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Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

Running head: JAPANESE INFLUENCE ON SIX SIGMA

The Japanese Influence on Six Sigma Operations at Motorola Sakina Middleton Savannah State University

Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

The Japanese Influence on Six Sigma Operations at Motorola Abstract This paper examined the influence Japanese techniques and cultures had on the design of Six Sigma at Motorola, Inc. Six Sigma establishes acceptable ranges of performance with desired products to consist of only 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Employees at Motorola, Inc. borrowed from philosophies, techniques, and methodologies of the Japanese economy to improve production processes within the American industry. Correlations between the Japanese quality evolution and the development of Six Sigma are presented to show the influence the Japanese had on Six Sigma operations at Motorola, Inc.

Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

Innovation stems from ones ambition, creativity, and determination to create a new, life-changing product or service. Without the human element of innovation, technology and production would not be as effective as we know it to be today. As much as one would like to believe inspiration comes from within, a portion of the thought process is derived from past experiences. It is our past that helps mold the present and future. Without knowledge of past experiences, the future would be filled with constant repetitions of unsuccessful events. This same reasoning is applicable when it comes to new advances in technology, as well as methodologies. Usually new technology is attributable to someone identifying a defect or an inefficiency and correcting the problem. This now becomes a new product working efficiently and effectively, yet it is still influenced by the past. The previous illustration can be applied to electronic company Motorola, Inc. and the creation of Six Sigma. Six sigma was influenced by the success and advancements in the Japanese economy and derived from their past techniques and methodologies. This paper follows the following organization. A company history of Motorola, Inc. is presented, documenting original and current products. A literature review of relevant article findings follows, accompanied with a discussion relating to the topic. Research findings are concluded and future research suggestions are offered. Motorola, Inc. was founded September 25, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois by Paul V. and Joseph Galvin under the name Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. At the companys inception, the first product was a battery eliminator; a power converter similar to todays power generators. Two years later Galvin Manufacturing Corporation began diversifying its portfolio with the first Motorola brand car radio. Paul Galvin created the Motorola brand from connecting motor (for motorcar) with ola (implying sound). It was not until the year 1947 that Galvin Manufacturing

Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

Corporation changed to the current company name of Motorola, Inc. Motorola, Inc. is the manufacturer and distributer of telecommunication products. The current product list includes, but is not limited to, mobile phones, networking systems, smartphones, tablet PCs, and televisions (Mullman, 2010). In the early 1980s, the American manufacturing industry was threatened by the advancement and aesthetics of the Japanese economy. Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, and Daripaly (2005) document two events that occurred in the early 1980s causing a change for American manufacturers. The first event was producing small electronics in bulk to be introduced into the market for a reduced price. These smaller electronics ranged from radios to televisions and caught the attention of many consumers seeking the most recent technology. The second event caused more concern to the manufacturing industry than the previous event because it resulted in an open market. The opening of the global markets introduced not only foreign markets to Japanese produced electronics, but also the American economy. As a result, many companies, Motorola, Inc. included, were forced into improving quality in order to remain competitive in the evolving market of goods and services domestically. The open global market and threat of lower priced and higher quality Japanese products was enough for Motorola, Inc. to seek a new process that would improve the companys competitive edge and not lose market share. During the 1980s as the American manufacturing industry was facing mass production of miniature electronics and an open global market, Motorola, Inc. found that they were accumulating more expense for the cost of low quality products which was resulting in a loss of productivity and consumer interest. This loss encompassed the 2,600 parts per million that were lost due to poor productivity, and also defective parts and unreliable machinery. Bill Smith, a

Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

Motorola engineer, conducted independent research in the efforts to improve the companys production processes and found that Six Sigma has failure rates of two parts per billion produced. Although the basic concept of Six Sigma was initially developed by another Motorola employee, Mikel Harvey, it was Bill Smith who instituted the program to achieve a high goal of a failure rate of two parts per billion. In 1987, the introduction of Six Sigma into the manufacturing arena was a step in revolutionizing the scope and use of quality systems in business today (Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, Daripaly, 2005, p.491-492). Motorola, Inc. recognized the open global market as a potential for lost revenues, identified inefficiencies in the production process, and implemented the necessary changes to remain competitive in the evolving manufacturing industry. Literature Review Six Sigma Defined Broadly speaking, Six Sigma encourages businesses to become more efficient in their way of strategically thinking about the problems they face and how to solve them with precision, predictability, and data-driven techniques (Crockett & McGregor, 2006; Goh, 2010). Llorens-Montes and Molina (2006) provide a formal definition of Six Sigma as a quality-management philosophy concentrating on identifying, quantifying, and driving out errors in business processes and in the design of new products, through leadership, customer-centric goals, teamwork, customer-focused metrics, and control of costs (p. 487). Six Sigma establishes acceptable ranges of performance with desired products that are to be virtually free of defects. Although it is impossible for a company to have absolutely no defects, Six Sigma means that there can only 3.4 defects per million opportunities (AlSagheer & Mohammed, 2011). Throughout literature and common usage of Six Sigma by companies, the phrase 3.4 defects per

Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

million opportunities is shortened to become 3.4 DPMO (Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, Daripaly, 2005). Sigma, as a standard of measurement, goes back to the introduction of the normal curve and how far something deviates from the mean. Johann Carl Fredrick Gauss was the German mathematician who contributed the concept of sigma that has been practiced throughout mathematical and statistical studies since its inception (Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, Daripaly, 2005). The six from Six Sigma is derived from the objective of being at least six standard deviations away from the perfect measure, which is normally referred to as the mean, under a normal distribution (Crockett & McGregor, 2006). These two individual words combine to create a methodology that is focused on process and based on statistical thinking and methods (Snee, 2005). Research dated back to January, 2006, show that about 35% of companies within the United States of America have incorporated a Six Sigma program in the hopes of reducing defects and increasing profits (Crockett & McGregor, 2006). Japanese Influence Snee illustrates the evolution of Six Sigma over the past 100 years. Six Sigma was not developed from one specific event or method, but it has been derived from a series of advances in methodologies that have origins in the Japanese culture (Snee, 2005). Six Sigma concepts and philosophies have common qualities and the same origin as total quality management (TQM). The origin Six Sigma shares with total quality management is Japans quality evolution (Dahlgaard & Dahlgaard-Park, 2006). Total quality management is a system of management with values, methodologies, and tools that seek to improve customer satisfaction through utilizing a reduced amount of resources (Klefsjo, Wiklund, Edgeman, 2001). The quality evolution of Japan consisted of the learning attitude and patterns adopted by the Japanese people

Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

which provided a clear goal for becoming educated on the issues of quality within their country. Within the quality evolution process of Japan, Japanese companies moved through the following four stages: awareness of the need to learn about quality control and improvement methods, importing, adopting, and learning about quality control and improvement methods, digesting and implementation, and mastery (Dahlgaard-Park, 1999). Total quality management is a result of Japans quality evolution and incorporates Hoshin, a Japanese technique which identifies the targets and objectives of any problem and brings them to fruition (Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, Daripaly, 2005). Under total quality management, managements role is to provide a way to achieve a target statement that is set within the organization. As illustrated in Dahlgaard and Dahlgaard-Parks article, the principles of total quality management are embedded within the contents of Motorolas plan to achieve Six Sigma in six steps (2006). With Motorolas Six Sigma process having the same origin as total quality management, it is not strange that commonalities exist within the basic principles of both methodologies. Six Sigma is also derived from the Japanese process known as Kaizen. Kaizen was developed by the Japanese to improve the quality of goods that were produced closely after the Second World War (Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, Daripaly, 2005). A key focus of Kaizen that relates this process to Six Sigma is the elimination of waste. In the Japanese language, waste translates into muda. Kaizen techniques seek to reduce overproduction and scrap which turn into waste, causing loss to companies. Dr. Shigeo Shingo developed Zero Quality Control from Kaizen techniques in which Motorola revised the ideology behind Zero Quality Control and implemented it as the process of Six Sigma (Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, Daripaly, 2005; Woodall, 2001).

Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

Contributors of Six Sigma Six Sigmas focus on variation and processes is a central theme of process control that is accredited to Dr. Walter A. Shewart and developed by his student W. Edward Deming (Klefsjo, Wiklund, Edgeman, 2001; Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, Daripaly, 2005). Process control, formally defined, is a function in a production process that seeks to find deviations from the optimum process outputs and also uses proactive means to look for any process shifts before the product quality is compromised (Raisinghani, Ette, Pierce, Cannon, Daripaly, 2005, p. 495). Deming is better known as the Father of Quality, and his works were ignored in the United States (Drake, Sutterfield, Ngassam, 2008). In relating process control to Japans quality evolution, publications from W. Edward Deming were the basis of the quality movement along with developments and concepts contributed from Juran, Crosby, and others. Deming traveled to Japan after World War II and began teaching Statistical Quality Control (SQC). His work throughout the quality evolution of Japan is attributed to Japans well-respected level of quality known worldwide. Juran traveled to Japan in the 1950s to help improve the economy by teaching the principles of quality management. The main points Juran taught were Quality Planning, Quality Control, and Quality Improvement. These three points are known as the Quality Trilogy. These philosophers contributed to the quality evolution in Japan, which was the shaping force of Six Sigma at Motorola, Inc. (Drake, Sutterfield, Ngassam, 2008). Discussion The previous literature review provides the foundation for the information necessary in illustrating the Japanese influence of Six Sigma at Motorola. The development of Six Sigma at Motorola was not a completely new process Bill Smith developed from scratch. Six Sigma, similar to almost all methodologies, was the result of an accumulation of processes already in

Japanese Influence on Six Sigma

circulation throughout different companies and countries. Japan has produced Kaizen, Total Quality Management, and Zero Quality Control; all of which are processes and techniques incorporated within Six Sigma. Not only is Japan accredited with producing the aforementioned techniques, it is also the origin of techniques such as Just-in-Time (JIT) and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) (Basu, 2001). Japans influence impacts many of the present-day methodologies with an abundance of techniques resulting from the countrys quality movement. Japans quality movement, a result of philosophers such as Deming, Juran, and Crosby (Drake, Sutterfield, Ngassam, 2008), was the driving force of what has grown to become the success of Six Sigma from Motorola, Inc. The quality evolution of Japan has coined the Japanese economy with having a high quality level other countries seek to replicate. Six Sigma is a culmination of techniques and methodologies that have been adapted to the needs of the American industry with the first company, Motorola, Inc. opening the doors for the implementation at many companies to come. Conclusion Motorola, Inc.s development and implementation of Six Sigma was due to Japans quality-sensitive culture and economy. The concept of Six Sigma was a result of incorporating multiple Japanese techniques into a process that was applicable to the American industry. Total Quality management, Kaizen, and Zero Quality Control are the three primary Japanese techniques that are encompassed throughout the methodologies, processes, and philosophies of Six Sigma. Throughout history, there is a constant borrowing of ideas that has helped shape the world into how we know it today. Without the past, there is not a basis for the future. Without utilizing information of what has not been successful, there would be constant repetition of failure. In order to learn and prosper, one must change what was wrong in the past to adapt and

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make it better for the future. Six Sigma is an illustration of this concept. Employees at Motorola, Inc. took concepts and techniques from the Japanese culture that illustrated what was desired in the United States of America and adapted them to the necessary industries. Six Sigma is a product of Japanese influence and now utilized throughout many companies and organizations. Future Research Suggestions Future research suggestions of Six Sigma would include researching the application in different industries in the United States. Recent research efforts of Six Sigma include its application in the lifecycle of an automated decision system (Patterson, Bonissone, Pavese, 2005) and also within the customer service process (Fraser & Fraser, 2011). Further research topics of Six Sigma can include the implementation throughout the services industry and the application of Six Sigma in the international market. Within the services industry, Six Sigma will assist in placing more emphasis on the reduction of defects with regards to the human element. Although Six Sigma was implemented and applied within the manufacturing industry of the United States of America, there are still research opportunities to investigate the application of Six Sigma internationally. As Six Sigma was adapted from Japanese cultures, other countries have adapted Six Sigma from Motorola, Inc.s success and the success or failure other countries have had with regards to Six Sigma provides an outlet for future research.

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Llorens-Montes, F. J. & Molina, L. M. (2006). Six Sigma and Management Theory: Processes, Content and Effectiveness. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 17(4), 485-506. Mullman, J. (2010). Motorolas Longevity Lies in its Simple Approach. Advertising Age, 81(13), 20. Patterson, A., Bonissone, P., & Pavese, M. (2005). Six Sigma Applied Throughout the Lifecycle of an Automated Decision System. Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 21, 275-292. Raisinghani, M. S., Ette, H., Pierce, R., Cannon, G., & Daripaly, P. (2005). Six sigma: Concepts, tools, and applications. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 105(3), 491-505. Snee, R. D. (2005). Leading Business Improvement: a New Role for Statisticians and Quality Professionals. Quality & Engineering International, 21(3), 235-242. Woodall, T. (2001). Six Sigma and Service Quality: Christian Gronroos Revisited. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(5), 595-607.