Does Six Sigma Work in Service Industries?

Abstract:Service and manufacturing organizations have much to learn from one another when it comes to serving customers. While in manufacturing the focus on product quality distracts employees from customer service quality requirements, in the service sector the focus on completing the transaction often distracts from the way that transaction is delivered. Both industries must see that Six Sigma can add value the entire customer service and delivery process. Many service organizations view Six Sigma as just another quality fad with little relevance to their businesses, but the majority of Six Sigma practices and methodologies can be adapted to service industries. While Six Sigma does not reflect all the variables that impact the service process, the behaviorally oriented performance management system does. Behavioral management highlights an important distinction from the Six Sigma standpoint: Sometimes we don't want to reduce variation, but to manage it a way that addresses individual …

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