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An analysis of critical success factors for Six Sigma implementation

Sunil Sharma (Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, Delhi, India)
Anuradha R. Chetiya (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Ramjas College, University of Delhi, Delhi, India)

Asian Journal on Quality

ISSN: 1598-2688

Article publication date: 23 November 2012



The success of Six Sigma implementation is known to depend on a number of critical factors. The purpose of this paper is to explore and analyse Six Sigma critical success factors (CSFs) in the context of Indian manufacturing organizations.


Although Six Sigma success factors have been amply researched in the global context, in this paper, a maiden attempt is made to identify, through an extensive literature review, the CSFs for Six Sigma implementation followed by their validation and prioritization using primary data collection from Indian companies. A total of 22 CSFs have thus been compiled through an extensive literature review. These CSFs are then validated through an empirical research of select Indian manufacturing companies at various stages of implementation of the Six Sigma process improvement methodology.


A factor analysis was used to finally reduce the 22 factors to seven groups of underlying CSFs, the top factors being use of right tools, measurement assurance, innovation and supplier collaboration. Based on the factors extracted, a Six Sigma adoption model has been proposed in the Asian context.

Research limitations/implications

The factor analysis of CSFs of the Indian manufacturing organizations selected in this study demonstrates that the top factor is a composite factor showing combination of the ability of the project teams to use the right tools, measurement assurance, innovation and creativity skills in problem solving, and also the long‐term supplier collaboration of the firm. Perhaps there has been an overemphasis on the role and commitment of the management in the success of a Six Sigma program. Though it is undisputed, certain other factors also play an equally important role in ensuring that the Six Sigma programs are successful.


The CSFs extracted through the factor analysis could provide a basis for manufacturing organizations embarking on the Six Sigma journey to look beyond just management involvement and develop an integrated framework of other factors as outlined and give them appropriate priority and focus. The study could well be extended to service industries.



Sharma, S. and Chetiya, A.R. (2012), "An analysis of critical success factors for Six Sigma implementation", Asian Journal on Quality, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 294-308.



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