There is, in turn, an increasing support for the view that a Six Sigma team can do its work better in process and product improvement if the project uses the DMAIC approach. This paper aims to gain a better understanding of the DMAIC process by dissecting the corresponding tools that make it such a widely accepted instrument for a Six Sigma quality improvement plan.
The Six Sigma process is about organizational change and the six elements referred to in the term, which serve as its change agents, are: leadership, champions, sponsors, master black belts, black belts and green belts (Pyzdek online). The reference to karate cannot be helped because the concept was developed by the Japanese who took over Motorola in the 1970s when competition was driving the US operations of the Japanese company to the edge of bankruptcy. One of the main reasons was that Motorola, which manufactured the Quasar TV sets in the US, could not keep up with foreign competitors who were able to produce high-quality products at lower costs. The Japanese themselves are credited with the earlier conceptualization of total quality management in their tenacious search for quality improvement in the 1950s. This was adopted in the US in the 1960s and in Europe in the 1980s. TQM attacks problems on product or service efficiency based on the premise that all activities in an organization contribute to quality or lack of it. However, total quality management has lately come into disuse because of perceptions that quality improvement is an exclusive function of the quality department such that it is confined to the assigned quality circles and a few industrial engineers. Thus, it is concentrated on enhancing the organizational processes with the use of statistical methods and on defect reductions, with less consideration given to improving the bottom line (Das online). The Six Sigma method has a more expanded an all-encompassing focus. At Motorola, the Japanese carried out the first Six Sigma project by finding ways to make production better, faster and cheaper, using the same workforce, the same technology and designs but a different management approach (Pyzdek online). As a result, Motorola was soon producing with less than 1 percent of the number of defects noted before in its products and services.
Both the complete Six Sigma principle and the Lean Six Sigma version, when put to use with the participation and commitment of all departments, have proven effective in realizing significant savings in operational costs, speeding up the product life cycle and reducing non-value added activities (George, 2002). The complete Six Sigma process may be applied to cost-cutting and reducing variations while the Lean Six Sigma version may be applied only to 3 or 4 operational areas, such as the human resource, production and service