Six Sigma a critical component of strategy

Updated: Jan 22 2002, 05:30am hrs
Quality management is partly about boosting bottomline. And attaining the Sixth Sigma level is about reaching the top matrix of an integrated quality management plan. However, such higher planes in six sigma for attaining quality can be accomplished only if macro-organisational objectives and micro-operational initiatives are finely co-ordinated. Sample some of the opinions and company-specific experiences on TQM and Six Sigma for TQM, that flew thick and fast at the 12th World Congress seminar on Total Quality (WCTQ).

In essence, the speakers and panelists collectively believed that TQM is not just about process and initiative engineering—an opinion that dominated quality circles in the past decades. But it is a codified perspective that needs to be actualised by translating business problem into a statistical problem.

And finally, ultilising statistical problem as a tool to deliverable business solutions that can enhance quality at the lowest possible product manufacturing cost.

Taking a cue from the Wipro experience on Six Sigma, Mr Satish Chandra, manager, Wipro Infotech explained: “We started our Six Sigma with the vision of business leadership, brand leadership, people and customer satisfaction. Our aim of having our vision in action is now being translated into channelised strategies”.

Added Mr Chandra: “In the business planning stage, critical business processes are identified for the next financial year. Then, to execute the processes we identify change agents from within the company who would get into the quality enforcement mode by initiating defect reduction and cycle time reduction as major methodologies for successful business action”.

According to Mr Chandra, the company as a result of the functionally integrated quality management initiatives has climbed up from a level of 2.8 to a Sigma level of 5.9.

Mr Chandra observed that the reason why Wipro could reach the competitively higher levels of Six Sigma was due to quality focussed organisational framework, integration of objectives, training project selection and surround methodologies.

“Right from chairman to business head levels at Wipro, the core culture veers around quality in business delivery. If a business head attains enormous sales but could not pass the quality certificate then the organisation treats him below par”, informed Mr Chandra.

During the presentation, Mr Uday Karmarkar, a faculty from Times Mirror, Professor of Management strategy, California, said: “The major C’s towards having a unification of TQM are content, currency, correctness and customisation”.

According to Mr Krishna Prasad, group leader, Total Quality at Satyam Computer Services, the way Satyam has attempted to attain Six Sigma levels is through a robust methodology encompassing creating value through knowledge initiatives and enhancing brand image in front of its investors through recurring revenue stream.

“By Six Sigma we mean ISTRIVE—that is Identify, Set, Track, Review, Improve, Validate and Execute quality excellence. However, Six Sigma is not a substitute to human action and process knowledge”, concluded Mr Prasad.