Six Sigma has successfully been adapted by companies all over the United States, and some are still on the fence as to the success of this methodology. These are some examples of extremely successful companies that are implementing Six Sigma and seeing the results.
Our first example is Amazon. Yes, this retailer giant is the largest in the country, even surpassing Walmart, and has achieved its status by offering impeccable service, e-commerce solutions and logistics innovations. Amazon, that initially started off as an online book store, today has a large amount of accessories and other items it sells online, along with cloud service and consumer electronics like the Amazon Kindle e-book readers. Even more so during holiday season, Amazon has proven it has efficient operations that have such a low rate of errors that besides being the biggest retailer, it is one of the best examples of how companies can effectively use Six Sigma. The name Six Sigma is rarely mentioned at Amazon, because the methodology is so engrained in every process that it’s simply part of the company and has been since 1999. As they mention in their annual report of that year “Operational excellence: To us, operational excellence implies two things: delivering continuous improvement in customer experience and driving productivity, margin, efficiency, and asset velocity across all our businesses.” By selecting their best employees as Black Belts they have gone even further in the Six Sigma program. Their quality control begins from a demanding selection process, only going for the top profiles from the top schools. As seen in their press releases they normally mention the improvements being made and their Operational Excellence program.
Another example is the United Stated Army, where Six Sigma practices are helping to support our soldiers. These practices can be seen everywhere from the mess hall to the recruitment process or the warehouses. For the U.S. Army having efficient procedures can ultimately save lives and better improve the current procedures which will at the end of the day affect the different wars being fought. Making the switch from a mid-20th century business model to a Lean Six Sigma is truly a complete transformation process for the U.S. Army. The Lean Six Sigma program includes not only active duty officers, but civilians and contractors as well. The main objective of Lean Six Sigma is to get the business side of the U.S. Army to catch up with the war side of the business, which is very efficient and rapid in making adjustments and improvements. So, since 2005 the business side of the U.S. Army has implemented strategies allowing them to join the 21st century business models making it an example within the Six Sigma programs with over 1,200 Green Belts, 440 Black Belts and 15 Master Black Belts.
Ford Motor Company can be considered one of the first promoters of strategies like Lean Six Sigma. In 2001 they adopted this one in particular and despite previous efforts that promoted sustainability, efficiency and improvement, it was time to get on board with this new methodology. Even though it had been planned since 1999, it only gained strength in 2001 despite having many people supporting the idea. When analyzing how efficient the change has been they were able to notice they saved $359 million globally due to practices they had improved thanks to Lean Six Sigma. They were able to overcome difficulties like initial skepticism from employees who were used to doing things differently, by simply showing the results. When everything was said and done, Lean Six Sigma was improving the quality of the products and the customer experience.
Finally, Dell is another great example and leading company that proves how successful Lean Six Sigma can be. This multinational computer technology company has been around since 1984. Just last year it sales made it the third largest PC retailer in the world, right after HP and Lenovo. And it did take number one as the largest shipper of PC monitors in the world. Dell has applied the four families of measures that the Lean Six Sigma approach suggests, which are the PFQT measures, financials, quality and timeliness of a project. All projects and strategies are aimed at addressing these four areas. By doing this they are integrating all of the procedures, instead of promoting strategies to solitary processes. They even founded a scheme named Business Project Improvement (BPI) which uses Lean Six Sigma, and today is considered a sustainable and thriving process that some companies have even copied.
There are many more examples of companies where Lean Six Sigma has been successful and using this methodology have managed to improve their procedures generating optimum quality, efficiency and enhancing the consumer experience.