Six Sigma for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

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Six Sigma is touted as one of the quality control revolutions of the 20th century. However, the general understanding in the business community goes that such initiatives are only practical for large organizations – Huge companies with hundreds of employees, millions of dollars in turnover and operations spanning more than one geographic location. This is because Six sigma is perceived to be an expensive revolution to bring about in one’s company, one that will involve a careful analysis of process, hiring of external consultants, training of employees among other things. All these initiatives cost a lot of money, and entrepreneurs of small organizations tend to ignore this as beyond their scope of implementation. However, this article gives a simple plan of how this quality control measure, which has become a revolution among most companies the world over, can be implemented in small and medium enterprises also. At the outset, the article makes a clear distinction between Six sigma and TQM. Although it comes under the TQM umberella, Six sigma is said to be distinct due to one key issue- profitable quality control. TQM is said to be an organizational attitude towards perfection- A focus towards improving product quality and meeting customer requirements in a perfectionist way. However, Six sigma strives for a profitable fulfillment of customer requirements- Improving quality only to the extent which doing so improves the company’s profits. That’s why Six sigma is treated as a profit centre , not as a cost centre. It is necessary to implement quality control measures in even small organizations, as they are in essence the back-bone of any economy. Millions of SME’s exist in every country , and some of these eventually turn into the large companies which become prominent in the economy. Also, many large companies depend upon SME’s as their suppliers, distributors and partners in other ways. Therefore, it is obvious that they too would want a Quality management...
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