Title: A Lean Six Sigma execution strategy for service sectors: what you need to know before starting the journey

Authors: Theresa Waterbury, Claribel Bonilla

Addresses: Winona State University, P.O. Box 5838, Winona, MN 55987, USA. ' Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110, USA

Abstract: In the last 20 years, the rate of change has accelerated in manufacturing and service organisations as they embark on the challenge of staying competitive and meeting the demands for improved performance. Service sectors encounter tremendous variability while working with the customers| numerous and changing needs, differing arrival times and their unique personalities. A core challenge to profitability is the management of variability in the day-to-day operations. Operations management theory strongly suggests that variation and waste must be eliminated to improve processes. Lean Six Sigma is an improvement methodology that has helped many manufacturing companies with waste and variability issues in their operation. This paper provides several pathways for Lean Six Sigma strategy executions in the service sector that are dependent upon the varying levels of organisational readiness. A case study is presented to validate a strategy execution dependent on the organisation|s level of readiness. The paper serves as a guide to evaluate the readiness level of the organisation and provides varying levels of strategy execution leading to financial gains.

Keywords: lean six sigma; strategy; services; organisational readiness; readiness levels; improvement methodology; service sectors.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSCA.2008.022951

International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage, 2008 Vol.4 No.4, pp.395 - 408

Published online: 04 Feb 2009 *

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