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Gearing six sigma into UK manufacturing SMEs

Antony, Jiju and Kumar, Maneesh and Labib, A (2008) Gearing six sigma into UK manufacturing SMEs. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 59. pp. 482-493. ISSN 0160-5682

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Abstract

Approaches to business improvement have evolved and grown since the early 1900s and today the process focused, statistically driven Six Sigma methodology has been widely used by companies such as GE, Motorola, Honeywell, Bombardier, ABB, Sony, DuPont, American Express, Ford and many other companies in improving the business performance and optimizing the bottom-line benefits. Although Six Sigma business management strategy has been exploited by many world class organizations as mentioned above, there is still less documented evidence of its implementation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This paper reports the key findings of a Six Sigma pilot survey in UK manufacturing SMEs. The results of the study are based primarily on descriptive statistics. The results of the study show that many of the SMEs are not aware of Six Sigma and do not have the resources to implement Six Sigma projects. It was also found that Lean Sigma was not generally popular among SMEs. Management involvement and participation, linking Six Sigma to customers and to business strategy are the most critical factors for the successful deployment of Six Sigma in SMEs.