Consumer Driven Six Sigma at Ford

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Case Details:

Case Code : OPER041
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1998 - 2004
Organization : Ford Motor Company
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Automobile

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Six Sigma in Action

Though Six Sigma sounded a good concept with promising benefits, its actual implementation was much tougher than expected and required the total involvement and support of the top management. Ford implemented several Six Sigma projects successfully and reaped significant benefits. In one such project, when Ford found that some of its vehicles for export reached the destination with outside surface problems, the company decided to implement Six Sigma and followed the DMAIC cycle.


In the Define stage, Ford made efforts to identify the problem.

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The problem was the application of transit protection film on the vehicles in order to protect them from dust and scratches while in transit. The vehicles were shipped to the ports from Ford's manufacturing plants by trucks and rail and from the ports to foreign countries by ship...

The Implementation

Phase I of the implementation of Six Sigma concentrated on the issues relating to customer satisfaction which demanded significant attention during that time. Accordingly, 25 consumer issues were identified. Ford's initial Six Sigma efforts concentrated on addressing these issues in all its assembly plants. The first Six Sigma project was piloted in sales, power train operations and truck vehicle center at Ford. Subsequently, it was implemented across the company. Within the first one and a half years of the program, about 10,000 Ford employees had received Six Sigma training...

The Benefits

Ford reaped several benefits by implementing Six Sigma. After the first year of its launch, in fiscal 2000, Six Sigma contributed $52 mn in financial savings for Ford. The savings rose to $325 mn in the fiscal 2001 and $359 mn in fiscal 2002...


Exhibit I: The Concept of Six Sigma
Exhibit Ii: Implementation of DMAIC Cycle at Ford - An Example
Exhibit Iii: Tools Used in Define & Measure Phase of DMAIC

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