This paper attempts to demonstrate the power of six sigma, a disciplined approach to improving product, process or service quality, in the service industry.
The paper presents the basic features that characterize six sigma followed by a simple methodology for six sigma applied to service operations. The paper also illustrates a set of tools and techniques used within six sigma for service process performance improvement. Key success factors for the implementation of six sigma in service organisations and the factors for selection of winning projects are also addressed.
The paper draws the point that six sigma is not same as other quality initiatives such as TQM due to various misconceptions among many quality practitioners with these two philosophies. There are also limitations of six sigma and these are outlined and discussed.
Although six sigma has been successfully implemented in many manufacturing industries, its application in the service sector is still comparatively limited due to various constraints. This paper presents the potential areas where six sigma could be exploited in service functions.
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