How ZARA Revolutionized the Fashion Industry with Lean Practices

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ZARA changes its clothing designs every two weeks on average, offering upwards of 11,000 distinct garments every year. In comparison, competitors change their designs every three or four months and product 3-4,000 distinct pieces. This is fast fashion: the business model of replicating high-fashion, luxury-brand pieces quickly and cheaply, making them available to customers while […]

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Case Study: Fault Reduction in Cable Industry

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In the cable industry, faults (or defects) are often measured by technician visits to a customer’s home to address a problem experienced by that customer. Each such visit typically costs the company in the range of $120 to $150 – not counting the cost of the harm to their brand. Cable Industry Basics Especially problematic […]

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Queuing Theory and Practice: A Source of Competitive Advantage

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Everyone has experienced waiting in line, whether at a fast-food restaurant, on the phone for technical help, at the doctor’s office or in the drive-through lane of a bank. Sometimes, it is a pleasant experience, but many times it can be extremely frustrating for both the customer and the store manager. Given the intensity of […]

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Service is the Key to Success

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Why do people buy shoes from Nordstrom, when they can get a similar pair of similar quality for less money at other major department or clothing stores? Most stores carry a similarly large selection of shoes – large enough for most people to browse and make a selection. All stores have sales people, mirrors to […]

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Online Holiday Shopping at 2 Sigma

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Holiday season sales will be up 100% to about $10 billion, and customers expect 100% Web site availability, order status and online customer service. This year (2000) the price of admission to the online market is much steeper. Is your business operating at 6 sigma…or 2 sigma? Improve your customer experience by measuring it.

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To Save Cost, Set Product Warranties Based on Quality

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Imagine you are the quality manager for a consumer electronics manufacturer. At the previous staff meeting, the CEO asked the management team for ideas that could help the company become more competitive and increase profits. It is now one month later. During the staff meeting, members of the marketing department present some research that shows […]

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Six Sigma at The Home Depot

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What do Bob Nardelli, Larry Johnston, James McNerney, and Matthew Espe all have in common? Aside from all being former GE executives trained and tutored under the hand of Jack Welch, they each speak the Six Sigma dialect of business language and have introduced the corporations they lead to the methodology. In 2001 The Home […]

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Six Sigma at Amazon.com

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It’’s holiday time and Amazon is just about as busy as Santa. This year at Amazon.com you’ll see the Holiday Delight-O-Meter, which shows real-time data for the number of items ordered worldwide since November 21st. My calculations estimate about 2,000 items ordered per minute. Not much room for error. It’s good to know that instead […]

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Six Sigma at Target Corporation

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Target Corporation began a unique Six Sigma initiative and rightly named it “[email protected]” to identify it as their own. Six Sigma is helping Target achieve their mantra “design, innovation, and continuous improvement”a philosophy aimed at delighting guests. In addition to Six Sigma, Target trains employees in a wide array of skills under the continuous improvement […]

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Albertsons – Nearly 100 Black Belts Trained

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Albertsons released their First Quarter 2005 Results today. They continue to publicly announce their progress with their corporate-wide Six Sigma initiative: “The number of Six Sigma black belts rose to nearly 100 during the quarter. Currently, 178 projects are underway, providing the potential for significant process improvement and cost savings going forward.”

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Retail Industry – Six Sigma

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Fortune 500 Six Sigma companies in the Retail Industry: Albertsons Amazon.com Avnet Best Buy Big Lots Circuit City Stores Federated Department Stores Fisher Scientific International Home Depot IKON Office Solutions Ingram Micro Lowe’s May Department Stores Office Depot Radio Shack Sears Roebuck Target Wal-Mart Stores

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Albertsons Six Sigma Update

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Larry Johnson, CEO of Albertsons, spoke at the Lehman Brothers Retail Seminar on April 26, 2005. He gave a detailed update on the progress they have made with their Six Sigma deployment. The webcast is available from Albertsons Investor Information until May 17, 2005. The following quotes were transcribed: “All of these initiatives, along with […]

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IKON Office Solutions – Six Sigma

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IKON Office Solutions is quickly becoming a major voice for Six Sigma in the Business Services industry. Matt Espe came to IKON in August, 2002 and less than a year later his GE roots revealed themselves with a corporate Six Sigma initiative. An overview of IKON’s Six Sigma initiative is told best through their annual […]

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Circuit City – Six Sigma

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Overview Circuit City began their Six Sigma initiative early in 2001 as stated in their 2001 Annual Report: “Given the challenging retail climate, we will even more closely examine our operating practices. Specifically, we are undertaking initiatives to…apply the Six Sigma methodology to critical processes so that we measurably increase customer satisfaction while also reducing […]

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Albertsons Inc. – Six Sigma

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Larry Johnston, a seasoned General Electric executive, took over as CEO of Albertsons in April, 2001. Unlike his colleagues, James McNerney and Bob Nardelli, Johnston did not immediately sing Six Sigma in the key of G & E. He waited. Instead, he quickly got to work restructuring the company and three years later announced it […]

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May Department Stores – Six Sigma

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Overview May Department Stores has not released very much public information about their Six Sigma program. I have found job postings for positions at May and their brand stores that desire Black Belt certification, a “What is Six Sigma” presentation by the Divisional Controller for May Merchandising Company and the biography of a Six Sigma […]

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Federated Department Stores – Six Sigma

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Federated Department Stores announced their plans today to acquire May Department Stores. You can read all about it in the February 28, 2004 Press Release. Both companies are currently involved in Six Sigma initiatives. Although I don’t know much about May’s Six Sigma ways, Federated is very proud of what they have done, and they […]

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