At Cummins Inc. @RISK Is Standard for Six Sigma

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In an era when takeovers and mergers are common, Cummins, Inc., the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of engines and related systems, has remained a strong, independent, global power leader committed to the development of not only its products but its people. According to Cummins’ Ernest Lifferth, Director Design for Six Sigma, the company’s Six Sigma program has a lot to do with this success, and @RISK has a lot to do with the success of their Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) program. Ernest heads up one branch of the corporation’s Six Sigma program, the Design for Six Sigma initiative, which is used in new product introduction. According to him, Design for Six Sigma has realized hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings for Cummins.

“Essentially what we are trying to do with the Six Sigma program is to cultivate an atmosphere of discipline in decision making that relies on data,” Ernest says. “It’s data driven.” And of course, that’s where @RISK has proven itself. One Green Belt candidate not only learned how to use the program in his decision analysis but eventually developed a methodology for managers of new product teams that incorporated @RISK to reduce error in forecasting. “We aren’t necessarily interested in turning our engineers into statisticians, but we are interested in enabling engineers to use statistics—and @RISK is a great tool for this.”

According to Palisade’s Vice President Randy Heffernan, Cummins has standardized its Six Sigma decision analysis training to use @RISK throughout the corporation, and more than 400 people in Cummins’s worldwide operations have been trained on @RISK. Because of the launch system of training—thirty or more students work through projects as Green Belts—that 400 figure will increase with every new launch. The longevity of both the Six Sigma program and the tools it introduces are built into the program. Referring back to the Cummins mission, Ernest says, “This is a structured, team-based method to achieve customer objectives of cost, quality, and delivery.” “And of course,” says Randy Heffernan, “Palisade is very proud to be part of that achievement.”