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N 1999, TIM SOLSO, SOON TO
become chairman and chief executive
officer of Cummins Inc., began devel-
oping his strategy designed to lead the
company into the 21st century. As
part of that effort, he visited PACCAR (a
customer), Eaton (a supplier), and
General Electric, a world-renowned
organization. He learned one thing from
each visit: Six Sigma was positively
transforming these companies and their
bottom-line performance.
Tim decided that Cummins would pur-
sue Six Sigma. This proved one of his
most critical executive decisions, as it ini-
tiated a decade of unparalleled change
and success (the accompanying chart,
“The Cummins Quality Journey,” helps
define impact).
10-YEAR IMPACT
Before Six Sigma, profits did not track
directly with increases in sales. Cummins
usually lost money or broke even in a
downturn. Our share in many of our mar-
kets was slipping. Product and service
quality were inconsistent.
After $3 billion-plus in savings,
17,000-plys projects, and 11,000-plus
people trained as belts, Cummins became
a completely different company.
However, numbers only tell part of the
story. After 10 years, Six Sigma takes on
many forms at Cummins. These include:
• DMAIC (Def ine-Measure-Analyze-
Improve-Control) – Process and product
continuous improvement Six Sigma
(reactive to problems that exist in cur-
rent processes, products and services);
• DFSS (Design for Six Sigma) – Processes
and tools used to deliver requirements
during the new product phase gate
process and to work on key new, unique
and/or difficult issues during design;
• TDFSS (Technology Development for
Six Sigma) – Processes and tools used
during the invention of new technolo-
gies needed for future requirements;
• ERM (Enterprise Risk Mitigation) – A
Six Sigma focus area that helps define
Cumin’s approach to addressing com-
pany wide risks;
• SFSS (Supplier Focused Six Sigma) –
As Cummins increasingly depends on
the quality of its supply base and the
management of supply chains, the com-
pany uses Six Sigma with suppliers to
help them improve their quality;
• CFSS (Customer Focused Six Sigma) –
Demonstrates Cummins’ commitment to
customers; Six Sigma improvement
processes, tools, training and project
leadership enhance both the quality of
customer business and results and the
relationship between our two companies;
• Community Six Sigma – Cummins
works with communities by using Six
Sigma to improve conditions, schools,
and other parts of the community.
In short, if there is a question for which we
By George Strodtbeck
SIX SIGMA HAS PROFOUNDLY
IMPACTED THE COLUMBUS, IND.-BASED
CUMMINS INC. BUT SUCCESSFUL
IMPLEMENTATION REQUIRED PATIENCE
AND ACTIVE COMPANY LEADERSHIP.
I
One Company’s
Journey
FEATURE • SIX SIGMA AT CUMMINS
22 INDUSTRY TODAY