MacSigma - McDonald?s To Adopt Six Sigma - Do you want fries with that?

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
JSW05 said:
Except it was not "his original premise." Kroc changed almost nothing after buying the business from the McDonald brothers, until several years later. 1968, to be exact, when the Big Mac was introduced, and even that was not a Kroc innovation--it was created by a franchisee. Most of the legend that has built up around Kroc is, well, a crock.
Ray never took credit for the original idea, only for exploiting the original idea of the McDonald family into a "reproducible" franchise - he did keep their name after all. Remember, Ray started his career as the guy who sold a bunch of milk shake mixers to the McDonald family. He didn't have a lot of money when he first started out. Ray was pretty much of a regular guy who spent several days every Christmas season standing on a corner, anonymously manning a kettle and ringing a bell for the Salvation Army (without newspaper fanfare) as did hundreds of other Shriners. He was one of the few rich guys I knew who donated time as well as money to the charities he supported. I never thought of Ray as a "legend" - he was just one of the thousands of guys who belonged to the same group I did and wore red fezzes to our meetings. He sat at the same round table with me, an apellate court judge, the sheriff of Cook County, a professional musician, and a guy who laid tile floors for a living and we all called each other by our first names and took turns refilling the pitcher of camel's milk (except the sheriff - he was on crutches and got a pass.)

Personally, I prefer Steak & Shake and a newer operation called Culver's Culver's reminds me a lot of the Big Boy operations - all food made to order, not precooked and then reheated in a microwave as McDonald's and Burger King franchises here in the Chicago area have taken to doing.

Steak and Shake is really geared as an eat-in place, food served on china and drinks in glasses (paper goods only go with take-out) - S&S has pretty good quality methodology - color photos to match color for toasted bun among other things.
 
J

JRKH

Remember When

I wonder if the McD people aren't just trying to return to their roots of sorts.

How many of us remember that organizations like McD's and Howard Johnson's were doing six sigma befere there even was such a thing. The american motoring public could go to these places and everything was the same from the size of the servings to the temp of the coffee to how long a fry or burger was cooked. They controlled their processes from start to finish.

In the early days of travel by motoring there was tremendous variation in quality of service in both food and accomodations. This derived from both general quality and in regional "cultural" differences. Today we deride the bland sameness of things, but back then it was a relief for travelers to know that if they stopped at one of these places, anywhere in the country, they knew exactly what they were going to get.

I find it interesting that we, as Quality Profesionals, find it so easy to overlook this tremendously successful quality effort by US firms in the 50's and 60's in such mundane industries as food and accomodation. We fall into the same trap of derision. At least these folks are trying.

Personally I try to stay home as much as possible.

James

P.S Wes, I prefer S&S also. Great atmosphere, good food, right portions and terrific service (at our local).
 
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Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
Wes Bucey said:
Ray never took credit for the original idea, only for exploiting the original idea of the McDonald family into a "reproducible" franchise - he did keep their name after all.

"Ray" might never have claimed originality in the concept, but the franchising of McDonalds was well underway before Kroc got involved. The McDonald brothers were both afraid of airplanes, and after the franchising was extended as far as it could go geographically without them having to fly, Kroc was instrumental in expanding the reach, but this was before he took control of the company. McDonald's was a well-established franchising concern before Kroc got there, contrary to the prevailing myth--that Kroc never did anything to discourage--that Kroc bought a little hamburger joint from a couple of rubes in California and turned it into an empire.
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
I would be remiss if I didn't give credit where it's due; Kroc and his wife were very generous with their money and made huge contributions to a lot of very worthy causes. He also established the standardization of McDonalds, perhaps to a fault (he personally specified the amount of wax to be used in the wax paper that separated frozen hamburger patties) but he was hugely successful in setting up a system that could be duplicated ad infinitum. Of course there were some gaffes along the way. I worked at a company-owned store in 1968 when the Big Mac was introduced, and I was impressed, even as a 16-year-old, how seamless the integration of the new product was. But at the same time, we tested an automatic fry-bagging machine made by AMF which was a Rube Goldberg device if I ever saw one, and it should have been obvious to anyone with eyes and a brain that the thing wouldn't--couldn't--work. All it did was slow things down for the two weeks or so that we had it. But the success of McDonalds speaks for itself, I think, and should serve as a prime example of how standardization and rigidly-enforced procedures can work. Most of that was Kroc, and he deserves credit for it.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
JSW05 said:
"Ray" might never have claimed originality in the concept, but the franchising of McDonalds was well underway before Kroc got involved. The McDonald brothers were both afraid of airplanes, and after the franchising was extended as far as it could go geographically without them having to fly, Kroc was instrumental in expanding the reach, but this was before he took control of the company. McDonald's was a well-established franchising concern before Kroc got there, contrary to the prevailing myth--that Kroc never did anything to discourage--that Kroc bought a little hamburger joint from a couple of rubes in California and turned it into an empire.
Well, maybe you are correct. The guy I ate and drank with for years and years could have been a stone liar and turned a completely different face to his fraternity brothers than the face you know so much about.

He never said every idea at McDonald's was his creation to us as we swapped tales for an hour or two once or twice a month. He freely admitted "dopey" ideas which didn't work out. He seemed genuinely saddened that one idea which didn't work out was the proximate cause of the bankruptcy of Sealtest Ice Cream company in Chicago.

We all pretty much agreed at the time that success in business depended on having successes outweigh losses; that you had to be open to new ideas and give folks the chance to fail or your operation would die from stagnation. We all laughed at one of the "buzz phrases" making the rounds in the late 70's - "analysis paralysis," but we all agreed that a severe case of analysis paralysis was nearly always fatal to the business that caught it.

If Ray were alive, I don't think McDonald's would have continued using the original cooking oil after announcing the change to a new one, but that's just my opinion of the guy across the table with a plastic cup of camel's milk in front of him.
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
Wes Bucey said:
Well, maybe you are correct. The guy I ate and drank with for years and years could have been a stone liar and turned a completely different face to his fraternity brothers than the face you know so much about.

I'm not sure that the sarcasm is necessary. You knew him and I didn't. Remember, I originally responded to your statement (and restatement of the myth) about "his original premise of burgers and shakes..." (Emphasis added).
 

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Leader
Personally I wish we had stayed more on the topic - discussing six sigma and McDonalds rather than running off on this tangent. Anyway, let's get away from being too personal here...
 
B

Bob Ablondi

Marc said:
Personally I wish we had stayed more on the topic - discussing six sigma and McDonalds rather than running off on this tangent. Anyway, let's get away from being too personal here...
Assuming the the suppliers are TS16949 registered, the customer specific requirements specify zero defects to be included in the control plan and implementing documents.
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
Marc said:
Personally I wish we had stayed more on the topic - discussing six sigma and McDonalds rather than running off on this tangent. Anyway, let's get away from being too personal here...

Agreed. Mea culpa.
 
T

The Fast One

You Quality types, always looking to put down 6 sigma...


Look on the bright side, at least they'll only poison 3.4 Customers per million.

And it's about time someone had a go at experimenting with the taste of those burgers.
 
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