As early as 1999 the Cessna Aircraft Company was using Six Sigma as one of its business improvement tools.This early work laid the foundation for Textron Six Sigma, the corporate-wide initiative that would follow in 2002.
“Textron Six Sigma We have achieved substantial savings through our Black Belt and Green Belt programs since the initiative’s inception in February 2002. As we create a fully engaged Textron Six Sigma culture, we’ve trained nearly 700 Black Belts and more than 2,200 Green Belts, and have repatriated nearly 200 Black Belts into the Textron workforce. Our Black Belts have helped us implement our New Product & Service Introduction process under which all new products are being brought to market.
“We continue to master the elements of Textron Six Sigma and in 2005 will broaden the use of Lean tools to further accelerate our efforts. We expect to make significant progress as we work to rapidly drive out waste and reallocate resources toward growth opportunities.”
Notable quotes from the 2004 Annual Report:
“Textron Six Sigma is helping Textron Fastening Systems to improve critical aspects of our business. In the end, it is helping us help our customers. -Richard L. Clayton, President, Textron Fastening Systems
“Six Sigma and Lean are known to enhance business results. Textron’s approach takes the best of the best elements, providing a common, proven way to solve problems and unlock growth potential. A special ’04-’05 emphasis on the Lean component of Textron Six Sigma is quickly improving the things that matter most to our customers. Textron Six Sigma is fueling success by eliminating waste in our processes, resulting in improved productivity and enhanced customer focus.
“Textron Six Sigma Textron Fastening Systems makes thousands of products, found in everything from aircraft to automobiles to tiny electronic devices.In 2004, TFS cut lead times in half on nearly 100 of those products using Lean tools and methodologies within the enterprise-wide Textron Six Sigma initiative. Using tools designed to reduce waste in processes and improve delivery time, Lean helps uncover opportunities for improvement.
“As many Textron businesses are learning, even tiny adjustments can make a big difference. TFS reduced inventory and lead time and freed up capacity for future growth.The result? Leaner manufacturing and happier customers.”
“The certified, full-time leaders of Textron Six Sigma projects are called “Black Belts.” In less than a year, we trained over 225 Black Belts who completed more than 100 projects. Based on savings generated by these projects, we have already recovered our initial investment in deploying Textron Six Sigma. This was an industry-leading Six Sigma launch, by any measure.”
“The next step is Textron Six Sigma, a company-wide approach to improving our processes and delighting our customers through improved enterprise excellence. Textron’s unique Six Sigma model is a comprehensive, common set of tools and techniques rigorously applied to all operating and functional areas to eliminate waste, reduce variability, and accelerate growth and innovation. While the concept of Six Sigma is not new, our unique combination of best practices and powerful methodologies into a single, holistic approach makes Textron Six Sigma the most important improvement process at Textron. Early business unit efforts provide a strong foundation from which Textron Six Sigma will be vigorously deployed.”
Savings and Benefits
“The benefits of Textron Six Sigma are being realized in many ways. Case in point: Bell Helicopter is using a new online system to recoup $1.5 million annually in previously unclaimed warranty costs from suppliers. And, Jacobsen and Textron Financial created an integrated, automated shipping approval process for Jacobsen products, expediting shipping, financing and collections and saving more than $2 million in the first year.” 2003 Annual Report (PDF)
“The nine CIOs at Textron saved a total of $5 million in six months.” Targeting Perfection – CIO, December 1, 2003
“Overall, we performed slightly above our range of expectations for the quarter, in spite of weaker than expected demand in our Fastening Systems, E-Z-GO and Jacobsen end markets” said Lewis B. Campbell, Textron chairman, president and CEO. “Our extensive cost reduction initiatives, including restructuring, Textron Six Sigma and supply chain management, contributed significantly to our performance.”8K – Sept 27, 2003
Articles and Links
Textron Six Sigma – Official Textron Six Sigma website
Textron Names New Sr. VP of Six Sigma, Supply Chain and Transformation – Supply and Demand Chain Executive, August 12, 2004
Interview with Interview with Brian Melka, Six Sigma Black Belt, Textron, Inc. – staffing.org, July 21, 2004
Putting Textron Six Sigma to Work(PDF) – Textron Financial Times Newsletter, Winter 2003
PMI Wichita Chapter – Very brief overview of Cessna’s 1999 implementation of Six Sigma