- Bank of America
Bank of America is a prominent American multinational investment bank and financial services company. Operating in 40 countries across the globe, with trading asset of around 11% in the first quarter of 2018.
In 2011, the organization was determined to adopt Lean Six Sigma improvement program as an effort to improve its operational efficiency. The management of Bank of America realized the importance of implementing Lean Six Sigma in the organization as it offers the best set of performance metrics to assess the performance of their operation (Hajikordestani, 2010).
Bank of America conducts business by focusing on numerical data which includes the number of complaint, the time needed for credit card processing and also the time needed for responding to feedback (Stoiljkovic, Milosavljevic & Randjelovic, 2010). The customer satisfaction in the area of process quality of the investment bank was low prior to the introduction of Lean Six Sigma. The bank managed to reduce traditional problems such as late posting transactions, encoding errors, and omissions from customer statement. Today, Bank of America is listed as one of the Top 10 Investment Banks in the World.
- Caterpillar Inc.
Caterpillar, or also known as Cat, is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. In 2018, Caterpillar Inc., a corporation which designs, develops, engineers, manufactures, markets and sells machinery, engines, financial products and insurance, had claimed the 65th position in Fortune 500 list.
Tracing back to 2001, the CEO of Caterpillar Inc., Glen Barton, introduced Six Sigma to the company’s operational system. He realized the need for a tool to analyze the complications, make the changes and develop the company’s growth (Gillett, Fink & Bevington, 2010).
Since then, the company has made significant progress by implementing step-by-step metrics to ensure long-term effectiveness and profitability. Their success was a result of their focus on energy efficiency improvement in buildings and manufacturing processes and in deploying cleaner sources of energy.
- Honeywell International Inc.
Honeywell International Inc. is a multinational company that produces a variety of commercial and consumer products, also delving into engineering services and aerospace systems.
Back in 1999, AlliedSignal Inc. and Honeywell decided to merge their business operation which brought two effective Quality Management Systems (QMS) together. AlliedSignal brought Six Sigma experience into Honeywell which had already developed Honeywell Quality Value (HQV) by then. The fusion had revamped and renamed the existing Six Sigma program which was later introduced as Six Sigma Plus (Green, 2000).
Six Sigma Plus system has brought positive changes to the company. The system centres on project improvement method, the DMAIC process which is the acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control that escalates improvements in all of the company’s process, products and services. Honeywell International Inc., a product from the merger, managed to save $2.2 billion by 1999. According to Hajikordestan (2010), the Six Sigma Plus program, which focuses on Lean concept in waste elimination and variation reduction in Six Sigma, gained a total of $1.2 billion from productivity improvements in 2012.
Honeywell International Inc. today claims that Six Sigma helps them to drive significant improvements in quality, delivery and overall performance while Lean simplifies and streamlines their operation by yielding reduced cycle time and providing better responsiveness to customers.
- General Electric (GE)
General Electric is known as an American multinational conglomerate company which operates through various segments including aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing, venture capital and finance, lighting and oil and gas In 1997, GE reported that $300 million invested in Six Sigma delivered between $400 million and $500 million savings, with additional incremental margins of $100 to $200 million (Basu & Wright, 2012). In 2018, GE managed to place themselves in the Fortune 500 list as the 18th largest firm in the U.S. by gross revenue.
Jack Welch was the chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GE when he became the initiator of the implementation of Six Sigma in the operation of the company back in 1995. He realized the need for improvements as he noticed GE’s many setbacks which required reconstruction on its fundamental operation. The success of GE is often attributed to his implementation of “stretch goals”. Welch’s approach focused on the goals around metrics including profit, market share and the share price which would be set so high that achieving them inspired unrivalled innovation and would benefit the company in the long-term, instead of boosting short-term performance (Shayne, 2017).
A study conducted on GE subsidiaries showed positive improvements in the companies with the implementation of Six Sigma problem-solving framework such as DMAIC, DFSS and DMADV and statistical tools and software which included Minitab and Crystal Ball. The benefits that the companies obtained from the Six Sigma programs included waste reduction, increased productivity, increased customer satisfaction, processes variability reduction and financial gains (Schmidt, Sousa-Zomer, Andrietta & Cauchick-Miguel, 2018).
3M, an American multinational conglomerate corporation, was introduced to Six Sigma in 2001 by Jim McNerney, the former Vice President of General Electric (GE) (Hurren, 2015). Six Sigma brought temporary positive changes to the company, but it resulted in tension after a while due to the shift in corporate culture.
According to Gunther (2010), the improvement method, which was assumed to drive productivity, somehow interrupted the company’s innovative efforts. McNerney managed to streamline the company’s operation using Six Sigma but the scientists and engineers thought that the management technique was hard to implement as invention should not be scheduled.
In 2005, 3M appointed a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), George Buckley who preserved Six Sigma’s benefits cost-cutting and efficiency-improvement efforts and re-stimulated 3M’s innovative efforts (Peppers, 2016). This hybrid approach resulted to Lean Six Sigma methodology in which elements that were considered less useful were dropped while specific and custom elements were maintained. By 2017, 3M made $31.7 billion in total sales and the company ranked 97th in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.
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