what are the lessions learnt from 3M and six sigma case study with examples

what are the lessions learnt from 3M and six sigma case study with examples

Studying the experiences of 3M and Six Sigma can provide valuable lessons for businesses in various aspects of innovation, quality management, and organizational culture. Here are some lessons learned from each:

Lessons from 3M:

  1. Encourage a Culture of Innovation: 3M’s success is deeply rooted in its culture of innovation, where employees are encouraged to experiment, take risks, and pursue new ideas. One key lesson is the importance of fostering an environment that values creativity and rewards entrepreneurial spirit.Example: Post-it Notes, one of 3M’s most iconic products, originated from a failed attempt to create a super-strong adhesive. Instead of discarding the adhesive, 3M encouraged employees to find alternative uses, leading to the invention of Post-it Notes.
  2. Invest in Research and Development (R&D): 3M consistently invests in R&D to drive innovation and develop new products. This underscores the importance of allocating resources to research and development activities to stay ahead of the competition and meet evolving customer needs.Example: 3M’s research into various materials and technologies led to breakthroughs in diverse fields such as adhesives, abrasives, and films, resulting in numerous successful products across different industries.
  3. Promote Cross-functional Collaboration: Collaboration across different departments and disciplines can lead to synergies and facilitate the exchange of ideas. Encouraging teamwork and cross-functional collaboration can accelerate innovation and problem-solving.Example: 3M’s approach to innovation involves interdisciplinary teams working together to solve complex problems. This collaborative environment fosters creativity and allows for the development of innovative solutions.

Lessons from Six Sigma:

  1. Focus on Process Improvement: Six Sigma emphasizes the importance of identifying and eliminating defects or variations in processes to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance quality. A focus on continuous process improvement can drive organizational excellence.Example: Motorola’s adoption of Six Sigma resulted in significant improvements in product quality and manufacturing processes, leading to cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.
  2. Data-Driven Decision Making: Six Sigma relies on data and statistical analysis to identify root causes of problems and make informed decisions. This highlights the importance of collecting and analyzing relevant data to drive continuous improvement efforts.Example: General Electric (GE) utilized Six Sigma methodologies to analyze data from various sources, identify process inefficiencies, and implement targeted improvements, resulting in substantial cost savings and improved operational performance.
  3. Leadership Commitment and Engagement: Successful implementation of Six Sigma requires strong leadership commitment and active involvement at all levels of the organization. Leaders must champion the initiative, provide resources, and empower employees to drive change.Example: Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, played a pivotal role in championing Six Sigma and embedding it into the company’s culture. His leadership and commitment to continuous improvement were instrumental in GE’s success with Six Sigma.

In summary, the lessons learned from 3M and Six Sigma underscore the importance of fostering a culture of innovation, investing in R&D, promoting collaboration, focusing on process improvement, embracing data-driven decision-making, and demonstrating leadership commitment to drive organizational excellence and achieve sustainable growth.


About user

Milind patel is an experienced practitioner and thought leader in the field of Business Process Management (CI) and 0.4 lean application. He co-founded Pro lean academy, a consulting company focusing on performance improvements and appropriate digitalization application in manufacturing process