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Article
Publication date: 23 November 2012

Alessandro Laureani and Jiju Antony

Identification of critical success factors (CSFs) for any continuous improvement initiative is important as it allows organisations to focus their efforts on these factors…

Abstract

Purpose

Identification of critical success factors (CSFs) for any continuous improvement initiative is important as it allows organisations to focus their efforts on these factors to ensure a success. The purpose of this paper is to present the CSFs for the effective implementation of Lean Six Sigma and to analyze the implementation of Lean Six Sigma, focusing on the CSFs identified in the literature, through a survey of companies, geographically dispersed, from both the manufacturing and service industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken by authors in this study has two fundamental parts. The first part was to analyse the current literature on CSFs for all continuous improvement initiatives such as TQM, Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma. The second part was to design a survey questionnaire based on the literature. The questionnaire was sent to 600 companies (both manufacturing and service) and the response rate is approximately 17 per cent.

Findings

Analysis of key findings highlighted that the most important factors are: management commitment, cultural change, linking Lean Six Sigma to business strategy and leadership styles. The results also revealed that the least important factors are linking Six Sigma to HR rewards and extending Lean Six Sigma to supply chain.

Research limitations/implications

A sample size of 101 companies is not sufficient to generalise our key findings. This will be rectified by carrying out further surveys in the forthcoming months and making this investigation a longitudinal study. Moreover, the authors have to execute semi‐structured interviews to obtain a better understanding of the current practice of Lean Six Sigma in participating organisations. An online survey was administered for this study; however future semi‐structured interviews with employees in those companies would enable one to have a better understanding of their practice of Lean Six Sigma programmes.

Originality/value

Although there are a number of papers published on CSFs of Lean and Six Sigma, it was found that there is a dearth of literature on CSFs of Lean Six Sigma implementation. The authors also compare and contrast the CSFs in both manufacturing and service organisations. The results showed what the most and least important factors are for a successful implementation of Lean Six Sigma, providing valuable insights for organizations which will be embarking on this journey.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Susan Knapp

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between four organizational cultural types defined by the Competing Values Framework and three Lean Six Sigma

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between four organizational cultural types defined by the Competing Values Framework and three Lean Six Sigma implementation components – management involvement, use of Lean Six Sigma methods and Lean Six Sigma infrastructure.

Design/methodology/approach

The study involved surveying 446 human resource and quality managers from 223 hospitals located in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument.

Findings

In total, 104 completed responses were received and analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance. Follow-up analysis of variances showed management support was significant, F(3, 100)=4.89, p < 0.01, η2=1.28; infrastructure was not significant, F(3, 100)=1.55, p=0.21, η2=0.05; and using Lean Six Sigma methods was also not significant, F(3, 100)=1.34, p=0.26, η2=0.04. Post hoc analysis identified group and development cultures having significant interactions with management support.

Practical implications

The relationship between organizational culture and Lean Six Sigma in hospitals provides information on how specific cultural characteristics impact the Lean Six Sigma initiative key components. This information assists hospital staff who are considering implementing quality initiatives by providing an understanding of what cultural values correspond to effective Lean Six Sigma implementation.

Originality/value

Managers understanding the quality initiative cultural underpinnings, are attentive to the culture-shared values and norm’s influence can utilize strategies to better implement Lean Six Sigma.

Details

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, vol. 28 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0952-6862

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Article
Publication date: 30 August 2019

The purpose of this study was to examine patterns in the research contributions from individuals in the field to detect whether they reflect the evolution of academic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to examine patterns in the research contributions from individuals in the field to detect whether they reflect the evolution of academic discussion concerning integration of Lean and Six Sigma methodology over a fixed time period.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was gathered from a keyword search of articles in the SCOBUS data base to determine the most frequent contributors in the areas of Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma research. Searches were carried out over five-yearly intervals from 2000 to 2015 and the twenty-one top contributors in each time period were identified.

Findings

The findings show that research contributions have moved away from looking at the single methodologies of Lean and Six Sigma and towards research based on the integrated Lean Six Sigma approach. The analysis also suggested that researchers may be publishing papers using different methodologies in response to different challenges in selecting the most appropriate tools to meet the needs of the specific issues they are addressing rather than advocating a particular approach.

Practical implications

For organizations to optimize performance a flexible approach would be beneficial with consideration being given to the specific issue and the correct tools and methodology selected from an integrated system or from Lean or Six Sigma systems alone.

Originality/value

This paper has originality in its’ consideration of the patterns of research contributions over a fixed time period as a reflection of the shift in debate from exclusive Lean or Six Sigma approaches to a more integrated Lean Six Sigma system.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest , vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Vijaya Sunder M.

The purpose of this paper is to present the corporate views of the commonalities and differences between two of the most powerful methodologies for process improvement in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the corporate views of the commonalities and differences between two of the most powerful methodologies for process improvement in organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken was to collate the viewpoints from various corporate professionals. Participants were chosen from different countries across the globe, with a median experience of 10 years as a quality professional with expertise in the field of both Lean and Six Sigma.

Findings

Thirty-one key points have been highlighted as findings, as a summary of viewpoints provided by the participants. Fourteen commonalities and 17 differences between Six Sigma and Lean were identified. Key findings were grouped under four categories – Approach, Customer, Focus and Organisation.

Research limitations/implications

The corporate opinions expressed in the paper are those of a few professionals selected for the study. It is important to capture the viewpoints of more such practitioners to arrive at sound and valid conclusions.

Originality/value

The paper provides an excellent platform for both academicians and working professionals to understand the corporate views of commonalities and differences between the two powerful process improvement methodologies. The paper lays a platform for researchers to understand the applications of Six Sigma and Lean for process excellence.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Jiju Antony, Bryan Rodgers and E.V. Gijo

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the widespread but fragmented application of Lean Six Sigma within the UK public sector, providing the context of some of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the widespread but fragmented application of Lean Six Sigma within the UK public sector, providing the context of some of the challenges faced within the sector as well as some of the successful applications of Lean Six Sigma. The paper fundamentally seeks to challenge the concept that Lean Six Sigma is not suitable for use in the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

A summary of the challenges facing the public sector is shown from current literature and this is presented as drivers for change. A number of successful applications of Lean Six Sigma are then evidenced demonstrating examples across areas of the public sector.

Findings

This paper concludes that while Lean Six Sigma is applicable to the UK public sector additional work is required to better evidence the benefits and return on investment that can be delivered as well as considering more holistic approaches on an agency wide basis.

Research limitations/implications

This paper seeks to contribute to and broaden the limited body of evidence of the applicability of Lean Six Sigma to the UK public sector and identifies areas for further research and review.

Practical implications

Understanding the applicability of Lean Six Sigma affords opportunities to public sector agencies in the current budget climate but additionally affords ways in which quality of service can be enhanced. In some cases, it provides opportunities to meet new statutory requirements around community empowerment.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the body of evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of Lean Six Sigma within the public sector and suggests opportunity for those agencies to meet funding challenges faced across the UK.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 65 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2021

Surya Prakash, Satish Kumar, Gunjan Soni, Raj V. Mahto and Nitesh Pandey

This study aims to present an overview of leading research trends in the lean six sigma domain published in the International Journal of Lean Six Sigma (IJLSS) since its inception.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to present an overview of leading research trends in the lean six sigma domain published in the International Journal of Lean Six Sigma (IJLSS) since its inception.

Design/methodology/approach

The study analyses articles published between 2010 and 2019 in IJLSS using the bibliometric technique. The results of data analysis identify the most prolific authors, their affiliation, citation trends and highly cited articles from the journal. Further, a graphical analysis involving bibliographic coupling and co-citation analysis of the corpus enriches the investigation.

Findings

The results of the bibliometric analysis suggest that the number of IJLSS’s publications and citations grew markedly over time (from 4 citations in 2010 to nearly 1,324 in 2019). The organizational diversity and collaboration among authors publishing in IJLSS are trending upwards. Case study and focus group are the two most common research designs in publications. In the study, three major themes emerged: implementation of lean on business, integration of lean and six sigma and the effects of lean six sigma on businesses.

Practical implications

The study finding informs and educates practitioners and scholars about various qualitative research tools, applications and methods of implementing lean six sigma tools in different industry sectors.

Originality/value

The study uses bibliometric analysis to propose a novel categorization of research published in IJLSS and to report on the utilization of various lean tools in the journal. The study provides guidance for new future research besides offering a thorough introspection of the lean and six sigma domains.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2021

Anand S. Patel and Kaushik M. Patel

This paper aims to develop an initial understanding of the Lean Six Sigma methodology since its inception and examine the few Lean Six Sigma dimensions as a research…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop an initial understanding of the Lean Six Sigma methodology since its inception and examine the few Lean Six Sigma dimensions as a research domain through a critical review of the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is structured in two-part. The first part of the paper attempts to dwell on the evolution of the Lean Philosophy and Six Sigma methodology individually and the emergence of Lean Six Sigma methodology, covered under the Lean Six Sigma: a historical outline section. The second part of the study examines the dimensions associated with Lean Six Sigma such as frameworks, critical success factors, critical failure factors, type of industry, performance metric, year, publisher and journal, based on a total of 223 articles published in 72 reputed journals from the year 2000 to 2019 as a literature review.

Findings

The adoption of Lean Six Sigma, as a continuous improvement methodology, has grown enormously in the manufacturing and few service sectors such as health care and higher education during the past decade. The study revealed that researchers came out with conceptual frameworks for the implementation of Lean Six Sigma, whereas the validation through case studies seems to be lacking. The integration of Lean Six Sigma and other approaches with a focus on sustainability and the environment has emerged as a research field. A few of the most common critical success and failure factors were identified from the articles studied during the study.

Research limitations/implications

This paper may not have included some of the studies due to the inaccessibility and selection criteria followed for the study.

Originality/value

This paper will provide an initial introduction on Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma and research insights Lean Six Sigma to beginners such as students, researchers and entry-level professionals.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2020

Lokpriya Gaikwad and Vivek Sunnapwar

The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic literature review and its analysis concerning a possible framework, compatibility, drivers and barriers for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic literature review and its analysis concerning a possible framework, compatibility, drivers and barriers for integrating three manufacturing strategies – Lean, Green and Six Sigma. In particular, analyzing current proposals and identifying the literature gaps in the existing literature from which future research directions and challenges have been suggested for developing a specific integrated framework for the Indian manufacturing industry.

Design/methodology/approach

This study explores manufacturing strategic area in depth through literature review, which will point out to the better understanding of the compatibility and impact of these initiatives through the conceptual framework, on the performance of the manufacturing organization.

Findings

The review of shortlisted articles indicates that Lean, Green and Six Sigma (LGSS) strategies help the manufacturing organizations to compete in global markets through the impact of a sustainability strategy for their business. Various researchers provide evidence of challenges like cost reduction, quality improvement, on-time delivery, changing needs of the customers and scarce resources that can be overcome through these strategies to achieve overall business objectives.

Research limitations/implications

In this research, only works of literature related to LGSS and sustainability have been studied so information related to linking between these strategies in manufacturing industries is limited.

Practical implications

Help the manufacturing practitioners to deploy three strategies simultaneously in an environment when the linking among LGSS methods in manufacturing industries has not been established. Hence simultaneous deployment of these three strategies helps the organization to boost its operational and environmental performance.

Social implications

The strategies, LGSS, will be adopted in the operational management to reduce both waste and pollution which will definitely help to society. It will highlight the need for cost effective and easy to implement solutions as well as brand building, which is one of the top incentives for LGSS, highlighting the importance of public perception of how companies operate.

Originality/value

An integrated framework of the LGSS will help the Indian manufacturing industries to improve performance and competitiveness in the global market.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 19 May 2020

Neeraj Yadav, Ravi Shankar and Surya Prakash Singh

This paper compares impact of Industry 4.0 / emerging information and communication Technologies (ICTs), for example, Internet of things (IOT), machine learning…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper compares impact of Industry 4.0 / emerging information and communication Technologies (ICTs), for example, Internet of things (IOT), machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and cloud computing, on 22 organisational performance indicators under nine combinations of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) and quality management systems (QMS).

Design/methodology/approach

Survey of 105 Indian organisations was done about their experience of using QMS, Lean Six Sigma and emerging ICTs. Respondents included both manufacturing and service enterprises of different scales and sectors. The responses collected were compared, and statistically significant difference among them was evaluated using chi-square test.

Findings

The study confirmed statistically significant difference among 20 organisational performance indicators under different combinations of QMS, LSS and ICTs. These indicators include quality performance, delivery performance, sales turnover, inventory level and so forth. However, for two indicators, namely, absenteeism and throughput, significant difference in responses was not established.

Research limitations/implications

All possible combinations of QMS, LSS, only LSS tools and ICTs were not studied because of either theoretical impossibility (e.g. using LSS without LSS tools) or practically rare situations (e.g. organisations using ICTs and LSS without QMS). Furthermore, the impact from different sequences of implementing QMS, LSS and ICTs can be studied.

Practical implications

Using this study, practitioners can identify which LSS, Quality System and ICT combination results in best performance and quick success. On theoretical front, the study confirms impact of LSS and QMS on organisational performance.

Originality/value

This study evaluates organisational performance under several possible combinations of QMS, LSS, and emerging ICTs, which was so far unexplored.

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2011

Jiju Antony

The purpose of this paper is to present the fundamental and critical differences between two of the most powerful methodologies in a process excellence initiative in any…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the fundamental and critical differences between two of the most powerful methodologies in a process excellence initiative in any organisation.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken was to collate opinions from a number of leading academics and practitioners from five different countries. It was also important to ensure that all participants have a good knowledge and expertise in the field of both Lean and Six Sigma methodologies.

Findings

Although both methodologies are focused on process and quality improvement, Lean is formalisation and codification of experience and judgement which is not a feature of Six Sigma. Lean emphasises speed and waste, however Six Sigma emphasises variation, defects and process evaluation.

Research limitations/implications

The viewpoints expressed in the article are those of a few academics and practitioners. It is important to capture the viewpoints of more academics and practitioners to arrive at sound and valid conclusions.

Originality/value

The paper provides an excellent resource for many researchers and for practitioners who are engaged in research and applications of the most two powerful methodologies for achieving and sustaining operational excellence. It is also critical to understand the fundamental differences between these two methodologies.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 60 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

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