Lean Six Sigma Methodologies and Organizational Profitability: A Review of Manufacturing SMEs in Nigeria


Manufacturing small-and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) are reluctant to the implementation Lean and Six sigma methodologies (LSS) all the over world. This is traced to the impeding factors which seem stronger than motivating factors coupled with lack of proper documented evidence of LSS’s successful implementation in many MSMEs. This paper investigated the influence of LSS on the profitability of MSMEs in Nigeria. The population of the study consists of 450 manufacturing SMEs with 2250 employees. The sample frame is made up of 225 MSMEs with 1026 staff selected at random upon which copies of structured questionnaire were administered. 1002 valid responses received were analyzed. Pearson product moment correction (PPMC) confirmed the formulated propositions with negative association between awareness, achievement CSFs and LSS implementation and the profitability level of MSMEs. The result obtained shows that LSS implementation among MSMEs in Nigeria is almost none existing and has no influence on the profit level. The study recommended that CEOs of MSMEs should undertake training on LSS to enable them to provide a strong leadership and support the initiative, LSS consultants should be engaged to help drive the quality improvement approach and MSMEs should focus on the impeding factors to reduce the effect on the LSS implementation and achieve continual quality improvement, customers’ satisfaction, increase sales volume at a minimized cost to attain targeted market share and profit level.

Share and Cite:

O. Enoch, "Lean Six Sigma Methodologies and Organizational Profitability: A Review of Manufacturing SMEs in Nigeria," American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, Vol. 3 No. 6, 2013, pp. 573-582. doi: 10.4236/ajibm.2013.36066.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] O. Akinsulire, “Financial Management,” 4th Edition, EL-Toda Venture Press, Lagos, 2010.
[2] I. M. Pandey and K. L. W. Parera, “Determinants of Effective Working Capital Management: A Discriminated Analysis Approach,” Research and Publication Department Indian Institute of Management, Iima Working Paper No. 1349, 1997.
[3] M. Kumar, “Six Sigma Implementation in UK Manufacturing SMEs: An Exploratory Research,” Ph.D. Thesis, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 2010.
[4] K. E. Okpala, “Venture Capital and the Emergence and Development of Entrepreneurship: A Focus on Employment Generation and Poverty Alleviation in Lagos State,” CS Canada, International Business and Management, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2012, pp. 134-141.
[5] K. E. Okpala, “Total Quality Management and SMPS Performance Effects in Nigeria: A Review of Six Sigma Methodology,” Asian Journal of Finance & Accounting. Vol. 4, No. 2, 2012, pp. 363-378.
[6] A. Ghobadian and D. N. Gallear, “Total Quality Management in SMEs,” Omega: International Journal of Management Science, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1996, pp. 83-106.
[7] S. M. Yusof and E. Aspinwall, “Critical Success Factors in Small and Medium Enterprises, Survey Results,” Total Quality Management, Vol. 11, No. 4-6, 2000, pp. S448-S462.
[8] J. Antony, M. Kumar and A. Labib, “Gearing Six Sigma into UK Manufacturing SMEs: Empirical Assessment of Critical Success Factors, Impediments, and Viewpoints of Six Sigma implementation in SMEs,” Journal of Operation, Research Society, Vol. 59, No. 4, 2008, pp. 482-493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602437
[9] J. North, R. Blackburn and J. Curran, “The Quality Business Quality Issues in the Smaller Firm,” Routledge, London, 1998.
[10] W. Timans, J. Antony, K. Ahaus and R. Van Solingen, “Implementation of Lean Six Sigma in Manufacturing SME Enterprises in the Nether Lands,” Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol. 63, 2012, pp. 339-353.
[11] R. D. Snee, “Lean Six Sigma—Getting Better All the Time,” International Journal of Lean SixSigma, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2010, pp. 9-29.
[12] M. Kumar and J. Antony, “Multiple Case Study Analysis of Quality Management Practice within UK Six Sigma and Non-Six Sigma Manufacturing Small-and Medium-Sized,” Journal of Engineering Manufacture, Vol. 223, No. 7, 2009, pp. 333-351.
[13] B. Wyper and A. Harrison, “Deployment of Six Sigma Methodology on Human Resources Function: A Case Study,” Total Quality Management, Vol. 11, No. 495, pp. 720-727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09544120050008129
[14] M. Kumar and J. Antony, “Comparing the Quality Management Practices in UK SMEs,” Industrial Management and Data Systems, Vol. 108, No. 9, 2008, pp. 1153-1166.
[15] J. P. Andreea, A. Sorin and D. Mihai, “Lean Six Sigma-A Challenge for Organizations Focused on Business Excellence,” The Romanian Economic Journal. Vol. 14, No. 41, 2011, pp. 147-158.
[16] M. K. Tiwari, J. Antony and D. C. Montgomery, “Editorial Note for the Special Issue on Effective Decision Support to Implement Lean and Six Sigma Methodologies in the Manufacturing and Service Sectors”, International Journal of Production Research, Vol. 46, No. 23, 2008, pp. 6563-6566.
[17] T. Ohno, “The Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production,” Portland, Productivity Press 1998.
[18] S. Shingo, “A Study of the Toyota Production System,” Productivity Press, New York, 1989.
[19] T. Lucey, “Quantitative Techniques,” 6th Edition,” Book Power, London, 2002
[20] K. M. Henderson and J. R. Evans, “Successful Implementation of Six Sigma,” Benchmarking General Electric Company,” Benchmarking, An International Journal, Vol. 7, No. 4, 2000, pp. 260-282.
[21] M. P. J. Pepper and T. A. Spedding, “The Evolution of Lean Six Sigma,” International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2010, pp. 138-155.
[22] J. Rockart, “Chief Executives Define Their Own Data Needs,” Harvard Business Review, Vol. 57, No. 2, 1979, pp. 238-241.
[23] M. Kumar, “Critical Success Factors and Hurdles to Six Sigma Implementation: The Case of a UK Manufacturing SME,” International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage, Vol. 3, No. 4, 2007, pp. 333-351.
[24] A. Thomas, R. Barton and C. Chuke-Okafor, “Applying Lean Six Sigma in a Small Engineering Company—A Model for Change,” Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2009, pp. 113-129.
[25] D. Van Goubergen, M. Dora, M. Kumar, A. Molnar and X. Gellynck, “Lean Application among European Food SMEs: Findings from Empirical Research,” Industrial Engineering Research Conference. IIE, Reno, 2011.
[26] J. Antony, M. Kumar and C. N. Madu, “Six Sigma in Small-and Medium-Sized UK Manufacturing Enterprises: Some Empirical Observations,” International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 22, No. 8, 2005, pp. 860-874.
[27] M. Kumar, K. K. Khurshid, K. D. Manoj, W. Timas, and J. Anton, “Lean/Six Sigma Implementation in SMEs: Key Findings from International Research,” 4th Joint World Conference on Production & Operations Management/ 19th International Annual European OMA Conference, Amsterdam, 1-5 July 2012.
[28] T. Sava, C. Rizea (Pirnea) and I. Flood, “Benefits of the Implementation and Certification for Environmental Management System SMEs in Romania,” Quality—Access to Success Journal, Vol. 2, 2010, pp. 248-254.
[29] Z. Qun, Z. Xiaoning and H. Mahmood, “Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review,” Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business. Vol. 3, No. 10, 2012, pp. 599-605.
[30] M. G. Aboelmaged, “Six Sigma Quality: A Structured Review and Implications for Future Research”, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2010, pp. 269-318.
[31] M. Saunders, P. Lewis and A. Thornhill, “Research Methods for Business Students,” 5th Edition, Prentice Hall, Essex, 2010.
[32] F. J. Fowler, “Survey Research Methods,” 3rd Edition, London,” Sage Publication, New York, 2002.
[33] A. L. Comfrey and H. B. Lee, “A First Course in Factor Analysis,” Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, 1992.
[34] A. J. Thomas and D. Webb, “Quality Systems Implementation in Welsh Small-to Medium-Sized Enterprises: A Global Comparison and a Model for Change,” Journal of Engineering Manufacture, Vol. 217, No. 4, 2003, pp. 573-579. http://dx.doi.org/10.1243/095440503321628251
[35] P. Achanga, E. Shehab, R. Roy and G. Nelder, “Critical Success Factors for Lean Implementation within SMEs,” Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 17, No. 4, 2006, pp. 460-471.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.