Essentially, the idea of a “process” is to “Six Sigma” as the idea of “teaching” is to “knowledge.” Perhaps Martin Luther King, Jr. best summed it when he stated: “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” Not only is the process approach important, it is what under girds the fundamental idea of “Six Sigma Mangement.”
In this context, we must view Six Sigma as a scientific way to manage businesses. In support of this, Vannevar Bush reminds us: “If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.”
But then again, some say that Six Sigma is a passing fad founded on the rigors of data analysis. To this point, one should consider what the editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall said in 1957. He stated: “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” Certainly, our retrospect can be a humbling and haunting thing.
In closing, I like us to reflect on the broad meaning of Six Sigma. To do this, let us consider the musing of H. A. Kamers: “In the world of human thought generally, and in physical science particularly, the most important and fruitful concepts are those to which it is impossible to attach a well-defined meaning.”