Ford in the 1980s, has been introducing revolutionary products, using the the total quality management to drive down cost, and gain market share, with a household slogan”quality is job1”, but lately the no. 2 automaker had gaffes, that have cost it customer satisfaction, market share, and making it ranks last among the big-seven automakers.
To counter these quality gaffes, like the explorer tire debucle, ford began overhauling its quality process, and redefined the way they approached business, as its new vision have become as stated by Ford CEO Jacque Nasser”ford motor company’s vision is to become the world’s leading consumer company for automative products and services, focusing intensively on customer satisfaction which will make improvements in the bottom line, as customer who are are satisfied stays loyal to the company.
To acheive ford’s vision it has used six sigma, to enable processes to produce results with no more than 3. 4 defects per million, it started in 1990’s when the director of quality was searching for ways to improve quality, influenced by the phong vu the top management has seen it as the perfect oppurtunity, to accomplish its goals, by identifying the top 25 customer concerns, and focusing intensively on these issues. Training for six sigma has begun, with ford’s ceo becoming a regularly champion.
After ford’s leadership has been trained, and with the purchase of a license for six sigma academy, training for the entire corporation has begun, training for master black belts, black belts, and green belts, with a goal to maintain 2500 black belts at all time, and to train all professional salaried employees to be green belts. An overview Green belt: receive one week of training, to acheive basic understanding of how six sigma works, there main purpose is to aid black belts to do their job faster, and to maintain the improvement once the project is completed .
Black belts: black belts receive four weeks of training, while work on actual projects while training, they have intensive training of six sigmal tools, like DMAIC cycle, and process mapping. Maser black belt: master black belts are the highest level, the master black belt mission is to teach, coach, black belts, and green belts to help complete the projects, and to mentor black belts to eliminate road blocks, and support them to acheive their projects.
Master black belts manage large and complex called megaprojects. Project champions: receives training for three to five days, typically managers, they identify projects with master black belts. And provide resources needed. Thr projects chosen must meet three main criteria, they must relate to customer satisfaction, reduce defects by at least 70 percent, and each projects should average 250,000 dollars in cost savings. On a identified project, black belts begin to work focusing on DMAIC cycle.
Define: at this stage several steps are defined, including the identification of the customers and what matters to them, as well as the scope, the time frame, and the financial gains of the project. Measure: Black belts need to know what the process is, developing process measures called Y’s to evaluate performance of the process. Black belts identify input variables that causes variation in process performance. Using different tools like, FMEA, cause and effect, several others.
Analyse: in this step black belts prioritize the input variables, that causes variation in process performance, identifying the root causes of problems and oppurtunities for improvement. Black belts begin to look at the effect of changing process inputs on the process performance, and how similar processes function at different locations. They use different tools, like process mapping, regression analysis, and more. Improve: at this stage black belts generate solutions to the problem and the select the best addresses the root cause, common tools process mapping, simulation, and optimization.
Controle: this is the final stage institutionalizes the improvement and implements the ongoing control. Black do whatever is necessary, to impliment effectively, the plan, they use tools, like control plans, statistical process, and others. The project at ford is not closed until the DMAIC cycle is finished and can audit the results. Despite the commitment of ford, it did encounter a few obstacles, one being cheifly skeptical employees, which can only be solved by time, success, and enthusism.
Resource allocation, sending its, senior, top managers, and 10,000 other employees for training during two years, and finally data availability as six sigma requires alot of data and the internal measures of ford and data aren’t there to complete he project, so ford created measurement systems, as they improving the accessibility of data, and with the help of black belts they are breaking the barriers. Ford investment has cost it excluding the $6 million training license, and other thousands of hours in training, but ford is seeing results ford estimates a 300 million contribution from closed
projects and two point increase in customer satisfaction, with 1000 project completed, and 3000 on its ways, which takes ford to a second stage which is the desing for six sigma it is not just to prevent problems, but also to create new products. The implimentation of six sigma in ford has been a success, primarly to the two factors a commited leadership, and a dedication to understanding customers, and proves that even a huge organization can impliment a restructuring in the way it thinks about customer, which is the most valuable resources, with the help of six sigma ford may yet make “Quality job1” again.