Six Sigma Logistics: The Case of Cessna
Originally, Six Sigma was designed for control of defects and was part of total quality management (TQM) (Gupta, 2003). Since its creation, however, it has gone well beyond what it was originally. It is much more of a methodology now, and used to address and handle the variations that are seen in processes. These variations can cause defects, and that makes them unacceptable deviations that stray too far from the mean. When the variations can be managed systematically, the defects will be largely eliminated from any product (Gupta, 2003; Whalen, 2002; Witt, 2002). Because of that, the Six Sigma objective is to provide performance, value, and reliability to every end user or customer on a level that is world-class. Through the years it has gotten much better at meeting that objective, and more companies have began adopting it. One such company is Cessna. The company makes airplanes and airplane parts, and its name is almost synonymous with small, personal aircraft.
The biggest worry for Cessna was its supply chain management, which it has now used TQM and Six Sigma to improve (Morgan, 2002). There are more than 20 different things that Cessna has done in order to make sure that its supply chain management continues to improve, and the vast majority of those things relate to either TQM principles or Six Sigma. These improvements include: stretching its goals, benchmarking, rationalization plans, full-time commodity teams, a