Multiple case-study analysis of quality management practices within UK Six Sigma and non-Six Sigma manufacturing small- and medium-sized enterprises

M. Kumar, J. Antony

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Although the benefits of Six Sigma are widely reported in many large organizations, research has shown that its implementation in UK small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is still less evident. This paper attempts to perform a multiple case-study analysis of the quality management practices within the UK Six Sigma and non-Six Sigma manufacturing SMEs. It was found from the case studies that strong leadership, management commitment, communication, education, and training were critical in introducing and driving any culture-change initiatives such as Six Sigma within SMEs. Resource constraints, several changes in management, lack of management commitment, and resistance to change were considered as impeding factors for successful introduction of change initiatives such as Lean or Six Sigma. The Six Sigma firms realized a significant improvement in the performance of operational metrics (such as scrap rate, cycle time, on-time delivery, and yield) and strategic metrics (such as sales, profit, customer satisfaction) after its successful implementation as compared with non-Six Sigma companies. Academic institutions can play a vital role in facilitating Six Sigma implementation in SMEs. The article concludes with the statement that there are critical differences in quality management practices of Six Sigma and non-Six Sigma SMEs, affecting their business performance.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)925-934
    Number of pages10
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
    Volume223
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 Jul 2009

    Keywords

    • Case study
    • Critical success factors
    • ISO
    • Lean
    • Six Sigma
    • SMEs

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