Six Sigma Champion - Neutron Jack Welch

From 1981 to 1985, he cut 100,000 jobs, an act so painful to employees that they began referring to him as ''Neutron Jack,'' after the nuclear bomb that vaporizes people but leaves buildings standing.

Now for the leaner side of Sigma Six.

From GE:
Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps us focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.

Why "Sigma"? The word is a statistical term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection. The central idea behind Six Sigma is that if you can measure how many "defects" you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how to eliminate them and get as close to "zero defects" as possible. To achieve Six Sigma Quality, a process must produce no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. An "opportunity" is defined as a chance for nonconformance, or not meeting the required specifications. This means we need to be nearly flawless in executing our key processes.

Bill Smith (1929 - 1993) is the "Father of Six Sigma". Born in Brooklyn, New York, Smith graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1952 and studied at the University of Minnesota School of Management (now known as the Carlson School of Management). In 1987, after working for nearly 35 years in engineering and quality assurance, he joined Motorola, serving as vice president and senior quality assurance manager for the Land Mobile Products Sector.

Bill Smith spent years convincing the higher management at Motorola about his new quality control process, Six Sigma. Six Sigma is the TQM spin-off that has generated billions of dollars for Motorola. As a Motorola employee, Smith did not share directly in the profits generated by the company's Six Sigma applications. However, over the years, he and Motorola garnered numerous awards and recognition for his vital work to improve profitability in America's manufacturing sector. He was especially proud of his role in Motorola's winning the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The Baldrige Award came in 1988, two years after Motorola implemented Smith's Six Sigma principles.

Smith died of a heart attack at work in 1993.

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