Six sigma in small- and medium-sized UK manufacturing enterprises: Some empirical observations

Jiju Antony, Maneesh Kumar, Christian N. Madu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    321 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Purpose - Six sigma for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is an emerging topic among many academics and six sigma practitioners over the last two to three years. Very few studies have been reported about the successful applications of six sigma in SMEs. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of six sigma implementation in UK manufacturing SMEs. Design/methodology/approach - This paper presents an extensive literature review based on the experiences of both academics and practitioners on six sigma within an SME environment. The paper highlights the strengths and weaknesses associated with SMEs, followed by the results of a six sigma survey in UK manufacturing SMEs. The results of the study are based primarily on descriptive statistics. Findings - The results of the study show that many of the SMEs are not aware of six sigma and many 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 linking six sigma to business strategy are the most critical factors for the successful deployment of six sigma in SMEs. Originality/value - This paper reports the first study on the status of six sigma implementation in UK SMEs. The paper will yield a great value to academics, consultants, researchers and practitioners of six sigma.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)860-874
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
    Volume22
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2005

    Keywords

    • Critical success factors
    • Quality programmes
    • Small to medium-sized enterprises
    • United Kingdom

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