Omnex unveils Six Sigma initiatives in India
Chennai: Omnex Quality and Management Consultants, a wholly owned subsidiary of
Omnex, Inc., has launched its Six Sigma consulting division here. The US company
is an international consulting, training and software outfit, specializing in business
and quality improvement methodologies.
So what is Six Sigma, and how is it different from other quality systems like ISO
9000 series, Deming, Malcolm Baldrige, Toyota Production System, and Lean Manufacturing?
says principal consultant in performance excellence and Six Sigma Master Blackbelt
for Omnex Engineering and Management, Inc. Gregory F Gruska: "It is a systematic
and holistic approach to reduce defects and wastes by beefing up the bottom line
and returns on investments."
The process involves use of statistical tools to observe process variables and manage
the variances and characteristics with active involvement of the top management,
as it is a company-wide activity. The other basic tenets are: focusing on projects
that will provide immediate tangible returns and dedicating fulltime resources for
"The Six Sigma process involves recognizing and defining the problem by the 'champion'
- the management representative. Then the 'black belt' - consultant - takes over
and will measure (identify the key process inputs and outputs and evaluate the ability
to control them), analyse (arriving at the key inputs that influence the key process
outputs), improve (find out the process changes that will bring about the most improvement)
and control (establishment of mechanisms to lock in the improvements)," says Gruska.
"Six Sigma does not compete with other quality initiatives. It is one more approach
towards increasing profitability," says Vice President of Omnex Asia Operations.
"It is not a problem-solving tool, but a systematic technique to improve profitability."
Gruska says companies wanting to reduce its internal and external costs (scrap,
warranty, rework, repair, retrofits, downtime, service calls, redesign, recalls,
excess inspection and lost sales) should have Six Sigma initiatives.
"Six Sigma was developed by Bill Smith at Motorola where it was implemented in 1987.
The next year, Motorola won the Malcolm Baldrige quality award (America's Deming).
Since then several companies have adopted the process," Gruska traces the history.
According to him, there is immense potential to cut costs and wastes to increase
profits. A company is said to have achieved Six Sigma level (final stage) when the
defective product level is just 3.4 parts per million (ppm) or, as Gruska puts it,
3.4 defects per million opportunities.
"Companies with the cost of poor quality ranging between 30 and 40 per cent of their
sales are not competitive. The industry average is around 15 to 20 per cent and
these companies are in the level of 4 Sigma with 6,210 ppm/defects per million of
The next higher-level companies suffer poor quality cost ranging between 10 and
15 per cent of their sales, which translates into 233 ppm. "The world-class is the
next stage, that is where the cost of poor quality is less than 10 per cent of the
sales, and the production defect is 3.4 ppm. There is an opportunity to bridge the
quality gap between 4 and 6 Sigma levels."
Referring to the price pressures faced by global auto companies, which in turn impacts
the component suppliers, Gruska says the only way a company can protect or show
growth in the bottomline is by cutting down its costs. The one cost that is within
the reach of a company to cut is waste and defects.
The Six Sigma approach is applicable for all industries and not particularly to
the auto sector alone, though Omnex's Indian subsidiary is more associated with
Indian auto players.
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