Title: Six Sigma implementation in the service sector: notable experiences of major firms in the USA

Authors: Yasin Ozcelik

Addresses: Department of Information Systems & Operations Management, Dolan School of Business, Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824, USA

Abstract: Six Sigma is a quality improvement methodology that has been popular among manufacturing firms for years. Given that the service sector employs most of the total workforce in developed countries, Six Sigma can be utilised to improve service quality in this sector as well. Since the application of Six Sigma to service industries is a relatively new concept, the number of studies on this topic is quite limited. In this paper, we report the Six Sigma experiences of major service firms in the USA, including Bank of America, Circuit City, Citibank, EMC Corporation, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch. We also highlight the significant benefits and improvements realised by these firms as a result of Six Sigma projects. Overall, our paper provides compelling evidence that the expansion of the scope of the Six Sigma methodology from the manufacturing to the service sector has been quite successful. We also provide managerial insights for service companies that plan to adopt Six Sigma as a quality improvement methodology.

Keywords: six sigma implementation; service industry; quality improvement; project management; USA; United States; Bank of America; Circuit City; Citibank; EMC Corporation; Home Depot; JPMorgan Chase; Merrill Lynch; benefits; banks; banking; retail industry; retailing; retailers; consumer electronics; personal computers; entertainment software; information infrastructure systems; software industry; home improvements; financial services; financial management; services management; operations management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSOM.2010.035705

International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 2010 Vol.7 No.4, pp.401 - 418

Published online: 03 Oct 2010 *

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