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Whitman School's online Six Sigma program saves Beech-Nut Nutrition $782,000

May 08, 2012

Edward L. Byrnes
(315) 443-3834

Beech-Nut Nutrition, an Upstate New York-based company that produces high-quality, nutritious infant and toddler food, learned and employed the online process improvement tool Six Sigma in collaboration with the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Six Sigma is a statistical tool that eliminates process variations in order to reduce costs and save companies money. Maclean Dunbar, a supply chain planner at Beech-Nut, went through SU’s online Six Sigma training this past fall and saved his company in excess of $782,000 while eliminating several rework issues within the Beech-Nut factory.

“The Six Sigma program has been a great success for Beech-Nut,” says Dunbar. “We decided to focus my Six Sigma project on engineering improvements to the manufacturing system in order to help reduce rework. Our project objective was to decrease the rework per day from 3 percent (600,000 cases annually) of finished product to 1 percent (180,000 cases annually).” 

Within a few months of starting the program Dunbar was able to reduce the rework within the facility to 1 percent. The reduction in rework will save Beech-Nut more than $782,000 per year. “The tools we learned in the online Six Sigma class really helped us narrow down and determine statistically what the issues were within the process. Once we made the adjustments to the manufacturing system, we could determine if the improvements we made were working,” says Dunbar.

In addition to Beech-Nut, 42 other companies over the past six years have been through the online Six Sigma course and have saved a combined $8.12 million. Six Sigma is one of the most effective problem-solving methodologies for improving business performance. The Whitman School of Management’s online Six Sigma program has been designed for large and small organizations and the tool is applicable to any type of organization from government services to manufacturing.

“The Six Sigma program at SU is a ‘well kept’ secret,” says Patrick Penfield, assistant professor and director of supply chain executive management programs. “Year after year, the return on investment from this training is phenomenal.”

The next online Six Sigma class starts May 21.  To sign up for the class or for more information on the program  contact Penfield at 315-443-3428 or pcpenfie@syr.edu.

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