Six Sigma at EMC Corporation

Recently EMC began an initiative called Total Customer Experience (TCE) and Six Sigma is at the heart of it. Six Sigma at EMC is driven from the top as an enterprise-wide initiative. EMC President, CEO, and Green Belt candidate, Joe Tucci, recently spoke about TCE and Six Sigma at the EMC Technology Summit in New Orleans:

“It is the No. 1 program I am driving from my office throughout this year.

“We’ve not been a good company or an easy company to partner with … this is an important step forward in the rejuvenation of EMC.”

I recently spoke with Jim Pearson, Vice President of Corporate Quality and Six Sigma at EMC, and he was kind enough to tell me more about their Six Sigma program. Throughout our conversation he reiterated the support Joe Tucci and the leadership team give to Six Sigma saying, “It’s a 100 percent tops down initiative.”

Six Sigma was introduced to EMC when they acquired Data General Corporation in 2000. Lee Pollock implemented Six Sigma at Data General while he was the Director of Quality and was instrumental, along with Pearson, in formally bringing Six Sigma to EMC in the fall of 2002. Today, Six Sigma is fully integrated into the company and has become the key enabler in launching EMC’s TCE initiative.

“TCE begins with internal processes associated with product development, manufacturing, and customer service. By applying Six Sigma discipline to these processes—Six Sigma is the analytical structure that promotes consistency by minimizing deviations from quality standards—we build customer-related metrics into our standards of performance and success.”

EMC Website

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Pearson elaborated on many of the benefits Six Sigma has brought to the organization. While he said the CFO likes to see bottom-line savings, Six Sigma has enabled top-line growth through efficiencies which have freed up engineers and allowed them to work on additional revenue generating projects.

One of the unexpected competencies of Black Belts at EMC has been their success in roles as facilitators on cross functional teams. The Black Belts are perceived as “boundaryless” and act as mediators and facilitators across functions departments. EMC has maximized this advantage by including additional soft skills and facilitation training into the traditional Green Belt and Black Belt curricula.

EMC has not only customized the content of the training, but they have also customized the length of the classes to allow more managers hands-on training with the tools without requiring them to spend too much time away from their responsibilities.

In 2004 EMC met and surpassed their Six Sigma financial targets and this year have set even higher goals. EMC has proven they are a strong company by transforming quickly in a constantly changing market. Pearson said, “Six Sigma is the catalyst that is helping EMC transform faster.” His only wish is they could evolve even faster still.

Articles and Links

Quality, Responsiveness, Service, EMC’s company-wide commitment to exceed customer expectations, EMC Website, Jun 2005

EMC Works on Customer Satisfaction,, May 18, 2005

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