The central goal of this investigation is to provide a strategic quality management (SQM) implementation plan for an organization. General Electric has been selected as the organization most in need of this type of program. Although the organization has a long history of implementing Six Sigma as a means to improve operations, changes in upper management in the organization have impacted the impact of this program on the organization. With this in mind, this investigation will provide a brief overview of the current situation at General Electric. With this background in place, a proposal for improving the existing strategic quality management framework that is already in place in the organization will be developed. Through this proposal, General Electric should be able to improve operations and once again maximize its efficiency and productivity.
Background on General Electric
A precursory overview of the General Electric organization demonstrates that notable problems have developed for the company in recent years. Gunther (2004) reports that when Jeffrey R. Immelt took over as CEO of the GE organization in 2001, the company experienced a number of setbacks.
[...] Lee (2004) contends that “Corporate innovation and Six Sigma go hand in hand if the methodology is fully utilized” (ISSSP session As such, it is possible for GE to adhere to a culture of innovation that allows for some degree of strategic quality management though the application of Six Sigma. Examining how innovation and Six Sigma can exist simultaneously in the organization Lee goes on to examine the specific Six Sigma/innovation techniques that are being used at 3M. According to this author, 3M has a new product introduction process in place that enables the organization to “derive innovative ideas.” Once these ideas are derived, Sigma provides the rigorous methodology to ensure that development does not flag. [...]
[...] Members of the organization will be allowed to use this information to further spur development and innovation in the organization. In addition, the achievement of quality awards in the organization will be celebrated with both organizational and community recognition—i.e. awards for employees and information provided to the local press about the success of the organization. Conclusion The process of strategic quality management is one that carries with it a number of notable challenges. This is especially true for the GE organization. [...]
[...] One author examining the award notes that there are two features of this award that make it a viable means for measuring the success of the organization in terms of quality management: The award focuses performance excellence for the entire organization in an overall management framework.” The award also identifies and tracks “all-important organizational results: customer product/service, financial, human resource and organizational effectiveness” (Baldrige National , 2002). When this information is placed in the context of the specific program that needs to be developed for General Electric, it is evident that this award provides a solid framework for the organization to follow. [...]
[...] One scholar examining the development of Six Sigma in the GE organization under Welch notes that Six Sigma was originally developed as a quality management tool for the organization. However, as the program developed, Welch expanded the program to all aspects of the organization. In this context Six Sigma was not just used for quality development in the organization; rather it was used as a central force to drive organizational development and change (Six Sigma , 2005). When Immelt took over as CEO of General Electric in 2001, he pledged to continue the tradition of Six Sigma that had been created by Jack Welch. [...]
[...] Thus, in order to align the forces, the organization must develop a strategic framework for product development that builds on these aspects. When an innovative solution is developed by members of the organization, metrics need to be put in place to assess customer response to the product; the ability of suppliers to provide materials for the project; and the potential for new or competitive products to take over the market. The data gathered in the initial stages of product development will provide a clear understanding of the overall feasibility of the project from both the standpoint of the customer and the standpoint of the organization. [...]
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