From the Editor: A Look at Six Sigma's Roots - ASQ

From the Editor: A Look at Six Sigma’s Roots


A. Blanton Godfrey

This issue is quite special. We go back to the roots of Six Sigma and talk with Bob Galvin, chairman and CEO of Motorola in the 1970s and 1980s. Galvin took Motorola and turned it into the company that created Six Sigma and became the first large company to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Motorola became the role model for how a company could transform into an organization with world-class quality and market leadership.

The issue opens with an update by Matt Barney on how Motorola is building on its tradition of Six Sigma and incorporating other methods such as the balanced scorecard into its overall quality program.

The following article by Andrea Kabcenell and Don Berwick shows how Galvin’s leadership and the fundamental principle of Six Sigma, pursuing perfection, is being translated into a national initiative to transform the provision of healthcare in the United States.

Most appropriately, we follow Kabcenell and Berwick’s article with a description by Greg Stock of how one hospital is employing Six Sigma. This introduces us to a major movement translating Six Sigma’s methods and tools for use in a new area of application that shows exciting promise.

We then add two outstanding articles by two of the most exceptional leaders in the Six Sigma world—Gerry Hahn and Roger Hoerl. These authors not only provided leadership within General Electric during its remarkable Six Sigma implementation, they also shared their ideas, methods and practices through articles, book chapters and personal leadership within ASQ and the American Statistical Association (ASA).

W.I. Notz provides our guest editorial this month. He shares how Technometrics, a joint publication of ASQ and ASA, has contributed to Six Sigma’s growing body of literature. We then continue our practice of searching for the best literature in the field by interviewing some of the leading Six Sigma teachers about what references they use for their courses. We appreciate Ramon Leon’s hard work putting this section together.

Rounding out the issue is the interview with Galvin, in which he continues to share his philosophy about the drive toward perfection with leaders from business, government, universities and healthcare. This month’s “Final Thoughts” contains Galvin’s “Welcome Heresies,” a document that was created many years ago but is still relevant.

As always we welcome your comments, suggestions and even gripes about Six Sigma Forum Magazine, and we are also interested in receiving your contributions to future issues. We have been extremely pleased by the comments we have received so far, the rapid growth in subscriptions and the willingness of some of the top leaders in the field to contribute.

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