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them go faster to reap the benefits more
quickly. We launched an Inventory War
Room that used Six Sigma projects to
reduce inventory value by $500 million in
four months. Many other efforts across
the company accelerated Six Sigma proj-
ects to help respond quickly to the eco-
nomic realities that confronted us. Then,
in mid-2009, we began a series of Six
Sigma projects focused on how we would
prepare and respond to the eventual
upturn to capture more markets, improve
our customer responses and grow even
faster than before the downturn.
There are no limits to how Six Sigma
can positively impact a company’s for-
tunes. But successful implementation
depends on the willingness of company
leadership to actively engage and stick
with it long enough to allow it to truly
take root and work its way into every
aspect of the company’s DNA. Ten years
and $3 billion-plus of savings later,
Cummins and its leadership remain com-
mitted to continuing the journey.
George Strodtbeck is Cummins’ executive director,
Corporate Quality and COS (Cummins Operating
System). He has been responsible for the worldwide
implementation of Six Sigma since Cummins began
its program in July 1999.
Six Sigma Impact at Cummins
A decade after implementation, Six Sigma has helped Cummins Inc. unleash its power.
Through 2009, the company has completed more than 18,000 projects, saved itself more
than $3 billion and saved its customers at least $750 million. Further, Six Sigma has sup-
plied the company answers to the most complex questions and helped it resolve diffi-
cult issues. For instance:
• An Enterprise Risk Six Sigma project completed in 2006 enabled Cummins to respond
quickly to the recent H1N1 flu issue.
• Six Sigma projects completed during design led to a world-class engine in the Dodge
Ram pickup.
• Six Sigma projects with suppliers reduced costs throughout the supply chain.
• Six Sigma projects at the heavy-duty engine plant doubled capacity with no increase
in capital or people.
• Six Sigma umbrella projects dramatically improved delivery from a key turbo plant.
• Client-focused Six Sigma fuel economy projects have saved customers millions of dollars.