According to 3M’s CEO Inge Thulin, in comments made recently on an electrical products group conference call, the company — which has been using Lean Six Sigma for years now — is looking to focus even more on how Lean Six Sigma can help their manufacturing department. They will be looking at how to use it to improve both their facilities as well as their supply chain, Thulin stated.

As of 2012, according to a document from the company, 3M had trained 65,000 employees in Lean Six Sigma. 73,000 projects had been closed or were in-progress, as well as 720 customer projects. About $1 billion annually was being saved through Lean Six Sigma, the company stated.

In that document, 3M stated that Lean Six Sigma had been a “key enabler” of the company’s success. Additional resources were being planned at that time in order to further implement the principles in manufacturing and supply chain. Thulin stated in his remarks that the company is training even more black belts and that their investment in Lean Six Sigma training is close to $500 million. As of 2012, an estimated 2,500 of the company’s staff that was trained had obtained a black belt. This included employees in every geographic region.

The savings that the company recognizes through Lean Six Sigma will be used to fund additional technology development and new product launches, finance new plant start ups, and offset inflation and other increases, 3M stated in 2012.

3M is a large company and one of Lean Six Sigma’s most well known success stories. However, you don’t have to own a global company in order to have success through Lean Six Sigma. It benefits smaller companies, as well.

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