Quality Improvement: The Role of Six Sigma and the Trilogy Program

The Six Sigma and the Trilogy Program: Key Premises

Quality improvement is an essential part of any company’s supply chain management (SCM) framework. This process is increasingly important in the environment of the global market, where a strong competitive advantage defines a firm’s chances for survival (Asli, 2015), underlining the significance of using an appropriate quality improvement program. A company’s choice of such a program hinges on a variety of factors that range from infrastructure opportunities, types of distribution channels, logistics issues, data management tools, and available resources. Among key quality improvement tools, Tomas Pyzdek’s Six Sigma and Joseph Juran‘s Trilogy program are well-known. Although the two approaches incorporate a similar set of steps, including quality planning, control, and management, the idea of institutionalizing consistent improvement makes Pyzdek’s Six Sigma superior.

The two programs employ slightly different essential premises. Pyzdek’s concept of the Six Sigma system suggests incorporating a culture of continuous change within an organization (Pyzdek & Keller, 2014). Institutionalizing a change process is possible using either the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) or DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) framework. While organizations use the former to improve an existing product or service, the latter serves to introduce a new one (Crandall & Crandall, 2015). Therefore, the Six Sigma framework sets the improvement process on a loop, implying unceasing progress.

The Juran Trilogy, in turn, does not suggest continuity and is typically used to control change rather than reinforce it (Dahlgaard-Park, 2015). The framework consists of quality planning, quality control, and quality improvement phases and offers an opportunity to plan the process of improvement accordingly. Furthermore, this approach incorporates tests to prove that the proposed solution is viable and effective. The framework encourages the design of diagnostic tools for quality checks.

Key Requirements for Successful Implementation

To introduce either of the frameworks successfully in the context of an organization, it is important to ensure that every participant realizes the necessity of improvements and recognizes the potential for resultant opportunities. Specifically, for the Six Sigma approach to be implemented in a corporate setting, the support of the management team is essential. A company leader must exert a strong influence to motivate every staff member and help each employee to accept the change. Furthermore, promoting a philosophy of consistent improvement necessitates a rigid set of values and a profound corporate philosophy (Pyzdek & Keller, 2014). Without such, staff members will be unable to make important decisions when addressing SCM-related issues.

Like Six Sigma, the Juran Quality Trilogy, in turn, demands a detailed set of instructions for evaluating progress and determining the effects of the changes implemented in an organization. However, unlike Six Sigma, the Juran Trilogy also requires a specific SCM architecture that enhances any related modernization processes (Kwak, ‎Liu, ‎Patanakul, & Zwikael, 2014). For example, IT management controls are crucial in enacting procurement processes (Kwak et al., 2014). Since the Juran Quality Trilogy does not suggest institutionalizing change, following this process requires an analysis of current project interdependencies, as opposed to a general analysis of the external and internal factors influencing SCM (Dahlgaard-Park, 2015). In any case, both the Trilogy program and the Six Sigma approach need a comfortable setting.

When putting either program into action, a company may face significant resistance from employees. This common reaction is understandable as such change puts additional pressure on staff members. The issue can be addressed, however, by altering the corporate value system to establish trust-based relationships with the company’s personnel (Balutis & Ink, 2015). As a result, employees can be expected to increasingly accept new guidelines and requirements as well as come to embrace their new role in the company.

Initial Steps to Implement the Frameworks

Depending on the setting in which the proposed tools are used, the process of promoting change may appear convoluted. Managers are likely to face numerous obstacles, ranging from resistance on the part of staff members to a lack of information in reconsidering existing quality standards and guidelines for meeting them. To avoid such problems or to handle them effectively, it may be necessary to take several crucial steps when providing a platform for change management.

Setting organizational priorities and determining key changes to be made to the organization’s SCM system will comprise essential components of implementing positive change. Afterward, a profound analysis of available resources is due. An organization that neglects these steps may fail to deploy the principles of a sustainable economy and, as a result, will be unable to handle the financial risks of the target market (Pyzdek & Keller, 2014). Teaching the participants important information about the methodology is the next step, followed by establishing ownership and supervising the implementation of change. Finally, the contribution of each participant must be acknowledged and rewarded.

The Juran Trilogy program, in contrast, starts with an assessment of corporate performance, followed by a comparison of quality and essential SCM-related objectives. Therefore, no foundation for changing the staff’s motivation is prepared. Instead, the Trilogy program suggests an immediate introduction of improvements. Promoting change is the third and final step in program implementation for this approach. Thus, instead of handling HRM issues, the Trilogy framework demands an analysis of the existing logistics infrastructure and the identification of data management opportunities (Dahlgaard-Park, 2015). However, despite the differences in the implementation stages, either framework can be seen as an important tool for enhancing change. Both approaches serve their purpose well, yet the choice of either depends on the goals of an organization.


Asli, G. (2015). Organizational change management strategies in modern business. New York, NY: Business Science Reference.

Balutis, A. P., & Ink, D. (2015). Transforming American governance: Rebooting the public square (Kindle ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Crandall, R. E., & Crandall, W. (2015). How management programs can improve organization performance: Selecting and implementing the best program for your organization. New York, NY: IAP.

Dahlgaard-Park, S. M. (2015). The SAGE encyclopedia of quality and the service economy. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Kwak, ‎Y., Liu, M., ‎Patanakul, P., & Zwikael, O. (2014). Challenges and best practices of managing government projects and programs. Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Pyzdek, T., & Keller, P. A. (2014). The Six Sigma handbook (4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.