iSixSigma

SS Origins

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  • #29320

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    I came across the following article excerpt concerning the origins of SS.   If this is true, how does it jibe with Dr. Harry’s claim as the founder of SS?   And who was this poor, unnamed soul?
    Just Curious…
    Heebee
    ————————
    USA Today
    Tuesday, July 21, 1998
    The engineer who invented Six Sigma died of a heart attack in the Motorola cafeteria five years ago never knowing the scope of the craze and controversy he had touched off.
    Today, depending on whom you listen to, Six Sigma either is a revolution slashing trillions of dollars from corporate inefficiency, or it’s the most maddening management fad yet devised to keep front-line workers too busy collecting data to do their jobs.
    Leading the revolutionaries is General Electric, which announced another quarter of record profits this month and became the first company worth more than $300 billion based on its stock price. But Six Sigma’s founding company, Motorola, this month said its second-quarter operating profit shrank to almost zero. It is cutting 15,000 of its 150,000 jobs.
    Six Sigma is “malarky,” says Bob Pease, an engineer with Texas Instruments.
    Counters enthusiast Larry Bossidy, CEO of AlliedSignal: “The fact is, there is more reality with this than anything that has come down in a long time in business. The more you get involved with it, the more you’re convinced.”
    Six Sigma may sound Greek to you, but it’s sweeping industry to such an extent that you may soon find yourself in intensive and expensive training. After four weeks of classes over four months, you’ll emerge a Six Sigma “black belt.” And if you’re an average black belt, proponents say you’ll find ways to save $1 million each year….”

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    #74791

    Jack Welch
    Participant

    You mean Mighty Mouse wasn’t it’s founder.  I guess anyone who can take credit for being the founder will.  I just read a pretty good history in a near by thread that had me impressed. But I think when its all said and done we’ll find a lot of different peoples fingerprints in the 6S evidence to give credit to for 6S’s eveolution, lots of people contributing different materials. 

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    #74792

    Cannizzo
    Participant

    HeeBeeGeeBee BB,
    Try a search on this forum for “bill smith” (without the quotes):
    https://www.isixsigma.com/forum/default.asp?id=keyword
    You’ll find many others saying things that support that article.
    –Carol

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    #74793

    mcintosh
    Participant

    While at times your replies are a bit cynical I have to admit I really like your humour.  By the way I agree with your assessment of the SS origins

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    #74808

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    HBGB,
    I am assuming that the article was refering to Bill Smith. Motorola does give him the credit for being the “Father of Six Sigma.” There was a paper that was available from Motorola University in Schaumberg, Ill. that I think was titled something like that.
    I consider it extremely disrespectful on the part of USA Today to initiate an article like that by talking about his death. If they wanted to discuss SS discuss it, but this man has family and friends that I am sure did not need to see a reminder of his death in a news article.

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    #74814

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    Thanks for the leads folks.
    Mike, I agree with your asessment of USA Today.
    It’s a pretty harsh lead-in.
    Thanks,
    HBGBBB

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    #74840

    A.B
    Participant

    Breyfogle gave him good credit ( Bill Smith ) in his book “Implementing 6 S…”. The USA Today Article is published too in the same.

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    #76217

    Michael Ervick
    Participant

    I would agree that Six Sigma as a “program” was probably invented at Motorola.  Dr. Harry can make the same claim for inventing “a” Six Sigma “program.”  With that claim they get credit for moving the concept from the tool box of science academia.
    However, if I remember correctly, according to Dr. W.E. Deming, Six Sigma — used as a statistical indication of “process capability” was published in a book titled Biometrika in 1925.  It was also published in Japanese by JUSE Press in “Theory of Process Capability and its Applications”, written by Masao Kogure in 1975.
    Engineers at Boeing in the 1950’s and Hewlett Packard in the 1960’s get credit for applying it to the reliability measures of individual components to measure the impact on entire systems.  As a measure of process capability, it was part of TQM’s statistical process tool box.
    Since I am sure it has a “discovered” birth place in the statistical world long before 1925, I will keep looking and share when I find it.
     

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    #76228

    Ralph
    Participant

    Michael,
    Thanks for the clarification on this subject. I find the whole evolution to be very interesting.
    When you said “Engineers at Boeing in the 1950’s and Hewlett Packard in the 1960’s get credit for applying [six sigma],” where can I find this information?
    Thanks again!
    Ralph

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    #76229

    Michael Ervick
    Participant

    I would be honored Ralph.
    Because of their age, most of these research papers can only be found in the archives of the originating firm.  I know about them because I did a great deal of the field work for my graduate degree within Boeing and informally with folks from HP.
    I was working with various definitions and measures of “Reliability.” [see Quality Planning and Analysis: From Product Development through Use by Frank M. Gryna, J. M. Juran].
    While Boeing was recognized as a pioneer of using “Probability of Success” as a measure of Reliability in the aviation community, their research actually involved many engineers from all over the industry.  The concept of determining and labeling the dependent components of a system with individual “reliability” ratings, in order to determine an over-all system reliability was a critical concept.  (Perhaps one of the reasons the industry operates above Six Sigma.)
    Though it was originally the language of the engineering world, we found we could build models of computing reliability and administrative reliability using the same concept.  In testing our theory of a new model for computing reliability, we discovered that HP had pioneered the concept 30 years before us.  At that time in my life I had very little interest in spending time on ground that had been covered others.  So I focused the rest of my work on developing models of Administrative Process Reliability.
    This might be a good point to apologize for assumptions in the above rambling.  I have assumed that you already understand that operating at Six Sigma is the same as operating at a Reliability of .9999966 probability of success.  Any way, I will submit a request to a friend of mine who is a corporate librarian at Boeing and ask for permission to share their papers with the Six Sigma community.
     
    Michael

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    #76371

    marcel
    Participant

    Bill Smith was the originator of SS at Motorola, and he did die; probably from being stigmatized…

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    #76372

    marcel
    Participant

    I’m not familiar with the USA Today article, but as you say they did give hime credit for it.  I don’t understand your bantor re the article; the guy’s dead and he got credit for something…

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    #76393

    Hill
    Member

    If we truly are trying to trace the origins of Six Sigma, don’t we need to start with Shewhart and his theory of 3 sigma as the point in a process that requires correction. And I was told that in the 1940s, a Cpk of 1.4 became the acceptable performance level to qualify a piece of hardware or test equipment. Also, what about Philip Crosby’s theory (1961-ish?) of Zero Defects based on the 12 sigma approach ( statistically, at 12 sigma the population required before a predictable defect could occur would be so great that almost none would)? With the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense embracing this concept and seeking zero defects from suppliers, couldn’t this account for companies like Boeing embracing it pre-Motorola? (Of course, this could end up being one of those “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” discussions.)

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