GE Looks AWAY from Six Sigma for Growth

In what may be a major blow to the popularity of Six Sigma, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt has acknowledged recently that corporate efficiency may have come at the expense of the customer.  The company who made famous the Six Sigma efficiency program is not branching out of that model to achieve greater success the company must focus not only on cost efficiency, but on growth as well.  The success of the company has meant that opportunities for accelerated growth are increasingly more difficult to find, so the company will need to offer a wider variety of innovative products as well as more comprehensive service.  This strategy diverges from the cost cutting efficiency oriented focus of the company which has helped it to achieve the phenomenal profits and success that it is known for. Reports:

G.E. has launched an aggressive campaign to transform itself into a new-idea-generating innovation machine.  The effort is commendable, and as G.E. is learning it’s difficult to teach potatoes to become carrots.

If you take this article at face value it could easily be aa cause for alam to the Six Sigma community at large. Unfortunately the article is very much taken out of context if you have read other material from Jack Welch. It tends to shed a light of cheap sensationalism on the article.

There was never any question that most companies strive to make Six Sigma part of their DNA. I don’t necessarily understand everything that some corporate marketing person means from a comment like that. If I extrapolate DNA as it applies to myself to the corporate model maybe the Jack Welch strategy “the way we work” makes sense.

As human beings we do not walk around talking incessantly about our DNA structure (unless of course you are on trial). It is important to who I am, what I look like, how I behave, etc but it exists in the background.

Six Sigma should not remain the one and only thing that the GE CEO speaks about. Even if they quit speaking about it does not mean it is any less important to the overall strategy of the company. The program has been in place for about a decade. It is now part of the platform that other programs build on. Work out, DFT, CAP are all similar. They are basic to the way GE does business. They enable other initiatives and company growth. Jack Welch has stated very clearly that the “e” business was enabled by Six Sigma. That is simply the way things work and how things evolve. It’s the circle of life Simba.”

Understanding the role that Six Sigma is playing as part of the basic foundation to GE growth is an even stronger case for companies to either engage a Six Sigma type initiative or add impetus to the program they have.