continuous improvement 3

Continuous Improvement

In this unit, we study one of Quality Management’s biggest concepts: Six Sigma. Six Sigma is a framework for quality improvement based on statistics (“sigma” refers to the standard variation in a normal distribution; “six sigma” means that six times the standard variation, or 99.99966% of the performance, falls within customer requirements) and a set of tools and methods that are implemented to reduce variation in processes.

The Six Sigma framework relies heavily on the DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) process, which we will examine in detail after reviewing the basics of quality management and how they apply specifically to the concept of Six Sigma.

Finally, we will examine how the Six Sigma methodology relates to other quality improvement systems, such as the Lean method, and how they can be applied jointly.

Reading (see all attached as pdf.)

Six Sigma (Knowles) Chapters 1-5 – pp. 10-39; Chapters 10-12 – pp. 63-86

Supplemental reading:
Lean Six Sigma: Research and Practice (Antony, Kumar) Ch. 2, Lean Six Sigma: Exploring future potential and challenges – pp. 35-45



Read the article “Why You Can Safely Ignore Six Sigma” in Fortune Magazine, Jan. 22, 2001 (available at Do you agree with its criticism of the Six Sigma approach? Some things to ponder are:

  • Do the results of Six Sigma have an impact on the financial statements, and therefore on stock value?
  • Is Six Sigma only valuable to early adopters?
  • Does Six Sigma apply to the service industry, since it focuses on defects, which are difficult to identify in services?
  • Does Six Sigma help products find a market?

Please answer in 250 words or more. As usual, use your own words – please do not copy and paste from a web site. Be sure to reference your sources.


This week’s Written Assignment can be found in BUS4406WAUnit5Questions (1). Please use Copy of BUS4406WAUnit5SixSigmaDPMOConversionTable as a reference.

Be sure to use in text citation and provide references for your sources. Wikipedia is not a source.


Consider the following questions for reflection:

If you have to implement a continuous improvement methodology in your organization, how will you deal with resistance to change from various stakeholders?

Your answer should reflect your personal experience and should be thoughtful and introspective.

Please write an essay of complete and well composed paragraphs (350 word minimum for the entire essay) Be sure to use in text citation and provide references for your sources. Wikipedia is not a source.

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