Preface

In 1996, General Electric CEO Jack Welch praised Six Sigma as "the most important initiative GE has ever undertaken." Yet despite widespread success with Six Sigma, two years later Welch articulated one shortfall (GE Annual Report, 1998):

We have tended to use all our energy and Six Sigma science to "move the mean" to … reduce order-to-delivery time to … 12 days…. The problem is, as has been said, "the mean never happens,' and the customer … is still seeing variances in when the deliveries actually occur—a heroic 4-day delivery time on one order, with an awful 20-day delay on another, and no real consistency…. Variation is evil.

Welch's statement was prompted ...

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