John Reed, who was Chairman and CEO of Citibank announced the adoption of Six Sigma as a breakout strategy by the bank in 1997. The authors focus on the implementation of Six Sigma by Citibank in the Asia Pacific. The article discusses some of the major issues that are thrown up and need to be tackled when a major quality initiative is taken up. These include management support and building employee commitment as well as ensuring that measurable output is obtained.
Six Sigma is a quality improvement method. The key driving idea behind the method is that customers do not observe the mean level of performance but that they do observe deviations around this mean. The key issue is therefore,
• quality with consistency and predictability
The “sigma” in Six Sigma measures this deviation. A company that starts measuring the mean number of defects in a process can then contemplate ways to
• reduce the number of defects and bring it as close to zero defects as possible.
Six Sigma is achieved when your process (or product) has
• a mean of 3.4 million defects per million opportunities
• a defect is a failure to meet specification
Ideally, specifications are set with an eye to two things:
• Customer driven standards
• Process capabilities.