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The failure of General Motors

Talk is cheap. General Motors (GM), once the largest company in the world and the top of Wall Street’s Blue Chip companies, is now in the bankruptcy court. According to Dr. James Harrington,
http://www.qualitydigest.com/i ... ml%23,
GM’s 1988 motto was:
• Top management involvement in leadership in the quality movement
• Design quality into products
• A vision to offer world-class quality in every market segment. By world-class, we mean parity with or superior to the best in the field—product for product
• Management's total commitment to quality
• People development
• To be the world’s leader in quality, reliability, durability, performance, service and value
• They had a five-year plan to reach their vision statement

However, what really happened was that
• Too much focus on quality tools, not on results
• Poor management throughout the organization
• Too much focus on suppliers and little focus on internal processes
• Being too big an organization and reacting too slowly
• Poor reliability designed into products
• Poor teamwork between GM and the unions
• Poor or a lack of customer focus

According to a recent Consumer Reports, GM is the second to the five worst in the auto industry:
• Mitsubishi
• Ford
• Suzuki
• General Motors
• Chrysler

Dr. Harrington’s conclusion:
It is time for the quality professional to realize that Six Sigma and lean manufacturing will not meet the customers’ requirements today. They may reduce cost; however, quality improvement should never be measured by cost savings. It must be measured only on customer satisfaction improvement and mean-time-to-failure. We need a lot more certified reliability engineers than we have Six Sigma Green Belts and Black Belts combined. GM and Chrysler in the last 30 years have not learned that it is better to prevent problems than to be the very best at correcting them. I hope the rest of our industries learn their lessons before they go bankrupt as well.

What do you think?
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That’s what Dr. Harrington said in the article. I don’t think he looked down on the usefulness and effectiveness of 6Sigma and Lean methodologies, rather, he suggested that talk is cheap and meaningless unless it is backed by action, carried out with determination and sustained by perseverance and belief.

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