Skip to main content
Log in

A framework for the selection of Six Sigma projects in services: case studies of banking and health care services in Taiwan

  • Case Study
  • Published:
Service Business Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

This study develops a framework for effectively implementing service Six Sigma projects. The framework is composed of four phases: (1) initial project identification, which deploys candidate projects in accordance with a firm’s strategic goals, (2) project value assessment, which evaluates project’s value based on the financial return, cost, and its impact on employee behavior, (3) project complexity assessment, which examines scope, data availability, and risk associated with the project, and (4) project prioritization, which identifies Six Sigma projects and categorizes them into black belt and green belt categories. Two cases in banking and health care services are discussed to demonstrate the proposed framework.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Adachi W, Lodolce AE (2005) Use of failure mode and effects analysis in improving the safety of i.v. drug administration. Am J Health Syst Pharm 62(9):917–920

    Google Scholar 

  • Adams CW, Gupta P, Wilson CE (2003) Six Sigma deployment. Elsevier, Amsterdam

    Google Scholar 

  • Antony J (2004a) Six Sigma in the UK service organizations: results from a pilot survey. Manag Audit J 19(8):1006–1013

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Antony J (2004b) Some pros and cons of Six Sigma: an academic perspective. TQM Mag 16(4):303–306

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Antony J (2006) Six sigma for service processes. Bus Process Manag J 12(2):234–248

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Antony J, Antony FJ, Kumar M (2007) Six sigma in service organisations: benefits, challenges and difficulties, common myths, empirical observations and success factors. Int J Qual Reliab Manag 24(3):294–311

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baird K, Perera S, Meng TT (2008) Managers’ propensity to take risk in project selection decisions: the effect of payoff magnitude. Australasian Acc Bus Financ J 2(4):53–69

    Google Scholar 

  • Beaver R (2004) Six Sigma success in health care. Quality Digest, March 1–4. http://www.qualitydigest.com/past2004.shtml. Accessed February 2010

  • Benedetto AR (2003) Adapting manufacturing-based Six Sigma methodology to the service environment of a radiology film library. J Healthcare Manag 48(4):263–280

    Google Scholar 

  • Biolos J (2002) Six Sigma meets service economy. Harvard Manag Update 7:3–5

    Google Scholar 

  • Bisgaard S, Freiesleben J (2004) Six Sigma and the bottom line. Qual Prog 37(9):57–62

    Google Scholar 

  • Byrne G, Lubowe D, Blitz A (2007) Using a lean six sigma approach to drive innovation. Strat Lead 35(2):5–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chakrabarty A, Tan KC (2007) The current state of Six Sigma application in services. Manag Serv Qual 17(2):194–208

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chakrabarty A, Tan KC (2008) Case study analysis of Six Sigma in Singapore service organization. In: International conference on service systems and service management, pp 1–6

  • Cho I, Park H, Choi J (2011) The impact of diversity of innovation channels on innovation performance in service firms. Serv Bus 5:277–294

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Corn JB (2009) Six Sigma in health care. Radiol Technol 81:92–95

    Google Scholar 

  • Daniels H, Noordhuis H (2005) Project selection based on intellectual capital scorecards. Intell Syst Acc Finance Manag 13(1):27–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Deming WE (1986) Out of the crisis. MIT Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Does R, Heuvel E, Mast J, Bisgaard S (2002) Comparing nonmanufacturing with traditional applications of Six Sigma. Qual Eng 15(1):177–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Drenckpohl D, Bowers L, Cooper H (2007) Use of the Six Sigma methodology to reduce incidence of breast milk administration errors in the NICU. J Neonatal Nurs 26(3):161–166

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eckes G (2003) Managing Six Sigma last (and work). Ivey Bus J November/December 1–5. http://www.iveybusinessjournal.com/archives/. Accessed February 2010

  • Enea M, Piazza T (2004) Project selection by constrained fuzzy AHP. Fuzzy Optim Decis Mak 3(1):39–62

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Feigenbaum AV (1983) Total quality control. McGraw Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Gels DA (2005) Hoshin planning for project selection. In: Proceedings of the ASQ world conference on quality & improvement, vol 59, pp 273–278

  • Geum Y, Lee S, Kang D, Park Y (2011) The customisation framework for roadmapping product-service integration. Serv Bus 5:213–236

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gijo EV, Rao TS (2005) Six Sigma implementation-hurdles and more hurdles. Total Qual Manag 16(6):721–725

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goh TN (2002) A strategic assessment of Six Sigma. Qual Reliab Eng Int 18:403–410

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goh TN, Xie M (2004) Improving on the Six Sigma paradigm. TQM Mag 16(4):235–240

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gowen CR III, Stock GN, Mcfadden KL (2008) Simultaneous implementation of Six Sigma and knowledge management in hospitals. Int J Prod Res 46(23):6781–6795

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grant D, Mergen AE (2009) Towards the use of Six Sigma in software development. Total Qual Manag Bus Excell 20(7):705–712

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gras JM, Philippe M (2007) Application of the Six Sigma concept in clinical laboratories: a review. Clin Chem Lab Med 45(6):789–796

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hayen RL (2008) Six Sigma information systems: a payroll application. Inform Syst 9(2):479–488

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckl D, Moormann J, Rosemann M (2010) Uptake and success factors of Six Sigma in the financial services industry. Bus Proc Manag J 16(3):436–472

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hensley RL, Dobie K (2005) Assessing readiness for Six Sigma in a service setting. Manag Serv Qual 15(1):82–101

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoerl R, Snee RD (2002) Statistical thinking: improving business performance. Duxbury Press, Pacific Grove

    Google Scholar 

  • Holtz R, Campbell P (2004) Six Sigma: its implementation in Ford’s facility management and maintenance functions. J Facil Manag 2(4):320–329

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ishikawa K (1985) What is total quality control? The Japanese way. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs

    Google Scholar 

  • Jenicke LO, Kumar A, Holmes MC (2008) A framework for applying Six Sigma improvement methodology in an academic environment. TQM J 20(5):453–462

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jenkins J (2006) Survivorship: finding a new balance. Semin Oncol Nurs 22(2):117–125

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jiantong Z, Wenchi L (2007) A study on implementing Six-Sigma in banking service. In: International conference on wireless communications, networking and mobile computing, pp 3251–3254

  • Johnstone PAS, Hendrickson JAW, Dernbach AJ, Secord AR, Parker JC, Favata MA, Puckett ML (2003) Ancillary services in the health care industry: is Six Sigma reasonable? Qual Manag Health Care 12(1):53–63

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jones MH (2004) Six Sigma: At a bank? ASQ Six Sigma Forum Mag 3(2):13–17

    Google Scholar 

  • Krupar J (2003) Yes, Six Sigma can work for financial institutions. ABA Banking J 95:93–94

    Google Scholar 

  • Kulak O, Kahraman C, Öztaysi B, Tanyas M (2005) Multi-attribute information technology project selection using fuzzy axiomatic design. J Enterp Inf Manag 18(3):275–288

    Google Scholar 

  • Kumar UD, Nowicki D, Ramirez-Marquez JR, Verma D (2007) On the optimal selection of process alternatives in a Six Sigma implementation. Int J Prod Econ 111:456–467

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kwak YH, Anbari FT (2006) Benefits, obstacles and future of Six Sigma approach. Technovation 26(5–6):708–715

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lanser EG (2000) Effective use of performance indicators. Healthcare Executive. September/October, 46–47

  • Larson EW, Gray CF (2011) Project management: the managerial process. McGraw Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Lefley F (2006) Can a project champion bias project selection and, if so, how can we avoid it? Manag Res News 29(4):174–183

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Matheson D, Matheson JE (1998) The smart organization: creating value through strategic R&D. Harvard Business School Press, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  • Nakhai B, Neves JS (2009) The challenges of Six Sigma in improving service quality. Int J Qual Reliab Manag 26(7):663–684

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nourse L, Hays P (2004) Fidelity wide processing wins team excellence award competition. J Qual Particip 27(2):42–48

    Google Scholar 

  • Operation Management Roundtable (2002) Six Sigma applications in non-production focused environments. Decision Support Memorandum

  • Printezis A, Gopalakrishnan M (2007) Current pulse: can a production system reduce medical errors in health care? Qual Manag Health Care 16(3):226–238

    Google Scholar 

  • Raisinghani MS (2005) Six Sigma: concepts, tools and applications. Ind Manag Data Syst 105(4):491–505

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rucker R (2000) Citibank increases customer loyalty with defect-free processes. J Qual Particip 23(Fall):32–36

    Google Scholar 

  • Saaty TL, Peniwati K (2008) Group decision making: drawing out and reconciling differences. RWS Publications, Pittsburgh

    Google Scholar 

  • Schroeder RG, Linderman K, Liedtke C, Choo AS (2008) Six Sigma: definition and underlying theory. J Oper Manag 26:536–554

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sehwail L, DeYong C (2003) Six Sigma in health care. Int J Health Care Qual Assur 16(6):1–5

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith K (2003) Six Sigma for the service sector. http://www.qualitydigest.com/past2003.shtml. Accessed February 2010

  • Snee RD (2002) Dealing with the Achilles’ heel of Six Sigma initiatives—project selection is key to success. Qual Prog 34(3):66–69

    Google Scholar 

  • Stewart R, Mohamed S (2002) IT/IS projects selection using multi-criteria utility theory. Logist Inform Manag 15(4):254–270

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Su CT, Chou CJ (2008) A systematic methodology for the creation of Six Sigma projects: a case study of semiconductor foundry. Expert Syst Appl 34:2693–2703

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taghaboni-Dutta F, Moreland K (2004) Using Six Sigma to improve loan portfolio performance. J Am Acad Bus 5(1/2):15–20

    Google Scholar 

  • Thomerson LD (2001) Journey for excellence: Kentucky’s Commonwealth Corporation adopts Six Sigma approach. Ann Qual Congr Proc 55:152–158

    Google Scholar 

  • Tjahjono B, Ball P, Vitanov VI, Scorzafave C, Nogueira J, Calleja J, Minguet M, Narasimha L, Rivas A, Srivastava A, Srivastava S, Yadav A (2010) Six Sigma: a literature review. Int J Lean Six Sigma 1(3):216–233

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Uprety I (2009) Six Sigma in banking services: a case study based approach. Int J Six Sigma Compet Advant 5(3):251–271

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Utecht KM, Jenicke LO (2009) Increasing calculation consistency and reducing calculation time using Six Sigma: a case study of salary determination in an institution of higher education. Int J Serv Stand 5(2):115–134

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wyper B, Harrison A (2000) Deployment of Six Sigma methodology in human resource function: a case study. Total Qual Manag 11(4–5):S720–S727

    Google Scholar 

  • Yang CC, Chen BS (2003) A MCDM approach for Six Sigma project selection. In: The 2003 conference of knowledge & value management, pp 275–282

  • Yang T, Hsieh CH (2009) Six-sigma project selection using national quality award criteria and Delphi fuzzy multiple decision-making method. Expert Syst Appl 36:7594–7603

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgment

The authors acknowledge and are grateful for the research assistance of Fang-Yi Lin in data analysis.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ying-Jiun Hsieh.

Appendix: measurement items: criteria (tools)

Appendix: measurement items: criteria (tools)

1.1 Project value assessment

1.1.1 Financial return (consensus method)

How much financial return including hard and soft savings will the project generate in million NT dollars?

1.1.2 Cost (consensus method)

What is the total incurred cost (e.g., direct cost, direct project overhead cost, general and administrative overhead cost, etc.) for the project in million NT dollars?

1.1.3 Employee behavior (AHP)

 

  1. (1)

    Which project is more influential to promoting employee behavior?

  2. (2)

    How strongly based on the 1–9 scale (i.e., 1: equally important; 9: extremely much more important)?

1.2 Project complexity assessment

1.2.1 Scope (AHP)

 

  1. (1)

    Which project has larger scope (e.g., objective, deliverables, etc.)?

  2. (2)

    How much larger based on the 1–9 scale (i.e., 1: equally large; 9: extremely larger)?

1.2.2 Data availability (AHP)

 

  1. (1)

    Which project has more data available?

  2. (2)

    How much more available based on the 1–9 scale (i.e., 1: equally available; 9: extremely more available)?

1.2.3 Risk (FMEA)

 

  1. (1)

    Rate the impact of the risk associated with the project based on the 5-point Likert-type scale (1: lowest; 5: highest).

  2. (2)

    Rate the occurrence of the risk based on the 5-point Likert-type scale (1: least likelihood; 5: highest likelihood).

  3. (3)

    Rate the detection of the risk based on the 5-point Likert-type scale (1: most likely to detect in advance; 5: least likely to detect in advance).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hsieh, YJ., Huang, LY. & Wang, CT. A framework for the selection of Six Sigma projects in services: case studies of banking and health care services in Taiwan. Serv Bus 6, 243–264 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11628-012-0134-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11628-012-0134-1

Keywords

Navigation