When GE Capital announced to the world that it had saved $400 million in 1999 by applying six sigma principles throughout its organization, Marla Friedman listened.Then, as senior vice president of operations at Allstate Financial, she shared this impressive news with her boss Tom Wilson, the firm's president at the time.

"Tom said, 'Go look at it. I want to use it across the whole company,'" says A.J. Ijaz, director of six sigma enablement at Allstate Financial, the life and financial services arm of Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate Corp.

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