History of Six Sigma:
Even though the commonly known fact is that Six Sigma was initiated in 1987 by Motorola. But Six Sigma is basically a packaging of a lot of quality tools. These quality tools were developed much before 1987. One of the tools which form the basis of Six Sigma is the Control Chart. Control Charts were developed way back in 1924 by quality guru Walter Shewhart.
Bill Smith is considered to be the father of Six Sigma. Motorola developed Six Sigma in 1987. This helped Motorola to be the first company to receive the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in the year 1988, just a year after initiating this Six Sigma concept.
Looking at the success of Six Sigma at Motorola number of other companies, such as General Electric, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Honeywell, Whirlpool adopted Six Sigma. These are some of the early adopters. Looking at the success of these a lot of other companies too adopted Six Sigma to improve their processes, reduce their defects level, and to make their customers satisfied.
The credit of inventing Six Sigma goes to Motorola but General Electric under Jack Welch has made it popular. In General Electric, promotions were depending on whether the employee had a specific Six Sigma belt.
History of Lean:
The concept of lean manufacturing goes back to the year 1900 when Frederick Taylor set up the system of motion study, standardization of work processes. That was the time you could say that the foundation of modern lean was put in place. Later on in the 1920s – 1930s Henry Ford used the concept of lean in car assembly. Later on in 1950 to 1960 Japanese invented a lot of concepts related to lean. A large number of concepts, which you will see today, as a part of the Toyota Manufacturing System were invented during that period.
In the year 2000, James Womack wrote a book The Machine That Changed the World, and that introduced the lean concept to the Western world.