Bill Smith of Motorola Corporation developed Six Sigma in the mid – 1980s to improve processes systematically by eliminating defects by using the existing quality methodologies. This resulted in producing major cost savings within the operating systems of the company. Cost reductions and process improvements with recognizable savings of at least $175,000 were identifi ed.

Although a time of learning was involved and not all programs were immediately successful, these programs eventually yielded the required results of savings and  increased productivity. Therefore, Motorola focused considerable time, personnel, and resources into this money – saving program. Six Sigma programs were to reduce process variation and reduce defects to 3.4 defects per one million parts produced. It did not address customer wants and needs.

In any good quality program, the focus must be on both the customer and how well the supplier, who furnishes the products and the customer who uses them, interact with each other to obtain positive mutual results. Walter A. Shewhart of Bell Labs developed the continuous improvement program called Plan, Do, Check, and Act (PDCA), which was later changed by Dr. Edward Deming to Plan, Do, Study, and Act (PDSA) .

This program followed his own method of quality analysis and is an excellent guide to follow for continuous improvement. Because a circle has no end, the PDSA cycle is repeated again and again for continuous improvement. Planning always precedes doing.
The PDSA cycle should occur during the following times:

• When beginning a new improvement program
• When developing an improved or new design for a process, product, or service
• When analyzing and defining a repetitive process

• When planning data collection and analysis to verify and prioritize problems or root causes of problems
• When implementing all types of change

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