Quality, Cost-Competitiveness, Customer Service and First-To-Market Are Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Quality, cost-competitiveness, customer service and first-to-market are all essential determinants to global commercial success. All sectors of the economic market are obliged to reduce costs and production times while increasing profits and market share. Ambitious organizations are turning to systems management programs such as Six Sigma or Total Quality Management to develop and maintain exceptional standards across the whole of an organization. This includes all aspects of production and manufacturing processes, as well as marketing, sales and distribution, financial considerations, employee motivation and customer service. Finally, product development in the form of a perennial portfolio of projects helps to ensure the viability of a company.

The incorporation of systems management programs has become integral to the renaissance and future of an organization. Often, enterprises will combine qualities from several methodologies such as integration aspects of Six Sigma with Project Management; the very topic of consideration for this essay that examines germane literature. The aim of the research review is to determine the manner in which businesses are able to achieve and sustain process improvement across the whole of an organization through the integration of Six Sigma procedures and Project Management best practices.

2. Methodology

A perusal of the research regarding the aforementioned blending of Six Sigma and Project Management attributes finds a number of resources that analyze the matter in-depth. Current available research addresses the concept in theory as well as offering the latest developments that include a combination of said perspectives. Parameters of resources referenced for this critique include the use of information specific to the assimilation of Six Sigma and Project Management program elements. In other words, all resources in the form of academic papers and journal articles are narrowly specific to the subject of this assignment and ancillary information such as risk analysis or experimental design is beyond our current scope and concern. The contents of the reviewed material will be synthesized and presented in a sensible order; but may be addressed multiple times according to the question under consideration.

The order of the development of this essay is as follows. I began by completing a preliminary analysis of related research in general. This was the first step in the process of amassing relevant resources including technical and academic resources as well as tomes of greater length. Keywords entered in search engines included "Six Sigma," "Project Management" and "Design for Six Sigma." Surprisingly, the amount of available information was much leaner than one might expect given the profusion of systems management models employed across the breadth of global organizations; and the particular popularity of Six Sigma and Project Management.

3. Six Sigma: concepts and definitions

Let us preface further discussion with an outline of the basic concepts for each methodology. This will aid the reader in grasping their principles of interaction as a vehicle for systems improvement across an organization. Kwak Y.H. And Anbari F.T. [4] provide an exceptional classification of the Six Sigma Methodology; stating that it has been a "project driven" business strategy, which permits an organization to concentrate on the growth and development of its procedures founded on a deep comprehension of its clientele's needs as well as the sustained reduction of shortcomings in each and every activity of the company." Organizational advancements are achieved one project at a time; thus giving Six Sigma its moniker as a 'project-driven methodology'. Specifically this means that each project has a problem solving component built into its design and completion that allows the organization to take advantage of an opportunity to realize improvement through the integration and execution of "knowledge of the entire business process, including statistics, engineering, as well as Project Management" [4]. Another expert on the topic of Six Sigma Management methodology, F.T. Anbari . [2, 3], created the following equation to breathe life into these advanced and sophisticated ideas.

Six Sigma = Total Quality Management (or Sustained Quality Improvement) + Added Tools of Data Analysis + Higher Customer Focus + Financial Outcome + Project Management

This can be framed dichotomously as a "statistical point-of-view or a Business point-of-view" [4]. Regarding the former, Six Sigma offers a strategy that allows an organization to increase their profitability and is applicable across a company's systems - able to improve process efficiency and generating increased value for all stakeholders. The Statistical view states there is a measure of quality that is equal to having less than 3.4 million defects per 1
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million opportunities. The emphasis is on increased effort because current assessments find many organizations are currently performing at the 'three sigma level'.

3.1 DMAIC & DFSS Models

Upon execution of the Six Sigma methodology as the systems improvement tool requires the use of the "life cycle process model" [9]. The steps are shortened to the acronym DMAIC which stands for define, measure, analyze, implement and control. Each component of the acronym addresses the current and existent processes and/or products of an organization through Design for Six Sigma (DFSS); a systematic strategy aimed at developing new products and/or processes that combine to result in an outcome that exceeds customer expectations of high quality.

Moreover, the Design for Six Sigma strategy also establishes a process model that has been labeled via acronym as well. The DMAVD or define, measure, analyze, design and verify iteration of processes is yet another facet of Six Sigma that works in concert with all parts to incorporate systems management improvement across an organization. Kwak Y.H. And Anbari F.T. [4] provide extensive explanations of both methodologies in separate resources that themselves refer back to research from companies including Motorola as well as General Electric that are recognized for pioneering the Six Sigma model. The original work was available in classic books and journals - although the work has been enhanced in the last few years.

Here we will cease our consideration of this model; but shall return to this methodology later in the review of the literature when we will consider the processes developed to integrate DMAIC as a model with the strategies and tools of Project Management. Again, the goal remains always to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of organizations on a global scale. I will also interject that my research did not uncover information concerning the integration of Project Management and DSFF.

3.2 Advantages of the execution of Six Sigma

As noted previously, Six Sigma methodology was first introduced by General Electric and Motorola but has since expanded to organizations found around the world. It is vital to note that not all of the enterprises that have adopted Six Sigma are manufacturers. Other types of organizations that utilize Six Sigma can be found in the technology, financial, healthcare, R & D, construction and engineering sectors. This serves to confirm the effectiveness of the compilation of Six Sigma strategies as a means to improving profits, trimming expenses and ensuring customer satisfaction. Too, the research confirms that these companies have reported higher earnings which they relate directly to the implementation of Six Sigma. One article reviewed the savings of six major companies that utilized Six Sigma and in the case of Motorola the estimated benefits reached $15 billion over the course of eleven years while General Electric reported a savings of $2 billion in 1999 alone. Other companies that we will revisit regarding Six Sigma savings include Telefonica, DuPont and Dow [Anbari 1,5].

The successful implementation of this strategy is evident in several examples offered by Anbari [4]. For instance, Bechtel Corporation incorporated Six Sigma in their global engineering and construction businesses that resulted in preeminent financial savings. The objective of these changes was to prevent the need for modifications along the design to construction continuum. Bechtel invested $30 million dollars initially to implement the program; but saw a $200 million dollar return in the form of savings.

The greatest value of the Bechtel Corporation experience is that it serves as an exceptional example of the benefits that arise from the application of Six Sigma methodology. It underscores the practicality of its use in manufacturing that calls for repetitive processes; revealing the manner in which it can operate to correct untenable situations. Conversely, the DMADV model is most instrumental in a project-driven company in which non-repetitive behaviors - such as design processing, services and solutions - drive the organization. In this case as well quality and profits are key to performance.

4. Project Management: definition and main concepts

Ultimately, this project is intended to iterate the research available on the integration of Project Management together with Six Sigma. The advantages are expounded in a study conducted by Maximiano A.C along with Soler A.M [9] where they stated that "execution of Six Sigma attempts is basically a Project Management issue." It would appear that comprehension of Project Management procedures is a prerequisite to analyzing the assimilation of the dual methodologies as they apply to this research assignment. What follows is a succinct explanation of the necessary information regarding Project Management.

The Institute of Project Management defines a 'project' as a series of tasks and…

Sources Used in Documents:


(1) Anbari F.T. (2004) A Systems Approach to Six Sigma Quality, Innovation, and Project Management. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Systems Thinking, Innovation, Quality, Entrepreneurship and Environment (STIQE 2004). Maribor, Slovenia.

(2) Anbari F.T. (2003). An Integrated View of the Six Sigma Management Method and Project Management. Proceedings of IPMA 17th World Congress on Project Management. Moscow, Russia.

(3) Anbari F.T. (2002). Six Sigma Method and Its Applications in Project Management. Proceedings of the Project Management Institute Annual Seminars & Symposium, San Antonio, TX.

(4) Kwak Y.H., Anbari F.T. (2004). Benefits, Obstacles, and Future of Six Sigma Approach. Technovation: The International Journal of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology Management, 26 (5-6), pp. 708-715.

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