Why Were GE and Grace Successful?

On the surface, GE and Grace are as different as two companies might be.

GE is a name recognized throughout the world, and its 2001 revenues were about $130 billion. Both the giant conglomerate and its previous CEO, Jack Welch, have been studied and reported on by business schools and journals for 20 years.

Grace is a small company focused in a few niche markets. Many consumers, not to mention business scholars, are likely to be unfamiliar with it.

Yet, both firms achieved remarkable financial results from Six Sigma. In fact, on some metrics Grace might be considered even more successful than GE. What did they have in common that led to such success?

Some Common Misconceptions

We should first note what the two ...

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