While over 50% of respondents in a newly published Aberdeen report, ‘The Lean Six Sigma Benchmark,' indicated Six Sigma programs were implemented, only 16% of "Six Sigma" companies are holding true to the rigorous program with its stringent quality goal, structured problem-solving approach, dedicated training and prioritized projects that are the hallmark of Six Sigma philosophies. Yet, those that do have produced on average 40% more savings in programs to date and 65% more savings per project.

Aberdeen found few companies achieving the expected quality levels, but those who took a more technology-enabled approach fared much better in lowering defect rates. Among survey respondents, Minitab and SAS JMP customers produced the most impressive levels of quality, in some instances rivaling or surpassing Best-in-Class performance.

"Adapting to the rigors of Six Sigma requires significant culture change for most companies, and many find it a challenge. Yet, not all challenges are cultural. Six Sigma methodologies are dependent on data, so data collection can present significant obstacles. Automated data collection and IT solutions can play a key role in resolving these obstacles," said Cindy Jutras, vice president, Manufacturing & ERP Research at Aberdeen.

Jutras offers manufacturers recommendations for Six Sigma strategies:

  • Apply metrics of DPMO (Defects Per Million Opportunities) across all business processes in all industries, not just manufactured products and parts.

  • Identify and prioritize business impact projects according to anticipated savings and improved throughput. Look first for low-hanging fruit, and act now for immediate benefit.

  • Integrate data collection with analysis -- connect disparate sources of data and alarm users.

    To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit www.aberdeen.com/ or call 617/723.7890.