At first, the quality improvement program addressed manufacturing exclusively. Orthodox thinking at Motorola said that manufacturing was both the source of the problem and the area where the most dramatic and consequential improvements would happen.
Therefore, in 1984, Motorola founded the Motorola Manufacturing Institute (MMI), a sort of combination course and brainstorming session for senior managers. The first group o f managers to take the course quickly concluded t hat manufacturing improvements alone could not deliver the tenfold quality improvement the plan demanded.
Improvements had to begin at the engineering design stage and had to permeate all, or at least many, of Motorola’s processes.Therefore, the firm renamed the program the Motorola Management Institute. Every class included representatives from every area of the business. T
o achieve dramatic improvement, everyone somehow had to cooperate in designing new products and new processes, even customers and suppliers. Motorola saw the problem and the solution as holistic. But Motorola had no uniform, commonly understood measurement, which made it difficult for people to understand and talk about the results they were trying to achieve.
Quality engineer Bill Smith proposed such a measurement in 1985, and when a colleague rejected his proposal, he took the idea to Bob Galvin. Galvin liked Smith’s ideas and instructed Quality Vice President Jack German to develop them further.
Smith and some associates soon unveiled a three-day initiative called Design for Manufacturing (DFM). This program set forth Six Steps to Six Sigma and company policy soon required all of Motorola’s technical people to participate. Engineer Craig Fullerton designed a course initially called Six Sigma Design Methodology (SSDM), which other companies adopting the Six Sigma methodology would rename Design For Six Sigma (DFSS).
To spread the gospel of Six Sigma beyond the technical community, Motorola designed a one-day class called Understanding Six Sigma.
Motorola people started to apply Six Sigma principles to everything from finance to employee education initiatives.