Summary of The New Six Sigma

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  • Innovative
  • Background
  • For Beginners


Motorola invented Six Sigma. This concise handbook promises to introduce readers to the history of Six Sigma, to explain Six Sigma’s leadership requirements and to point the way for Six Sigma practitioners to go forward. It delivers admirably on these promises. Many Six Sigma books offer dense diagrams and mind-numbing descriptions of all of the minutiae that goes into the process improvement program. This book provides a broader perspective. It necessarily sacrifices much of the operational detail in order to present a good general introduction to the subject. This is not the book for managers who need a field-guide or an instruction manual to forge ahead with implementing a Six Sigma program. But for those who have heard of Six Sigma, wonder what it is about and want a good, basic, elementary explanation, believes this book will serve nicely.

About the Authors

Dr. Matt Barney is director of the Six Sigma Business Improvement Group for Motorola University where Tom McCarty is vice president of consulting and training services.




U.S. industry was in a slump in the 1970s, and Motorola slumped worse than many. This was the decade when Japan came into its own as a major international competitive force. Aided by an arguably artificially weak yen and by an undeniably superior set of quality processes, the Japanese companies were gaining market share at Motorola’s expense. In 1973, Motorola threw up the white flag in the consumer electronics segment and sold that business to the Japanese. In 1974, the semiconductor industry had eight leaders - five American and three European. By 1979, Japanese companies had dislodged two of the leaders and taken their spots among the top eight semiconductor companies.

In 1979, at a Motorola office meeting, senior sales vice president Art Sundry summed up the customer feedback he’d received in a pithy, pointed observation, "Our quality stinks!" Sundry would play a major role in CEO Bob Galvin’s plan to turn Motorola into a competitor again. The plan, unveiled in 1980, had four points:

  • Competitiveness - Motorola would benchmark its performance against competitors. It would design products for global markets. It would take aggressive action...

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