Uptake and success factors of Six Sigma in the financial services industry

Diana Heckl (ProcessLab, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
Jürgen Moormann (ProcessLab, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
, and
Michael Rosemann (Business Process Management Group, Faculty of Science and Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Publication date: 8 June 2010

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss results from the first empirical study on the status and the success factors of Six Sigma in the financial services sector.

Design/methodology/approach

An empirical study using a comprehensive and tested survey instrument has been conducted in banks, insurance companies, and related service providers in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Great Britain.

Findings

One quarter of financial services providers has identified the Six Sigma methodology as being suited for their continuous process improvement efforts. Pressures to reduce costs, the desire to exploit market opportunities, and dissatisfied customers are the main drivers. However, the uptake of Six Sigma is still in the early stages. Most companies apply the methodology in pilot projects only. Nevertheless, respondents estimate a cost‐benefit ratio of 1‐4.3. Dissatisfaction with Six Sigma projects is often caused by insufficient data quality and data quantity, lack of resources, and missing support from top management.

Originality/value

Although Six Sigma has been successfully implemented in many industries, its application in the service sector is still in question. This paper presents for the first time results of a survey within the financial services industry with the aim to analyze the acceptance level of the Six Sigma methodology, the achieved results, and the factors that determine its successful implementation.

Keywords

Citation

Heckl, D., Moormann, J. and Rosemann, M. (2010), "Uptake and success factors of Six Sigma in the financial services industry", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 436-472. https://doi.org/10.1108/14637151011049449

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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