Lean Six Sigma and marketing: a missed opportunity

Lara Chaplin, Simon T.J. O'Rourke

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    25 Citations (Scopus)
    261 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the current use being made of the sustainability message within business improvement activity and project justification within individual businesses. Design/methodology/approach – This is a reflective paper that looks at an illustrative case study against the wider perspectives of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) implementation, market orientation and business improvement initiatives in general. Findings – The piece discusses the gains derived from the LSS projects and identifies gaps in potential benefits in particular the paper questions how well any potential marketing messages were exploited by the organisation. The findings critically evaluates the impact that marketing function involvement could have in helping to promote the wider productivity message and its contribution to the wider corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy for the organisation. The document also suggests how the company could leverage internally focused projects to adopt a companywide marketing orientation and use such leverage to support future LSS project selection and justification. Research limitations/implications – The observations are limited to a single case study, although tempered by the authors’ wider experience. Further empirical research is required to validate the observations and conclusions. Practical implications – The proposed approach to future improvement initiatives can help to increase the wider productivity message and assist organisations to exploit their internal projects in external communications and wider CSR strategy. Originality/value – The paper proposes an approach that can be used to widen organisational involvement in improvement initiatives allowing future project justification to be less internally cost focused, more holistic with a focus on customer voice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)665-674
    JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


    • Lean Six Sigma
    • Corporate social responsibility
    • Six Sigma
    • Lean
    • Market orientation
    • Customer voice
    • Improvement initiatives.


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