The worldwide competition, deregulation and rapid technology changes are bringing focus on quality awareness. The management strives to achieve total quality management by mobilising the whole organisation to adhere to quality continuously economically. Various techniques have been propounded by the thinkers so as to achieve quality. Total quality Management was first suggested by Nancy Warren, a behavioural scientist in US navy in 1985 (Gupta, 2009). Total Quality Management can be defined as “an integrated organisational approach in delighting customers (both internal and external) by meeting their expectations on a continuous basis through everyone involved with the organisation working on continuous improvement in all products, services and processes along with proper problem—solving methodology” (Indian Statistical Institute, n.d.).
Wipro Ltd. was established in 1945 as Western India Vegetable Products Limited in Amalner, Maharashtra. As of now it is a global information technology, consulting and outsourcing company with 170,000+ workforce serving clients in 175+ cities across 6 continents. The company posted revenues of $7.6 billion for the financial year 2014-15. Wipro helps customers do business better by leveraging their industry wide experience, deep technology expertise, comprehensive portfolio of services and vertically aligned business model (Wipro, 2016).
Need for Total Quality Management
Wipro being a leading provider of communication networks in the US required improvement in the product performance of telecom applications. With growing importance on aligning business operations with customer needs and driving continuous improvement, Wipro began moving towards focussing on quality, thereby implementing techniques of total quality management. Some of the key challenges were: reduction in data transfer time, reduction in risk, avoidance of interruption due to LAN/WAN downtime and parallel availability of the switch for the other administrative tasks during the same period (Sharma, 2012).
Technique chosen and its implementation
Wipro chose to implement Six Sigma technique of total quality management (Sharma, 2012). Six Sigma is a statistical term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection. Six Sigma was chosen because it helps in measuring the defects systematically and figures out how to eliminate them and get close to zero defects as possible (Sharma, 2012). Wipro used it as a measure of quality that strives to near perfection. It was centred on the accomplishment of the objectives such as: having products and services meet global benchmarks, ensuring robust processes within the organization, continuously meet and exceed customer expectations and make quality a culture within.
Wipro adopted the project approach for Six Sigma, where projects were identified on the basis of the problem areas under each of the critical Business Processes Wipro evolved the following Six Sigma methodologies for the business processes:
- For developing new processes: DSSS (Direct-sequence-spread-spectrum) methodology was used for software development. This methodology used rigorous in process metrics and cause analysis throughout the software development lifecycle for defect free deliveries and lower customer cost of application development.
- For developing existing processes: DMAIC (Define- measures- analyse- improve- control) and TQSS (Transactional quality using Six Sigma) were used for non transactional and transactional processes respectively.
- For reengineering: Cross functional process mapping was used for reengineering business processes.
The process followed for the implementation of the above methodologies is explained below:
- Built the culture: Implementation of Six Sigma required support from high level managers. For this the company restructured the organisation and provided infrastructure, training and confidence in the process.
- Selection of the project: For the selection of the right project the field data was collected, process map was developed and importance of the project was judged from the eyes of the customers.
- Resources: Resources were identified on the basis of short term and long term requirements. The project selected was a crucial factor in determining the resources required.
- Controlling: Wipro developed a team of experts for reviewing the projects. It was done to see the timeliness of the project completion, targeting of gaps, weak areas and deviations.
Company’s performance after implementation of the model
The financial gain that Wipro has achieved by using Six Sigma has been commendable. As the Six Sigma initiative started maturing Wipro identified two major phenomenons:
- The biggest projects had all completed on time without hurdles.
- The yellow-belt culture where smaller process improvement projects were handled using plan-do-check-act methodology had cured little problems before they became big ones.
- The Six Sigma process resulted in the achievement of close to 250%, 6 minutes for 1 MB transfer and 18 minutes for average transfer. Furthermore, it led to lower maintenance cost, schedule overrun costs and development costs for customers. Performance was improved through a precise understanding of the customer’s requirements. Software defects were reduced by 50% and rework in software went down from 12% to 5%. Waste elimination increased productivity up to 35%. Installation failures wend down from 4.5% to 1% in hardware business. Ownership cost was lowered by 30-40% and productivity went up by 20-30%. 93% projects were completed on time and field defects were lowered by 67% of the average industry rate. The performance enhancement enabled the clients to have an improved product with the overriding benefit that the end customer perception of the quality of the client’s product is improved (Sharma, 2012).
- About Wipro (2016). “Company Overview”. Available at: http://www.wipro.com/about-Wipro/ (Last accessed on Feb. 10th, 2016)
- Sharma (2012). “Case study on Six Sigma at Wipro Technologies: Thrust on quality”. Available at: http://www.iitk.ac.in/infocell/announce/convention/papers (Last accessed on Feb. 10th, 2016)
- Aveta business institute (2016). “Six Sigma Yellow Belt Training and Certification”. Available at: http://www.sixsigmaonline.org/six-sigma-yellow-belt-training/ (Last accessed on Feb. 10th, 2016)
- Gupta (2009). 4th edition. Functional Management. New Delhi: Kalyani Publishers.