Motorola had always been a pioneer in the areas of quality and productivity. In the 1980s, Motorola had been the site for improvement programs of productivity and presentations of quality by many experts including Dorian Shainin, Joseph M Juran, Eliyahu Goldratt and Genichi Taguchi. Now the Six Sigma coauthor and the president of Six Sigma Academy was Mikel Harry who was an attendee of some of the programs that was inspired by their thinking and he produced a program for the Government Electronics Motorola Division which includes Juran’s journey of quality, Shainin’s advanced diagnostic tools (Planned Experimentation (PE) and ADT) and Statistical Process Control (SPC) (Hillier and Lieberman, 2001; Goh, 2002).
For improving quality through its process design and product activities Motorola has been a role model. Motorola is widely recognized as the national leader in total quality management. In 1988 the company was offered as a winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and it remains one of the few large companies to have won the award for companywide activities. Total quality management is perceived at all levels of the organization.
Many companies have considerably improved their profitability by means of Six Sigma which originated at Motorola. Due to the tough competition from Japanese Manufacturers the head of the company, Robert W Galvin launched n extensive improvement program early in the 1980s. Juran was called in to assist in the improvement work. He gave three important pieces of advice. They are:
- Work on chronic problems;
- Institute project oriented improvement work; and
- Organize a steering arm which means setting up project teams.
Together with his colleague Frank M Gryna, Juran gave training to management on how to perform effective improvement work. The project teams were trained by means of the video based training program, Juran on Quality Improvement.
Motorola later gave the name Six Sigma to the improvement program. Thu, without the support from Juran, Motorola would probably have not been successful with its program of Six Sigma.
- Goh T N (2002), A Strategic assessment of six sigma, Quality and Reliability Engineering International, London.
- Hillier F S and Lieberman G J (2001), Introduction to Operations Research, Tata McGraw Hill, Boston