Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss results from the first empirical study on the status and the success factors of Six Sigma in the financial services sector. Design/methodology/approach – An empirical study using a comprehensive and tested survey instrument has been conducted in banks, insurance companies, and related service providers in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Great Britain. Findings – One quarter of financial services providers has identified the Six Sigma methodology as being suited for their continuous process improvement efforts. Pressures to reduce costs, the desire to exploit market opportunities, and dissatisfied customers are the main drivers. However, the uptake of Six Sigma is still in the early stages. Most companies apply the methodology in pilot projects only. Nevertheless, respondents estimate a cost‐benefit ratio of 1‐4.3. Dissatisfaction with Six Sigma projects is often caused by insufficient data quality and data quantity, lack of resources, and missing support from top management. Originality/value – Although Six Sigma has been successfully implemented in many industries, its application in the service sector is still in question. This paper presents for the first time results of a survey within the financial services industry with the aim to analyze the acceptance level of the Six Sigma methodology, the achieved results, and the factors that determine its successful implementation.
Business Process Management Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 8, 2010
Keywords: Process management; Service improvements; Six sigma; Financial services; Europe
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