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Dartmouth Engineers Offer Unique Business Tool to Upper Valley Professionals

Mar 04, 2011

CONTACT: Catharine Lamm

For the first time in the Upper Valley, professionals will have local access to the sophisticated business tools of "Six Sigma" used by many of America's top performing companies including GE, Motorola, and 3M. Dartmouth engineering professor Ronald Lasky will direct a rigorous Six Sigma program, with workshops beginning this June.

Dr. Lasky, who is also a senior technologist with Indium Corporation of America, has worked with colleagues at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business, as well as industry associates in developing the curriculum. In addition to the typical Six Sigma topics—such as statistical analysis, design of experiments, design for manufacturability, and continuous improvement plans—Dr. Lasky and his colleagues are adding numerous special topics to the program.

"An effective Six Sigma program should have a dramatic impact on the financial bottom line," Lasky explains. "To achieve this objective, we believe that additional topics, such as process optimization, cost estimating, technical estimating, and statistical thinking are crucial for success. Not only do we teach these topics, but we have developed Excel-based software to help the student master them."

In 1988, Motorola Corp. became one of the first companies to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The award strives to identify those excellent firms that are worthy role models for other businesses. One of Motorola's innovations that attracted a great deal of attention was its Six Sigma program. Since 1988, many of America's top performing companies, including General Electric, 3M Company, AIG, Raytheon, and J.P Morgan Chase have adopted Six Sigma and have dramatically reduced costs and increased revenues.

When Jack Welsh announced the start of the quality program at GE in 1996, he stated "We want to change the competitive landscape by being not just better than our competitors, but by taking quality to a whole new level. We want to make our quality so special, so valuable to our customers, so important to their success that our products become the only real value choice."

Through the Dartmouth College program, local professionals will enhance their competitiveness in the market place and learn how to apply Six Sigma tools and principles to their organization. The program will consist of a combination of lectures, software training, group work, and discussion all aimed at balancing the practical with the theoretical to provide the student with tools as well as background to apply them.

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Founded in 1867, Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering offered the nation's first professional engineering program designed to follow 4 years of undergraduate liberal arts education. Today, the School comprises both the undergraduate Department of Engineering Sciences and a professional school with degrees through the doctorate. Thayer School integrates research, problem-solving and design into its academic programs and offers unique multidisciplinary opportunities for both students and faculty within a non-departmental structure. Named for Sylvanus Thayer, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1807 and from the United States Military Academy in 1808, the school still embraces his belief that engineers be educated in the liberal arts as well as the technical skills of their profession.

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