Six Sigma benefits more than just businesses

Cummins Inc. has a long-held belief that a company can never be healthier than the communities in which it operates. That’s apparent with the way it has willingly shared Six Sigma, a quality improvement tool.

Six Sigma is driven by data collection and analysis, and uses a five-step methodology — a road map, if you will — to analyze problems and determine solutions.

If that sounds technical and complicated, here’s an easier way to understand what Six Sigma can do:

•It has saved Cummins $5.5 billion since 1999.

•Six Sigma helped participation in the 21st Century Scholars program in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. jump from 50 to 60 percent of eligible students to 90 to 100 percent.

•The iGrad program was created

after the Six Sigma process was used to determine ways to increase local graduation rates.

•It’s helped Columbus Regional Health save or create new revenue of more than $33 million.

Cummins learned and began using the process in the late 1990s, and it quickly became vital to the company. In fact, Cummins leaders have credited Six Sigma with helping save the company in the early 2000s, when it was struggling with sales and profits.

The process returned money to the company’s bottom line, helping Cummins stabilize financially. Now Six Sigma is a way of life at the Fortune 500 company; about 6,000 projects are completed annually worldwide.

Cummins could have kept Six Sigma to itself after learning it, but instead gladly shared the knowledge with community partners such as Bartholomew Consolidated and Columbus Regional. Most importantly, the company has participated in joint Six Sigma projects with local organizations.

As a result, the community

has benefited.

It is another example of how Cummins practices the idea that successful businesses and communities must work hand in hand.