Six Sigma

Six Sigma in Japan

By Ron Pereira Updated on January 13th, 2011

Here is a question I honestly don’t know the answer to.  Do companies in Japan use Six Sigma? 

When I say Six Sigma I am referring to someone following the standard DMAIC roadmap in attempts to reduce variation, defects, etc.  More advanced users may also be using Design for Six Sigma in which case they could be using the DMADV or IDOV roadmaps.

We all know many (not all) companies in Japan use variations of lean and TPS… but what about Six Sigma?  If you have any idea please chime in by clicking on the comments link below.  Thanks in advance.

  1. S.Z.

    September 9, 2007 - 9:01 pm

    I can’t be sure, but I don’t think so.

    I believe Six-Sigma is more of a western way of problem solving and the Japanese prefer to stay with the PDCA process coupled with a strong kaizen philosophy.

    Interested to hear from people in Japan or those who have actually been there.

  2. Pete Abilla

    September 10, 2007 - 3:27 am

    Yes — well, an American company with a location in Japan — has a very strong Six Sigma program and my close friend is running it.

  3. Ron Pereira

    September 10, 2007 - 12:23 pm

    Hi Pete – Does Amazon practice any lean as well? If so, what are the dynamics in Japan when you compare the two?

  4. Michael Marx

    September 10, 2007 - 12:41 pm

    I know of several companies in Japan who have had great success with Six Sigma: Sony, Shimano, and Toshiba. Other companies using Six Sigma include Canon, Hitachi, Japan Airlines, Matsushita Electric, Mitsubishi, Nippon Yusen, and Sumitomo.

    For a lengthy discussion on the subject (dating back to 2001) visit the iSixSigma Forum archives for the thread “Six Sigma at Japan”

  5. Ron Pereira

    September 10, 2007 - 7:59 pm

    Thanks for all the comments folks! I learned something new today.

  6. greenbelt01

    April 23, 2009 - 7:02 am


    Enterprise system, which Japan’s Taiichi Ohno used as a model for the Toyota production system , did not let him down during bad economic times. The reason was that Ford had a comprehensive lean manufacturing system that applied to every aspect of the business.

    Green Belt Six Sigma Training.

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