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Is It Greek To You?

With just 3.4 defects per million units, the Six Sigma strategy may seem somewhat foreign. Welcome to the quality-assurance system the big boys use.

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This story appears in the July 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Simon Dolan first heard of in a 1994 book recountingchairman John F. Welch's revitalization of . Itsounded awesome--a quality measurement goal that allows just 3.4defects per million units. (For comparison, 99 percent accuracyallows for 10,000 failures per million.)

At the time, that quality level seemed almost unimaginable atDolan Industries Inc., a 41-person fastener companyfounded by Dolan's father. But within a few years, afterstrenuous effort, the Clinton, Massachusetts, company begansuccessfully meeting the rigorous requirements of the ISO 9000quality standard, which is comparable to Six Sigma.

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