Case Study: The Six Sigma Quality Initiative At Honeywell

1149 words - 5 pages

HONEYWELLThe OrganizationHoneywell International Inc. is a global company specializing in a number of technology-intensive businesses including aerospace, automotive, and control systems. The company's strengths include its strong brand name, large market capitalization, and leadership in product research and development. Formed through a merger between AlliedSignals and Honeywell, Honeywell International created the Six Sigma Plus (SSP) program, a quality program designed to meet its specific needs including its E-Business and less-explicit processes. In particular, the SSP program is a comprehensive customer-focused quality program created by combining Six Sigma, Malcolm Baldridge, and the European Foundation quality models.AnalysisHoneywell's primary challenge is to sustain the Six Sigma Plus program in a meaningful and beneficial way. There are several underlying factors that are critical to the success of the SSP program. Honeywell must be sensitive of these factors and act accordingly to ensure that the SSP program continues its momentum and remains relevant to the corporation's strategic goals. These critical success factors include:Top management commitment and focus: Management must be clear and visible in its support of initiatives. It must send a strong and consistent message to the organization, ensuring that its claims are backed by actions and sufficiently allocated resources. Without the full support of top management the front-line supervisors and employees will not take ownership of the program, making the initiative unsustainable.A common reason for failure of new corporate initiatives is lack of or inconsistent of support by top management. Insufficient allocation of resources leaves employees frustrated and incapable of effectively implementing the program. It also sends the message that the effort is not important to top management; rather it is simply another management "buzz-word".Diversion of top management's attention from an initiative can also occur as a natural response to troubles in the business environment. There is strong evidence to support this in Honeywell's case, following its failed merger attempts with GE and the September 11 terrorist attacks. This led to financial difficulties, which consequently redirected management attention from the SSP program.Alignment with corporate strategy: This issue goes back to an initiative's relevance to the company's long-term and strategic goals. Any initiative that is adopted must be assessed to ensure that it is a tool that helps management fill the gap between its current situation and its strategic objectives. For example, if the strategic goal of the company is to primarily establish itself as the highest quality manufacturer of a product, it should implement relative quality programs. Initiatives that are not aligned with this primary goal will only divert precious resources and attention away from the objective and do not affect the bottom-line. In developing a...

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