A Six Sigma and DMAIC application for the reduction of defects in a rubber gloves manufacturing process

P. Jirasukprasert, J. A. Garza-Reyes, V. Kumar, Ming K. Lim

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    Purpose – In this era of globalisation, as competition intensifies, providing quality products and services has become a competitive advantage and a need to ensure survival. The Six Sigma's problem-solving methodology DMAIC has been one of the several techniques used by organisations to improve the quality of their products and services. This paper aims to demonstrate the empirical application of Six Sigma and DMAIC to reduce product defects within a rubber gloves manufacturing organisation. Design/methodology/approach – The paper follows the DMAIC methodology to systematically investigate the root cause of defects and provide a solution to reduce/eliminate them. In particular, the design of experiments, hypothesis testing and two-way analysis of variance techniques were combined to statistically determine whether two key process variables, oven's temperature and conveyor's speed, had an impact on the number of defects produced, as well as to define their optimum values needed to reduce/eliminate the defects. Findings – The analysis from employing Six Sigma and DMAIC indicated that the oven's temperature and conveyor's speed influenced the amount of defective gloves produced. After optimising these two process variables, a reduction of about 50 per cent in the “leaking” gloves defect was achieved, which helped the organisation studied to reduce its defects per million opportunities from 195,095 to 83,750 and thus improve its sigma level from 2.4 to 2.9. Practical implications – This paper can be used as a guiding reference for managers and engineers to undertake specific process improvement projects, in their organisations, similar to the one presented in this paper. Originality/value – This study presents an industrial case which demonstrates how the application of Six Sigma and DMAIC can help manufacturing organisations to achieve quality improvements in their processes and thus contribute to their search for process excellence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2-21
    JournalInternational Journal of Lean Six Sigma
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Six Sigma
    • DMAIC
    • Defects reduction
    • Manufacturing process
    • Rubber gloves


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