The purpose of this paper is to investigate the migratory nature of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) implementation and adoption in manufacturing-based SMEs in the UK. The companies were surveyed at two points over a five-year period. These periods were before and after the 2008 recession point. This being done in order to identify the level of LSS adoption as a result of the tougher economic climate that has prevailed since 2008.
Analysis is carried out on a sample of 96 manufacturing SMEs from a range of manufacturing sectors in the UK. Data were gathered from company CEOs via a triangulated method of questionnaire, direct observation and interviews.
The paper provides research information into the characterisation, compatibility and innovativeness of SMEs towards LSS implementation and goes on to provide an implementation classification system and characterises the dynamical nature of LSS development in manufacturing SMEs.
The findings analyse the dynamic nature of LSS implementation in SMEs. Further work will include extending the LSS categorisation system to provide a wider category set that further defines the dynamical nature of LSS implementation. Also, more focused studies in to specific manufacturing sectors will yield greater understanding of the effects of LSS on those sectors.
The paper provides practical research information into the characterisation, compatibility and innovativeness of SMEs towards LSS implementation. It will be of use to practitioners seeking to implement or develop LSS further in their organisations.
This study compares at depth the LSS implementation issues within SMEs. It not only analyses the survey data but characterises their attitudes towards implementing LSS and as such this work makes a contribution to this under researched area.
The authors would like to thank the company participants who have taken part in this longitudinal research programme for their time in working with the research team on this project. Without their support this research work would not have been possible.
J. Thomas, A., Ringwald, K., Parfitt, S., Davies, A. and John, E. (2014), "An empirical analysis of Lean Six Sigma implementation in SMEs – a migratory perspective", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 31 No. 8, pp. 888-905. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-04-2013-0070Download as .RIS
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