Six sigma training programmes to help SMEs improve


This chapter describes describes how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were able to improve key processes by using the six sigma approach during a training program organized by Industrial Statistics Research Unit (ISRU) and partly funded by the European Social Fund. Six sigma training can be of great benefit as it gives opportunities for any company to become more efficient and competitive. The cost of this training is often too much for SMEs however, leaving them at a severe disadvantage to their larger competitors. ISRU was able to address this problem directly by offering hugely discounted six sigma training to local SMEs. This chapter presents two case studies showing how statistical techniques can be applied to facilitate improvements in efficiency, reduction in waste and rejects, and the general improvement of processes and how this in turn can improve the competitiveness of an SME. The first case study describes how six sigma training gave a set of tools to improve efficiency of the packaging line of a bakery. The second case study shows how a local chemical company used modeling techniques to increase their profitability. The delegate was able to model their drying process with the tools learnt on the training course and through this predictive model, the company was able to produce an extra batch each week representing s profit for the company and so this had the potential to dramatically increase revenue and improve profitability by s pa. The need for assistance to SMEs is well documented and in regions where heavy industry has declined in recent years.

Intelligent Production Machines and Systems 2006; 2nd I*PROMS Virtual International Conference 3–14 July 2006:39-44