Compareable between lean and six sigma

Compareable between lean and six sigma

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• Abstract
• Introduction
• Literature review
• Compare between lean and six sigma
• Discussion
• Conclusion
• Future work
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Ailawadi K.L., Keller K.L. (2004). “Understanding retail branding: conceptual insights and research priorities”, Journal of Retailing, 80(4): 331-342.

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Benefits, obstacles, and future of six sigma approach
Young Hoon Kwak
, Frank T. Anbari
Project Management Program, Department of Management Science, Monroe Hall 403, 2115 G Street,
The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA
Project Management Program, Department of Management Science, Monroe Hall 302,
The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA
Understanding the key features, obstacles, and shortcomings of the six sigma method allows organizations to better support their strategic
directions, and increasing needs for coaching, mentoring, and training. It also provides opportunities to better implement six sigma projects.
This paper examines the evolution, benefits, and challenges of six sigma practices and identifies the key factors influencing successful six
sigma project implementations. It integrates the lessons learned from successful six sigma projects and considers further improvements to the
six sigma approach. Effective six sigma principles and practices will succeed by refining the organizational culture continuously. Cultural
changes require time and commitment before they are strongly implanted into the organization.
q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Six sigma; Project management; Lessons learned; Organizational culture; Quality; Business systems improvement
1. Intro duction
The six sigma method is a project-dr iven management
appro ach to improv e the organiza tion’s produc ts, serv ices,
and p rocesses by contin ually re ducing defe cts in th e
organ ization. It is a busi ness strategy that focus es on
improv ing custom er require ments under standing , business
system s, produc tivity, and fin ancial performanc e. Dati ng
back to the mid 1980s, appl ications of the six sigma
methods allowed many organizations to sustain t heir
com petitive advantage by integrating their knowled ge of
the process with stati stics, engi neering, and proj ect manage-men t (Anbari , 2002). Num erous books and article s provide
the basic conce pts and benefit s of the six sigma method
( Harry and Schroeder , 2000 )(Hoe rl, 1998, 2001 ). The
chal lenges and realities in imple menting the six sigma
method successf ully are imme nse. Howeve r, the benefit s of
applying the s ix sigma method to technology-drive n,
project -driven organ izations are equally great.
Th e objective of this paper is to review and examin e the
evol ution, benefits, and challenges of six sigma practices
and identify the key factor s influe ncing successf ul six sigma
p r o je c t i mp l em e n ta ti o n. Th e pa p e r al s o in te g r at e s th e
les sons learned from successf ul six sigma projects and
their pote ntial appl ications in man aging tra ditional projects,
and consider s further improvem ents to the methodo logies
u sed for man aging six sigma projects. Wider applica tions of
s ix s ig m a p r in ci p le s t o th e o r g an iz a ti o n w il l su c ce e d
thr ough seni or management involvem ent, organizati onal
c ommitment, c u ltu ral c h a nge, a nd effective project
man agement .
2 . Two perspe ctives of six sigma proces ses
2 .1. Statis tical viewp oint
Six sigma method has two major pers pective s. Th e origin
o f six sigma comes from sta tistics and statisticians . Hahn et
al. (1999), Hoerl and Snee (2002) , and Mont gomery (2001)
d iscuss the six sigma method from a statist ical, probabil-istic , and quant itative point of view. From the statistical
p oint of view, the term six sigma is defined as having less
Technovation 26 (2006) 708–715
0166-4972/$ – see front matter q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
* Corresponding author. Tel.: C1 202 994 7115; fax: C1 202 994 2736.
E-mail (Y.H. Kwak),
(F.T. Anbari).
Tel: C1 202/994-0404; fax: C1 202/994-2736.
than 3.4 defects per million opportuni ties or a succe ss rate of
99.9997% where sigma is a term used to represe nt the
variation about the process aver age (Antony and Banuel as,
2002). If an organiza tion is opera ting at three sigma level for
quality control, this is interp reted as achievi ng a succe ss rate
of 93% or 66,800 defects per million o pportunities.
There fore, the six sigma method is a very rigorous quality
control conce pt where man y organ izations still perf orms at
three sigma leve l ( McC lusky, 2000).
2.2. Business viewpoint
In the business world, six sigma is defined as a ‘busines s
strategy used to improv e business profit ability, to improv e
the effecti venes s and efficie ncy of all opera tions to mee t or
exceed cust omer’s needs and expectati ons (Ant ony and
Banuel as, 2001). The six sigma appro ach was first applied in
manufac turing operations and rapidl y expanded to different
functi onal area s such as mar keting, engineer ing, pu rchas-ing, servicing, and adm inistrativ e suppor t, once organiz-ations reali zed the benefits. Particula rly, the widesp read
applica tions of six sigma were possi ble due to the fact that
organ izations were able to articula te the benefits of six
sigma present ed in financial returns by linking proce ss
improv ement with cost savings.
3. Understa nding six sigma
3.1. Six sigma strategie s, tools, techniq ues, and prin ciples
Six sigma is a system atic, data-drive n appro ach using the
define, measur e, anal ysis, improve, and control (DMA IC)
process and uti lizing design for six sigma method (DFS S)
( GE 2004 ). The fundame ntal prin ciple of six sigma is to
‘ta ke an o rg an iza ti o n to a n im pro v ed le ve l of s ig ma
capab ility through the rigorous application of statist ical
tools and techn iques’ ( Antony et al., 2003). It gener ally
applies to p roblems c ommon to p roduction. Table 1
sum marizes six sigma busi ness str ategies, tools, techniq ues,
and princi ples.
3.2. Six sigma strate gies, tools, tec hniques, and principles
Anbari (2002) poin te d out that six sigma is more
com prehensi ve than pri or qualit y initiat ives such as Total
Quality M anagement ( TQM ) and C ontinuous Q uality
Im proveme nt (CQI). The six sigma method include s mea-sure d and repor ted financi al results, uses additional , more
advanc ed data analysi s tools, focus es on custom er concerns,
and uses proj ect man agement tools and methodo logy. He
sum marized the six sigma management method as fol lows:
Six SigmaZTQMð or CQI Þ CStronger Customer Focus
CAddi tional Data Analys is Tools
CFinan cial Results CProject Mana gement
3.3. DMA IC proce ss
DM AIC is a closed- loop proce ss that eliminate s unpro-duct ive steps, oft en focus es on new mea surements , and
appl ies technol ogy for cont inuou s im proveme nt. Table 2
pres ents the key steps of six sigma using DM AIC proce ss.
3.4. DFSS methodo logy
DFSS is a systematic methodology u tilizing tools,
training and measurem ents to enable the organiza tion to
desi gn products and processe s that meet custom er expec -tati ons and can be produc ed at Six Sigma qual ity levels
( Made r, 2002). The goal of DFSS is to achi eve minimum
defe ct rates, six sigma level, and max imize positive im pact
Table 1
Six sigma strategies, principles tools, and techniques (adapted from Antony
et al., 2003 )
Six sigma business strategies and
Six sigma tools and techniques
Project management Statistical process control
Data-based decision making Process capability analysis
Knowledge discovery Measurement system analysis
Process control planning Design of experiments
Data collection tools and tech-niques
Robust design
Variability reduction Quality function deployment
Belt system (Master, Black, Green,
Failure mode and effects analysis
DMAIC process Regression analysis
Change management tools Analysis of means and variances
Hypothesis testing
Root cause analysis
Process mapping
Table 2
Key steps of six sigma using DMAIC process (Adapted fromMcClusky,
Six sigma
Key processes
Define Define the requirements and expectations of the customer
Define the project boundaries
Define the process by mapping the business flow
Measure Measure the process to satisfy customer’s needs
Develop a data collection plan
Collect and compare data to determine issues and shortfalls
Analyze Analyze the causes of defects and sources of variation
Determine the variations in the process
Prioritize opportunities for future improvement
Improve Improve the process to eliminate variations
Develop creative alternatives and implement enhanced plan
Control Control process variations to meet customer requirements
Develop a strategy to monitor and control the improved
Implement the improvements of systems and structures
Y.H. Kwak, F.T. Anbari / Technovation 26 (2006) 708–715 709
durin g the developm ent stage of the produc ts. It is used to
devel op n ew produc ts or serv ices with a six sigma crite ria,
capab ility, and performanc e ( Tennant, 2002). It utilize s
variet y of quality orient ed tools and techniq ues to meet
custo mer require ments and has show n an increas e in life
cycl e p rofits. As Treichler et al. (2002) noted the essence of
DFSS is ‘pre dicting design qual ity up fron t and driving
qual ity measur ement and predictabi lity improvem ent duri ng
the early desi gn phase s.’ Es sentially, the DFSS process is
focus ed on new or innov ative desi gns that yield a higher
leve l o f performanc e. De Feo and Bar-El (2002)summa rize
seven elements of DFSS as follow s.
† Drive s the custom er-orient ed desi gn process with six
sigma capability
† Predict s desi gn qu ality at the outset
† Matches top–down requireme nts flow down with capa-bility flow up
† Integra tes cross-fun ctional design involvemen t
† Drive s quality measurem ent and predictabi lity improv e-men t in early design phases
† Uses process capab ilities in making final decisi ons
† Mo n it ors pro ce ss v ari a nce s to v eri f y th at cu sto mer
require ments are met
DFSS has been used and proven succe ssful at Dow
Chemi cal (Buss and Ivey, 2001), W.R. Grace, ( Rajagopal an
et al., 2004 ), Delphi Aut omotive ( Treichl er et al., 2002 ),
N CR Co rp o r a ti on (McCl usky, 2000), Ge n er a l E le ct r ic
( W eine r, 20 04), an d othe r proce ss o rie nted indu str ies .
Fig. 1 depicts the fiv e step DFSS process(Table 2) .
4 . Repo rted ben efits of im plement ing six sigma
4 .1. Manuf acturin g sector
Mot orola was the first organizati on to use the term six
sigma in the 1980s as part of its qual ity performanc e
mea sureme nt and imp rovemen t program . Six sigma has
sinc e been successfully applied in othe r man ufacturing
o rganization s such as General Elec tric, Boe ing, DuPont,
To shiba, Seagat e, Allied Signa l, Kodak, Honeyw ell, Texas
Inst ruments, Sony, etc. Th e repor ted benefits and savings
are com posed and p resented from inve stigating various
li teratures in six sigma (Wei ner, 2004; de Feo and Bar-El,
2 002; Antony and Ba nuelas, 2002; Buss and Ivey, 2001;
McC lusky, 2000). Table 3 sum marizes the organ izations,
p rojects, benefits, improv ements , and savings by imple-men ting the six sigma process.
4 .2. Financ ial sector
In re cent years, fin ance and credit department are
p ressured to reduce cash collectio n cycle time and variation
Fig. 1. Five Step DFSS process (adapted from de Feo and Bar-El, 2002).
Y.H. Kwak, F.T. Anbari / Technovation 26 (2006) 708–715 710
in collec tion perform ance to remain com petitive . Ty pical
six sigma proj ects in fin ancial institutio ns include improv -ing accuracy of alloca tion of cash to reduce bank char ges,
a ut om at ic pa y me n ts , i mp ro v in g ac c ur ac y o f r ep o rt in g,
reduc i ng doc umentary c redits defe cts, reducing check
collection defec ts, and reducing vari ation i n colle ctor
perform ance ( Doran, 2003).
Bank of Amer ica (B OA) is one of the pioneers in
adopting and imple menting six sigma concepts to str eam-line opera tions, attract and retai n custom ers, and create
compet itiveness over cred it union s. It has hundre ds of six
sigma projects in areas of cross-selli ng, deposit s, and
problem reso lution. BOA reporte d a 10.4% increas e in
cust omer satisfaction a nd 24% d ecrease i n customer
problem s after implemen ting six sigma ( Roberts, 2004 ).
Amer ican Expres s appl ied six sigma pri nciples to improv e
exte rn al vendor processe s, and e liminat e non-re cei ved
rene wal cred it card s. The resu lt sho wed an im prove d
sigma leve l of 0.3 in each case ( Bolt et al., 2000 ). Other
finan cial institutions incl ud ing, GE Capital Corp., JP
Morg an Chase, and SunT rust Banks are using six sigma to
focus on and improv e cust omer require ments and satisfac-tion (Roberts, 2004 ).
4.3. Healthcar e sector
Six sigma princi ples and the heal thcare sector are very
well matched because of the healthcare nature of zero
toleran ce for mist akes and potential for reducing med ical
errors. So me of the succe ssfully impleme nted six sigma
project s include improv ing time ly and accurat e cla ims
reimb urseme nt ( Lazar us and Butler, 2001), streamlini ng the
process o f h ealthcare delive ry ( Ettinger, 2001), and
reducing the inven tory of surgica l equi pment and relat ed
costs ( Revere and Black, 2003 ).
The radiol ogy film library at the Universi ty of Texas MD
Anderso n Cancer Center also adopted six sigma an d
improved service activities g reatly ( Ben e de tto, 2 00 3).
Also in the sam e insti tution’s outpa tient CT exam lab,
patient prepa ration times were reduc ed from 45 min to less
than 5 mi n in many cases and there was a 45% increas e in
examinations with no additional m achines o r s hifts
( Elsberr y, 2000 ).
4.4. Engine ering and construc tion sector
In 2 002 , Be c htel Corpo r ation, o ne of t he larg est
e ng inee rin g a nd c on str u cti on c omp an ies in the wor ld ,
repor ted savings of $200 million with an inve stment of
$30 milli on in its six sigma progr am to identify and prevent
rework and defe cts in ever ything from design to construc -tion to on-time deliver y of employe e payro ll (Eckhous e
2004). For example, six si gm a was implem ented t o
stream line the process of neut ralizing chemic al agents,
a n d i n a n a ti o n al tel ec o mm u n ic at io ns p ro je c t to h el p
optim ize the management of cost and schedule s (Moreton ,
4.5. Resear ch and developm ent sector
The objectives of implementi ng six sigma in R&D
organ izations are to reduce cost , increas e speed to market ,
and improv e R&D processe s. To measur e the effective-ness of six sigma, organiza tions need to focus on data-driven reviews, improved p r oj e ct s u c ce s s r at e, a n d
integr ation of R&D int o regular work processe s. One
surve y note d that as of 2003 only 37% of the respond ents
had formally implemented six sigma prin ciples in
their R&D organ ization ( Johnso n and Swisher , 2003).
Ra jagopalan et al. (2004) repor ted that the devel opment
Table 3
Reported benefits and savings from six sigma in manufacturing sector
Company/project Metric/measures Benefit/savings
Motorola (1992) In-process defect levels 150 times reduction
Raytheon/aircraft integration systems Depot maintenance inspection time Reduced 88% as measured in days
GE/Railcar leasing business Turnaround time at repair shops 62% reduction
Allied signal (Honeywell)/laminates plant in
South Carolina
Capacity Cycle time Inventory On-time delivery Up 50% Down 50% Down 50% Increased to
near 100%
Allied signal (Honeywell)/bendix IQ brake pads Concept-to-shipment cycle time Reduced from 18 months to 8 months
Hughes aircraft’s missiles systems group/wave
soldering operations
Quality/productivity Improved 1,000%/improved 500%
General electric Financial $2 billion in 1999
Motorola (1999) Financial $15 billion over 11 years
Dow chemical/rail delivery project Financial Savings of $2.45 million in capital expenditures
DuPont/Yerkes plant in New York (2000) Financial Savings of more than $25 million
Telefonica de espana (2001) Financial Savings and increases in revenue 30 million
euro in the first 10 months
Texas instruments Financial $ 600 million
Johnson and Johnson Financial $ 500 million
Honeywell Financial $1.2 billion
(Sources: Weiner, 2004; de Feo and Bar-El, 2002; Antony and Banuelas, 2002; Buss and Ivey, 2001; McClusky, 2000).
Y.H. Kwak, F.T. Anbari / Technovation 26 (2006) 708–715 711
and manufac turing of the new prototy pe at W.R. Grace
(Refini ng Indus try) was cut to 8–9 mont hs from 11–12
months by imple menting the DFSS process.Fig. 2 show s
the conce ptua l benefits and improv ement of impleme nting
six sigma in R&D projects.
5. Key factors for imp lement ing a successf ul
six sigma program
Antony and Banuel as (2002) and Banuelas Cor onado and
Antony (2002) pr esented the key i ngredients for the
effective introdu ction and imple mentation of six sigma in
UK m a n uf a c t ur ing a n d s e r vic es or ga niz a t i on s a s t h e
follow ing.
† Mana gement com mitment and involvemen t.
† Unde rstanding of six sigma methodo logy, tools, and
techniq ues.
† Linking six sigma to busi ness strategy.
† Linking six sigma to custom ers.
† Proj ect selection , review s and tracki ng.
† Organi zational infrastr ucture.
† Cult ural change .
† Proj ect management skill s.
† Liking six sigma to suppl iers.
† Trainin g.
† Linking six sigma to huma n resource s (Wyper and
Harrison, 2000).
Johnso n and Swisher (2003) provided useful imple men-tati on tip s for succe ssful six sigma appl ications as:
† Susta ined and visibl e man agement com mitment.
† Con tinuing Educat ion and training of manager s and
partic ipants.
† Settin g clear expec tations and selecting project leaders
careful ly for leaders hip skills.
† Picking and selecting str ategical ly important proj ects.
Star bird (2002)argue d that six sigma proce ss is part of a
man agement system to achi eve busin ess excellence in
o rganization s and present ed keys to six sigma success as:
† Start proce ss mana gement: i den ti f y c ore proces ses,
cust omer n eeds, and measures.
† Dr ive perf orm ance throu gh rep orting: Le ader s mus t
maint ain and report opport unity lists , sta tus of act ive
proj ects/reso urces, and resu lts from finish ed proj ects.
† Int egrate cham pioning of active proj ects: Sele ct and
char ter project s and require updat es during existing staff
mee tings.
Ba sed on vari ous li terature reviews and discussio ns with
six sigma lea ders in organ izations that adopted the six sigma
method , t he authors identified four key e lement s o f
succe ssful six sigma appl ications.
5 .1. Manag ement involveme nt and organizat ional
com mitment
Six sigma requires top managem ent dedicat ion and
cont ribution to resource s and effort. A good exampl e is
Gen eral Electr ic’s former CEO Jack Welch’ s involvem ent
( Hen derson and Evans, 2 000). He was char ismatic and
influe ntial enough to restru cture the business and change
the attitudes of the employees toward six sigma
( He ndrick s and K elbau gh, 19 98). Th e organiza tions’
CEO s are often involved in the successful implemen tation
o f six sigma. Or ganization al infras tructure needs to be
est ablished with well traine d individual s ready for action.
Im plemen tation of six sigma proj ects mea ns commi tment
o f resource s, time, money, and effort from entire the
o rganization .
5 .2. Proje ct selection , managem ent, and control ski lls
Six sigma projects have to be carefully reviewed,
planned, and s elected to maximize the benefits of
im plementati on. The proj ect has to be feasible, organ iza-ti onally and financially beneficial, and cust omer ori ented.
Th ere has to be a clear set of measur es and metrics to
inco rporate custom er requireme nts. The project has to be
revi ewed perio dically to eval uate the sta tus of the p roject
as well as the performanc e of six sigma tools and
tec hniques bein g imple mented. The project should be well
d ocumented to track project constra ints, mainl y cost,
sched ule, and scope . There shoul d als o be a lessons
lea rned mechani sm to capture the key issues of previous
p rojects.
5 .3. En couraging and accepting cultura l change
Peopl e facing cultur al change and challenges due to the
im plementati on of six sigma mus t understa nd the change
first . This require s having a clear commun ication plan
Fig. 2. Advantages of applying six sigma in R&D projects (adopted from
Johnson and Swisher, 2003).
Y.H. Kwak, F.T. Anbari / Technovation 26 (2006) 708–715 712
and channe ls, motiv ating indivi duals to overco me resist -ance, and educa ting seni or manager s, emp loyees, and
custom ers on the benefits of six sigma. Anno uncing the
results o f six sigma projects i ncluding succ esses,
obstacl es, and chal lenges will help future projects to
avoid mak ing simi lar mist akes and adopt only the very
best practices .
5.4. Continuous educati on and training
Educatio n and tra ining give a clear sense for peopl e to
better under stand the funda mentals, tools, and techniq ues of
six sigma. Trainin g is part of the commun ication techniq ues
to make sure that managers and employe es apply and
impleme nt the com plex six sigma techniq ues effectively.
There is usually a ranking of expertise identifi ed by the belt
system ( Hoerl , 2001 ). Four different Belt levels (Ma ster,
Black , Green, Yellow) mak e sure that establish ment and
execu tion of six sigma proj ects are done seam lessly. Th e
curric ulum is custom ized and needs to be provided by
identifyi ng key roles and responsib ilities of individual s
impleme nting six sigma projects ( Ant ony and Banuel as,
2002). Organizat ions need to continuo usly learn and adapt
the latest trends and tec hniques that are outs ide the six
sigma d omain that might be useful to com plemen t the six
si gma approac h. The authors found that s ele ction o f
know ledgeable, well -respec ted employe es for Black Belt
assignm ents was a critica l success factor for six sigma
project s.
6. Obstacl es and challenge s of six sigm a met hod
6.1. Issues in strate gy
Hammer and Goding (2001) argue d that six sigma has
been the target of critici sm and cont roversy in the qualit y
commun ity characterizi ng it as ‘Tot al Quality Mana ge-ment on Steroid’. One of the main criticism s is that six
sigma is nothing new and simpl y repa ckages tradit ional
princi ples and techniques rel ated to quality ( Catherwood ,
2002). Organi zations mus t reali ze that six sigma is not
the universa l answ er to all busi ness iss ues, and it may
not be the mos t important management strategy that an
organ izations feels a sense of urgen cy to under stand and
implement six sigma . To ensure the l ong-term
sustai nability of the six sigma method, organiza tions
need to analyze and accept its strengt hs and weaknes ses
and properl y uti lize six sigma princi ples, concepts , and
6.2. Issues in organi zational culture
Qu ality concepts need to be embedded into t he
process of desi gning rather than just monit oring the
quality at the manufactur ing leve l (McCl usky, 2000).
Th e more import ant iss ue is the change in organ izational
cultur e that pu ts quality into plan ning. Address ing the
probl ems and issues that are easy to correct and claimi ng
that the six sigma method is a big success is simpl y
deceivi ng. Organi zations without a comple te under stand-ingofreal obstaclesofsix sigmaprojectsora
com prehensi ve change man agement plan are likel y to
fail. Senior managem ent’s strong commitmen t, support,
and leadership are essenti al to dealing wi th any cultural
iss ues or difference s relat ed to six sigma imple mentati on.
If the com mitment and suppor t of utilizing various
reso urces do not exist, organ ization should proba bly not
consi der adopt ing six sigma.
6.3. Issu es in traini ng (Belt Program )
Trainin g is a key succe ss factor in imple menting six
sigma projects succe ssfully and should be p art of an
integr ated approach. Th e belt program shoul d start from
the top and be applied to the entire organiza tion. The
curricul um of the belt program should r eflect t he
o rg a ni za ti o n ’s n ee d s an d r eq u ire men ts . I t h a s to b e
cust omized to incorpor ate econom ical and manager ial
benefit s. Trainin g should also cover both qualitative and
quant itative mea sures and metrics , leadership , and proj ect
man agement practices and skill s. It is important to note
that formal training is part of the devel opment plan of
produc ing differ ent belt leve l experts . Participa nts need to
be well inf ormed of the latest trends, tools, and techniq ues
of six sigma, and com municate with actual data analy sis.
Th e auth ors found that sel ection of less-c apable employ-ees for Black Belt assignm ents was associa ted with
chal lenges to six sigma projects.
7. Future of six sigm a
Six sigma is likel y to remai n as one of the key
initiat ives to improve the management proce ss than just
bein g remember ed as one of the fads ( Johnso n and
Swisher, 2003). The primary focus s hould be on
im p ro vin g ov era ll man ag eme n t p erf orm a nc e, no t ju st
pinpo inting and count ing defects . Re searchers and prac-titioner s are trying to integrate six sigma with other
exis ting innovative man agement practices that have been
aroun d to make six sigma method even more attra ctive to
differ ent organization s that might have not started or fully
implemented the six sigma method. Integrating and
com paring principle s and characterist ics of six sigma
w it h To ta l Q ua li t y M an ag e me nt (Revere and Black,
2003), ( Hammer and Goding, 2001), Hum an Resour ce
Fu nctions ( Wyper and Harrison, 2000), Lean Produc tion
( Antony et al., 2003), ISO 9000 ( Cathe rwood, 2002), ISO
9001 ( Dalglei sh, 2003), and the capab ility matur ity model
( Muru gappan and Kee ni, 2003) are all part of the qual ity
Y.H. Kwak, F.T. Anbari / Technovation 26 (2006) 708–715 713
com munity’s effort to maximiz e the positi ve effect of the
six sigma method.
8. Conc lusions
Succes sful impleme ntation and growing organ izational
intere st in six sigma method have been expl oding in the last
few years. It is rapidly becomi ng a major driving force for
man y technology-d riven, project -driven organ izations. Fac-tors influencing successfu l six sigma projects i nclu de
man agement involvem ent and organizatio nal commitmen t,
project managem ent and cont rol skill s, cultural change , and
continuous training. Unders tanding the key features,
obst acles, and shortcom ings of six sigma provides oppor-tunities to prac titioners for better imple ment six sigma
project s. It allows them to better support their organ izations’
str ategic d irect ion, and increas ing needs for coach ing,
men toring, and training.
The sta tistical aspects of six sigma must comple ment
busi ness pers pective s and chal lenges to the organ ization to
implement six sigma projects successfully. V arious
appro aches to six sigma have been appl ied to increas e the
overa ll perf ormance of different busi ness sectors . Howeve r,
integr ating the data-dr iven, structure d six sigma processe s
into organiza tions still has room for improv ement. Cult ural
change s require time and commi tment before they are
strongl y impla nted into the organ ization. Effective six
sigma princi ples and p ractices are more likely to succe ed by
refini ng the organ izational culture continuo usly.
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