Linking Six Sigma with QS-9000

Article

Munro, Roderick A.   (2000, ASQ)  

Quality Progress    Vol. 33    No. 5
QICID: 13916    May 2000    pp. 47-53
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Article Abstract

Six Sigma is changing the way the automotive industry approaches quality improvement. Ford Motor Company is the first automaker to use Six Sigma to focus on customer satisfaction, and several other automotive suppliers plan to use the approach as well. Six Sigma has been characterized as an iconoclastic approach to quality, and experts are concerned about how it will interact with existing quality systems and approaches. Released in 1994, QS 9000, the automotive quality system, comprises seven documents. The original concept for QS 9000 was developed by supplier executives at a conference for automotive industry OEMs in 1988. The Six Sigma Breakthrough Strategy has been defined as a disciplined way of using rigorous data gathering and statistical analysis to identify sources of errors and ways to eliminate them. The system includes several elements that may be new to quality professionals, including the sophistication of methods, intensity of method application, and the degree of coordination and accountability involved. For the automotive industry, Six Sigma brings tools such as process mapping, multivariate studies, rolled throughput yield, pre-control, different ways to calculate capability, and new calculations for defects per unit or defects per million. Six Sigma may not always be a good match with existing quality management systems, but it offers the automotive industry the opportunity to build on the success of previous quality efforts.

Keywords

Six Sigma,Quality improvement (QI),QS 9000,Customer satisfaction (CS),Automobile industry


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