7Integrating Six Sigma


Integrating Six Sigma in a Manufacturing Process: A Case Study

Table of Contents

31.0 Background of Research

32.0 Current State-of-the-art

43.0 Research Objectives and Hypothesis

54.0 Literature Review

54.1 Implementation of Six Sigma

54.2 Six Sigma Tools and Techniques

64.3 Implementation of Six Sigma in SMEs and Big Companies

64.4 Improvement of Constraints Management and Six Sigma

64.5 Information Gap

75.0 Research Methodology

76.0 Project Plan

9Reference List

1.0 Background of Research

Six Sigma is simply a measurement technique that aims to make the quality of products and services be better. It is a data-driven methodology and approach that aims at eliminating the defects in the industrial processes from transactional to manufacturing and from services to products. Six Sigma uses statistical tools to fight the variability that a company may be experiencing. All companies usually experience variation thus making Six Sigma critical. It allows the reduction of the variability in the company to the lowest state possible. Most of the project teams have models that assist in the integration of the Six Sigma. The models are in the form of manuals or guides that help resolve a problem in a company based on variation. According to Gitlow and Levine (2005), the most common strategy or model that the project teams use is the Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control abbreviated as DMAIC. The methods are based on a guideline that enables the project team to know when and what statistical tools to use. It also enables the statistical and other tools used in a manufacturing company to understand the project priorities as per the effect and variation associated with the processes.

2.0 Current State-of-the-art

Companies such as Sony, Kodak, General Electric, and Motorola Solutions have integrated the Six Sigma. As a result, they have managed to convince their potential and current customers that any of their services or products that they provide is of good quality (Pillai, Pundir & Ganapathy 2012). The major disadvantage of Six Sigma is that the process can be completed only after the problems associated with the quality of products and services are solved. The solution of the problems can be achieved with the purchase of technology, machinery, tools, or a given amount of investment (Pacheco 2014). However, some of these issues might be complex for small businesses. Other challenges of integrating Six Sigma in the manufacturing process are due to its possibility to a suite in several projects. As a result, it is hard to determine which project should be given priority when integrating the Six Sigma. It is also hard to determine the project that will go through a significant change based on the desire to reduce variability (Hassan 2013). Companies that have a limited budget, therefore, need to take a lot of consideration before engaging in the integration of Six Sigma.

3.0 Research Objectives and Hypothesis

The research will be based on three main objectives;

  1. To determine the suitable method that Six Sigma can be integrated into a manufacturing process

  2. To analyse how Six Sigma can be deployed in Constraints Management for the improvement of manufacturing companies

  3. To evaluate how Sigma Six can be integrated into manufacturing companies with limited resources

The research questions for the study will, therefore, be

  1. What are the suitable methods to which Six Sigma can be integrated into the manufacturing process?

  2. How can Six Sigma be deployed in Constraints Management for the improvement of manufacturing companies?

  3. How can Six Sigma be integrated into manufacturing companies with limited resources?

The study will be tested using through null hypothesis;

H01— Six Sigma cannot be efficiently integrated into the manufacturing process.

H02— Six Sigma cannot be integrated with the Constraints Management to improve the manufacturing process.

H03— Six Sigma cannot be implemented in manufacturing companies with limited resources.

4.0 Literature Review

4.1 Implementation of Six Sigma

According to Al-Mishari and Sulman (2008) businesses could employ three possible approaches in implementing the Six Sigma. These are transformation approach, strategic improvement and problem-solving approach is the third approach. Edgeman and Dugan (2008) cited that the commonly used methodologies in the implementation of Six Sigma are Design, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) and the Design for Six Sigma (DFSS). DMAIC is a problem solving methodology while DFSS is a process defining, designing, and delivering innovative and quality products (Watson and DeYong 2010).

4.2 Six Sigma Tools and Techniques

According to Gitlow and Levine (2005) there are several tools applicable to Six Sigma projects accessible within both public and literature fields. Six Sigma usually provide a customer focused and properly defined methodology that is supported through the establishment of vivid set of inclusive tool meant to improve business processes (Van Iwaarden et al. 2008). According to Van Iwaarden et al. (2008) Six Sigma is an integration of the existing tools and methodologies available before development. The different forms of Six Sigma include the analysis templates, procedures, and models (Yeung 2007). However, there should be improvement tools for the incorporation within the DMAIC process (Gitlow & Levine 2005). However, there are no standard contexts to which the institutional tools can be based (Yeung, 2007; Van Iwaarden et al, 2008; Al‐Najjar & Kans 2006). McCarthy and Stauffer (2001) stated that Six Sigma has been in a position of delivering significant results without incorporation of the simulation tools.

4.3 Implementation of Six Sigma in SMEs and Big Companies

There is a close relationship between the management and employees in SMEs as opposed to large corporations (Al‐Najjar & Kans 2006). Six Sigma can be integrated in both SMEs and big companies (Gitlow, Levine & Popovich 2006). However, in SMEs the focus will be on strategic improvement that entails addressing one or two areas that the business considers to be highly critical (Gitlow, Levine & Popovich 2006).

4.4 Improvement of Constraints Management and Six Sigma

Spector (2006) argues that the chain is worth the strength of the weakest link found irrespective of if the other links are strong enough, as the system would break whenever there is an insertion of the weakest link. According to Al‐Najjar and Kans (2006) the common integration that the two disciples use consists of identification of the organizational constraint; however, upon locating the system with SS, it would take over the link and ensuring reduction in the variations and resolving organizational problems.

4.5 Information Gap

According to the reviewed literature, there are four distinct interpretations of Six Sigma: set of statistical tools, analysis of the methodology using scientific methods, business culture, and operational philosophy of management; however, there is mutual exclusiveness and overlapping of the streams. The literature tends to prove a variety of tools and techniques whose classification falls within the DMAIC methodology; however, there is little information on their application. The existing literature, on the other hand, tend to categorize the various Six Sigma tools based on the DMAIC; however, the alternative approach to the DMAIC including DFSS, DMADV, and DCOV lack such tools of classification.

5.0 Research Methodology

The study will focus on an integrated model that focuses on improving a program in a manufacturing company. First, it will identify the constraints within the manufacturing industry and define them. Second, is the Critical Total Quality stage that will focus on measuring the efficiency of the processes (Ehie & Sheu 2005). Third, the movements, causes, or motions will be analysed followed by exploitation of the constraints. The process will then be verified and improved after which the constraint will be elevated (Niu, Lau, & Pecht 2010). Lastly, the inertia will be controlled and watched to ensure improvement keeps working. After the definition of the model components, the researcher will develop a detailed framework roadmap that prescribes a way of implementing Six Sigma within the businesses. Six Sigma is holistic programme with the ability of influencing the whole manufacturing process.

6.0 Project Plan

Time (Weeks)


  • Clarification of project scope and coordinate with a manufacturing plant

  • Develop and launch communication strategy

  • Reviewing the existing studies and reports

  • Developing an integration framework for manufacturing process and Six Sigma

  • Research on the best method of integration

  • Collect the findings and evaluate the benefits and limitations associated with the integration

  • Synthesis of the collected information

  • Analyze the data to identify programmatic and business overlaps and opportunities for collaboration

  • Development of a Research Report and Submission

Reference List

(2), 148-160. 14, Journal of Quality in Maintenance EngineeringMishari, S. T., & Suliman, S. (2008). Modelling preventive maintenance for auxiliary components. ‐Al

(8), 616-637. 55, Int J Productivity & Perf Mgmteffective decisions. ‐Najjar, B., & Kans, M. (2006). A model to identify relevant data for problem tracing and maintenance cost‐Al

(1-2), 1-9. 19, Total Quality Management & Business ExcellenceEdgeman, R. L., & Dugan, J. P. (2008). Six Sigma from products to pollution to people.

Ehie, I & Sheu, C 2005, ‘Integrating six sigma and theory of constraints for continuous improvement: a case study’, Journal of manufacturing technology management, vol. 16, no. 5, pp.542-553.

Gitlow, HS & Levine, DM 2005,  Six Sigma for green belts and champions: foundations, DMAIC, tools, cases, and certification, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Six sigma for green belts and champions: Foundations, DMAIC, tools, cases, and certificationGitlow, H. S., & Levine, D. M. (2005).

. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Design for six sigma for green belts and champions: Applications for service operations—foundations, tools, DMADV, cases, and certificationGitlow, H. S., Levine, D. M., & Popovich, E. A. (2006).

Hassan, MK 2013, ‘Applying Lean Six Sigma for waste reduction in a manufacturing environment’,  American Journal of Industrial Engineering, vol. 1, no. 2, pp.28-35.

(1), 105-110. 2, Proceeding of the 2001 Winter Simulation Conference McCarthy, B., & Stauffer, R. (2001). Enhancing Six Sigma through simulation with iGrafx Process for Six Sigma.

Niu, G, Lau, D & Pecht, M 2010, ‘Computer manufacturing management integrating lean six sigma and prognostic health management’, International Journal of Performability Engineering, vol. 6, no. 5, pp.453-466.

Pacheco, D 2014, ‘Theory of Constraints and Six Sigma: convergences, divergences and research agenda for continuous improvement’, Independent Journal of Management & Production, vol. 5, no. 2, pp.331-343.

Pillai, AKR, Pundir, AK & Ganapathy, L 2012, ‘Implementing integrated lean Six Sigma for software development: A flexibility framework for managing the continuity: change dichotomy’, Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, vol. 13, no. 2, pp.107-116.

(1), 42-47. 10, Supply Chain Management ReviewSpector, R. (2006). How constraints management enhances lean and six sigma.

(23), 6739-6758. 46, International Journal of Production ResearchVan Iwaarden, J., Van der Wiele, T., Dale, B., Williams, R., & Bertsch, B. (2008). The Six Sigma improvement approach: a transnational comparison.

(1), 66-84. 1, International Journal of Lean Six SigmaWatson, G. H., & DeYong, C. F. (2010). Design for Six Sigma:caveat emptor.

(3), 210. 3, International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive AdvantageYeung, S. M. (2007). Integrating ISO 9001:2000 and Six Sigma into organisational culture.