Evaluation of possible SIX SIGMA implementation including a DMAIC project: a case study at the Cage Factory, SKF Sverige AB

Six Sigma is an effort introduced by Motorola in 1987, concentrating on lowering variation and continuously improving processes (Barney, 2002).

This particular dissertation has been completed at the Cage Factory in Gothenburg, a smaller unit within SKF Sverige AB with 124 employees. The factory manufactures the cage component in the bearing, which help keep the rollers in place in the complete bearing.

The objective of this dissertation is to look into and make side by side comparisons between Six Sigma and the current method of working with improvements and the organization in the Cage Factory and also to give suggestions about what actions are essential to effectively apply Six Sigma.

To assist in the fulfillment of the objective a practical DMAIC (Define- Measure- Analyze-Improve-Control) project was conducted. The project is designed to lower customer complaints and downtime due to the turning activity in one of the production channels at the Cage Factory. In addition, several interviews with strategically selected individuals were carried out.

The writers debate that Six Sigma could possibly be implemented and integrated with the present improvement approach, Total Process Management, TPMG. Six Sigma may be used to attack the most complicated issues, while TPMG handles the many day-to-day issues.

At the moment the implementation strategy “Strategically selected individuals and projects” is the most applicable at the Cage Factory. The authors argue that Six Sigma will provide a structure (DMAIC) and training in tools, thereby ensuring that the tools are used at the right time and in the right way at the Cage Factory.

In the future, there has to be a strategy for generating possible Six Sigma projects at the Cage Factory. Also, it is important that a way for steering different problems to different problem solving activities is developed.

However, some issues need to be considered if Six Sigma should work efficiently at the Cage Factory. A training venture is needed to enable the introduction of different roles in the organization. Also, all training should be connected to practical experience. It is important that the Cage Factory receives resource support from SKF Sverige and/or the SKF Group. Further, a reliable measurement system must be implemented. The authors believe that improved scrap reporting and improved use of SPC are important actions that need to be taken.

Source: Lulea University of Technology

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