Acceptance Level Of Six Sigma Is Very High

Jamshedpur: | Updated: Sep 29 2003, 05:30am hrs
Noshir Khory has worked under the late Dr William Smith, who invented the six sigma concept at Motorola in the 1980s. Subsequently, as part of the six sigma initiative, Dr Khory headed the Bandit Programme in Motorola, bringing to the company some of the best practices deployed by world-class companies such as Toyota, Canon Copier, Sony and Hitachi. He has been with Motorola for around 26 years now, his assignments for the company taking him outside the US to Japan, Germany, Sweden, France, Singapore and Israel. In an interview with eFE, Dr Khory talks about his dream to help Indian companies become more competitive via implementation of the six sigma concept. Dr Khory is currently the director, technology planning and development, Motorola Automotive Communications and Electronic Systems sector (ACES). Excerpts:

Dr Khory, what brings you to India
As an Indian I want to give back something to the country of my origin. I am an Indian by birth and by citizenship, an American. Im beginning to realise that I can give back to the country of my origin, particularly in the area of technology, so that my country can compete with other countries like China. I would like to see (Indian) componentswhether they are automotive, electronic or mechanical componentssold to the US just as the Chinese are selling.

Do the Chinese have a significant presence in the US
Chinese companies have. But I would like to change the rule.

Is Motorola involved in spreading the six sigma message in India
Well, they have been involved initially, but at the moment there are different priorities. But Ive taken it on as a personal opportunity ...... this initiative of spreading the word. Ive been doing it now for the past two years.

Six sigma is considered to be one of the best tools. What is the ultimate in such tools
As far as I know, there is not much. There may be something coming, which I dont know about.

What is the general impression about six sigma among small and medium scale units in the country
I do not have too much exposure to the medium size companies but in general, I found the acceptance level quite high. Most people seem to be aware of what it is and they want to know more about it. Theres, shall we say inquisitiveness, (about) learning more about it.

What sort of percentage gain would a company implementing six sigma normally get in a few years time
This depends on the company, depends on the industry, depends upon how its implemented. In general, I can say that you will receive a pay-back of 10 to one. In other words, if you invest one rupee in the programme, you get back Rs 10 at the end of four to six years.

What comprises six sigma
Well, there are several tools which are involved. The tools are: statistical process control, disciplined problem solving approach, experimental design, failure note and effect analysis (FNEA) and a great deal of supplier involvement. The most important thing of all is training, training and training.

Why are the companies which have not implemented six sigma surviving
Its not a matter of survival, its a matter of growth. It is not just enough to survive, one needs to grow, because when you grow, you create more employment and its good for the country.

That means they are losing out in terms of profits
Exactly. These companies are operating in a normal way, have huge amounts of scrap, waste, re-work, repair, warranty costs. These are what we call non-value added cost. And a non-value added cost is not good, you need to spend on whatever has some value to it, to become more prosperous.

Could implementing six sigma lead to a big capital expenditure
It could be so ..... but doesnt have to be. Many a time the best machine is the human brain. Things like innovation, for example, thinking in a certain way, are much more important.

If a company doesnt have innovative type of employees, even though they have undergone the six sigma training, what happens
I think the concept of innovation, to promote innovation lies with the management, not with the employees. Management has to induce the thought of innovation, encourage employees in thinking independently, encourage employees to bring in ideas.