Quest Diagnostics are early pioneers of Six Sigma in the healthcare industry, implementing the methodology in May 2000. Since then they have supplemented the program with a healthy dose of Lean and DFSS. Their progress to date is well documented on their website and in annual reports:
“Since May 2000, with the launch of the first “wave” of 15 Black Belts, Quest Diagnostics has built a powerful force of skilled Six Sigma project leaders. Today, the company has 20 Master Black Belts, 140 Black Belts (full time dedicated project leaders) and over 1,000 Green Belts (business leaders who have been trained to lead Six Sigma improvement projects part time within the context of their jobs). Business leaders throughout Quest Diagnostics have been pulled out of their operating positions to become Black Belts or full-time, Six Sigma project leaders. The company has Black Belts deployed in every Quest Diagnostics business unit across the US.
“Over 1,300 projects have been completed to date. 75% of these projects have reduced defects by > 50% and nearly 40% of projects have reduced defects by > 70%. In 2002 Quest Diagnostics achieved historic highs in its customer satisfaction index and in 2003 the company sustained & improved these scores.
“Six Sigma is also delivering on the Business Imperative. Our Six Sigma initiative has achieved a greater than 300% return on investment.”
“We have significantly reduced bad debt expenses as a percentage of net revenues from about 7% in 1996 to 4.4% in 2004 by using Six Sigma and implementing our standardization initiatives and billing ‘Best Practices’.”
“Net income for the year ended December 31, 2004 increased to $499 million from $437 million for the prior year period. This increase in earnings was primary attributable to revenue growth and efficiencies generated from our Six Sigma and standardization initiatives…”
Articles and Links
What is Six Sigma Quality?, Quest Diagnostics Website
Our Commitment to Quality, Quest Diagnostics Website
Six Sigma Revisited, Quest Diagonostics News, Winter 2004
Interview with a Black Belt (Kathleen Truitt, Quest Diagnostics Black Belt), Westgard QC
The Power of Six Sigma Quality, CDC – Quality Institute, April 14, 2003