Using Existing Quality Mgt Systems as a Base for Six Sigma?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Using Existing Quality Mgt Systems as a Base for Six Sigma?

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    Randi Rosenberg

    I’ve heard two schools of thought on how and whether to use existing QMS’s such as ISO/TQM/Baldrige as a foundation for Six Sigma implementation.

    Some say this is the most efficient solution (especially for smaller co’s), and others say “scrap everything” and build 6S from scratch.

    Can anyone tell me from experience which is the best way to go about it??



    My experience tells me that everytime someone leaves Dr Demings Profound Knowledge and wisdom, something is lost along the way. My advice: Use TQM–the whole package, being careful to examine and understand the whirlpool of information that exists where people, process, variation, and machines come together. Above all, don’t refine a process so much that the end-user actually suffers, example: the growth of call centers has occurred because of process improvement aimed at increased eficiency, but quality has suffered as ignorant masses of underpaid operators field calls from customers thirsty for help from a person who really works in the organization verses someone flipping through a help book. Antoher example: HMOs, need I explain this one? Study Dr. Deming’s core beliefs, stay human, and stay on course as it will take time!


    Patrick Waddick

    A colleague of mine offered that ISO 9001 “qualifies us”, and that Six Sigma enables us to “win the game.”

    It has been my experience that how an organization thinks, and approaches quality will determine its success. I’ve seen companies run themselves into the ground with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, CMM, TQM, etc. in the sense that more time is spent auditing, preparing for audits, and correcting deficiencies from the audits, instead of actually getting deeply involved in the processes being used to meet customer needs. In the end, what you may end up with is an organization focused on compliance, or “qualification”, but not on winning the game, winning customers, etc. Auditing is a form of inspection, and we all know what Deming said about inspection.

    Nevertheless, when a company embraces Six Sigma and lays out a roadmap for success, i.e. it defines its quality system, or approach, part of the overall implementation strategy may boil down to: How quickly and easily can we adapt to the Six Sigma approach? For some companies, the cultural change may have to come more gradually, as people realize that Six Sigma is not compliance based, and there are no required internal audits, for which they are accustomed to. The transformation might be better suited to adopt a QMS, based on the framework of Six Sigma, and develop the “qualifying” system before “going for the win.” The new version of ISO 9001:2000 seems to have placed more emphasis on many of the TQM and Six Sigma focuses: customer satisfaction, metrics, and continual improvement.

    My personal opinion is that there has to be a justification from the customer as to what QMS system should be used, or if one should be used at all. Does the customer need the ISO stamp? If so, then perhaps the QMS can be used as a “qualifier” for Six Sigma and also serve as the document and record keeping vehicle. If not, then I would scrap it in favor of Six Sigma as a stand alone.

    Six Sigma is the finest quality system I have come across in my professional life. Why? Because it is designed to improve the bottom line of your company. What could be more important?

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