Applying Lean Six Sigma in the Wood Furniture Industry: A Case Study in a Small Company

Quality Management Journal vol. 24 issue 3 - July 2017

Abstract: [This abstract is based on the authors' abstract.] Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a methodology that integrates two strategies used for continuous improvement by organizations: lean manufacturing and Six Sigma. LSS helps to optimize processes by focusing on reducing waste and defects and improving quality. This paper presents a study on the implementation of LSS in a small furniture company. A company diagnosis was done to identify manufacturing process problems and opportunities for improvement. Also, a Six Sigma design, measure, analyze, improve, control (DMAIC) approach was used to quantify opportunities, show evidence for improvement, and show potential benefits to be gained. Results show that with the application of LSS there is potential for the firm to reduce defects by 25 percent, reduce waste by 13 percent, and increase sales productivity by approximately 14 percent in the first year. These findings suggest that LSS strategy implementation could be useful for small wood furniture companies. The key challenges to applying LSS methodology in the case firm were associated with a poor quality management system, lack of formality, lack of procedures, and quality records. We propose a training program emphasizing theoretical knowledge for managers and employees as the first step to implementing LSS.

Keywords: Lean Six Sigma (LSS); Case study; DMAIC; Manufacturing; Improvement; Furniture industry

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