While more than 50 percent of respondents in a newly published Aberdeen report, The Lean Six Sigma Benchmark, indicated Six Sigma programs were implemented, only 16 percent of Six Sigma adherents hold true to the rigorous program with its stringent quality goal, structured problem-solving approach, dedicated training, and the prioritized projects that are the hallmark of Six Sigma philosophies. Yet those that do have produced on average 40 percent more savings in programs to date and 65 percent more savings per project.
Aberdeen found few companies achieving the expected quality levels, but those who took a more technology-enabled approach fared much better in lowering defect rates. Among survey respondents, Minitab and SAS JMP customers produced the most impressive levels of quality, in some instances rivaling or surpassing best-in-class performance.
"Adapting to the rigors of Six Sigma requires a significant cultural change for most companies, and many find it a challenge. Yet not all challenges are cultural. Six Sigma methodologies are dependent on data, so data collection can present significant obstacles. Automated data collection and IT solutions can play a key role in resolving these obstacles," said Cindy Jutras, vice president for manufacturing and ERP research at Aberdeen.
Jutras offers manufacturers recommendations for Six Sigma strategies:
- Apply metrics of DPMO (Defects Per Million Opportunities) across all business processes in all industries, not just manufactured products and parts.
- Identify and prioritize business impact projects according to anticipated savings and improved throughput. Look first for low-hanging fruit and act now for immediate benefit.
- Integrate data collection with analysis – connect disparate sources of data and alert users.
More than 400 companies participated in the study, including Boeing, Glaxo SmithKline, Rexam, Tyco Electronics, EMC, GE and GM.
This study is made available to the public through the underwriting of Hertzler, iGrafX, Minitab and Parsec. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=3490.
Aberdeen Group Inc. provides fact-based research and insights focused on the global, technology-driven value chain. Aberdeen's benchmarking, market and solution assessments, sales acceleration programs, and conferences support Global 5,000 value chain and technology executives and the solution providers who serve them.