGMA leads business leaders and managers to truly see their company from the customerís perspective. Ultimately, Strategic Six Sigma thinking transforms the nature of relationships any business has with all of its stakeholders - customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders - and its competitors. "Companies today have got to get their customer and marketplace stuff right," Smith and Blakeslee drive home. "Meeting customer needs and requirements is what business is all about - today more than ever."