A multiple case study analysis of six sigma practices in Indian manufacturing companies

Jiju Antony, EV Gijo, Vikas Kumar, Dr Abhi Ghadge

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose
    The purpose of this paper is to explore the fundamental barriers/challenges, benefits, commonly used tools and techniques, organisational infrastructure and impact on organisational performance in three Indian manufacturing companies.
    Design/methodology/approach
    A multi-case study analysis using the exploratory case study research was adopted by the authors to obtain a deeper insight into the Six Sigma implementation within three distinctive manufacturing organisations in India. Interviews were conducted with relevant staff (Six Sigma Deployment Champions, Six Sigma Master Black Belts and Six Sigma Black Belts) in all three companies.
    Findings
    Some of the barriers in implementing and sustaining Six Sigma identified from the case studies include: lack of accuracy of data generated from the processes, lack of understanding of the benefits of Six Sigma in the early stages of its adoption, high-attrition rate of Six Sigma Black Belts and so on. The benefits of Six Sigma included improvement of process yield, reduction of rework and rejection, reduction of raw material inventory, improved on-time delivery, on-time availability of material for production and so on. Supplier-input-process-output-customer, cause and effect diagram, process mapping, hypothesis tests (two sample test, F-test, etc.), control charts (X-bar-R chart, individual chart, etc.), simple graphical tools such as histograms, box plots and dot plots were the most commonly used tools of Six Sigma across the companies that participated for this research. All three companies have reported that Six Sigma had a positive impact on organisational performance and moreover the study also revealed that Six Sigma had positive impact on customer satisfaction, return-on-investment, productivity and product quality.
    Research limitations/implications
    The study was carried out in three Indian companies and therefore the findings cannot be generalised. The authors are extending the study to three more companies and the findings will be reported in the forthcoming months.
    Practical implications
    The findings of the study provide a good foundation to understand the fundamental barriers, benefits, commonly used tools and whether Six Sigma is having any impact on business performance in the Indian context. Very few empirical studies have been carried out on Six Sigma implementation in the Indian manufacturing companies and this research sets an agenda for a number of studies to follow on in the forthcoming years.
    Originality/value
    In authors’ opinion, this is possibly one of the first multi-case empirical studies on Six Sigma implementation in the Indian manufacturing companies. The results of the study can be used to benchmark with similar studies in other countries to understand the good and bad management practices of Six Sigma implementation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1138-1149
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
    Volume33
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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