A Magnificent Journey to Excellence: Sixteen Years of Six Sigma at Cummins, Inc., 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A Magnificent Journey to Excellence

Sixteen Years of Six Sigma at Cummins, Inc., 1st Edition

By George K. Strodtbeck III, Mohan V. Tatikonda

Productivity Press

288 pages | 50 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367345730
pub: 2019-12-27
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This book presents a model of organization transformation success. The model framework comprises a series of S-Curves (maturity curves) of planning and execution activities phased over time. The model is illustrated through description and analysis of an actual, two-decade, highly successful, global enterprise transformation Six Sigma program at a Fortune 200 company -- Cummins, Inc. Lessons learned from the model and company case study are completely transferrable to other organizational culture, improvement, and innovation transformation settings.

This insightful book:

• Documents a first-hand account of a successful transformation. The authors completely explain what was accomplished and the lessons learned from a sixteen-year deployment of Six Sigma at Cummins.

• Acts as a benchmark for those organizations interested in pursuing primarily a continuous improvement transformation, and more generally, for other types of transformation efforts.

• Includes substantive interviews with 10 key leaders and others who made the transformation possible.

• Helps organizations shorten the overall transformation timelines. The documentation of a transformation provides you a model for how to think about organization transformation maturity over time and plan for it.

• Recognizes the work of thousands of people involved in transforming a global company. The interviews provide extraordinary perspectives, not only by executives who initiated and sustained the transformation program, but program participants who themselves grew as managers and leaders in their careers through the program.

Essentially, this book helps early-career managers and executives see the broader picture of enterprise transformation, especially over time. This helps them be better managers and executives, and importantly, helps them better plan for and hasten their upward career trajectories. Lastly, the book describes a view of possibilities. It describes a clear, sustained success, the steps taken to get there, and the measurement of progress. The result provides you with confidence that successful transformation is possible and worth the effort.

Table of Contents

List of Figures. Foreword – Change by Frank McDonald. About the Authors. Chapter 1: Introduction and Purpose. Chapter 2: Interview with Tim Solso - Cummins CEO (2000-2011). Chapter 3: Six Sigma Pre-History. Chapter 4: The Bottom Line: Results. Chapter 5: S-Curves and Kano – Maturity and Sustainability. Chapter 6: Interview with Frank McDonald – VP Quality (1999-2002). Chapter 7: S-Curve 1 – Preparation and Prelaunch Activity. Chapter 8: S-Curve 2 – Launch and First Projects. Chapter 9: Preparing for the Next S-Curve – Cross Curve Analysis: A Summary. Chapter 10: Interview with Joe Loughrey – Cummins President/COO (2005-2008). Chapter 11: Moving from First Training and Projects S-Curve to the Building a Foundation S-Curve. Chapter 12: Interview with Michelle Dunlap – MBB, Quality Champion. Chapter 13: Interview with Dana Vogt – BB, MBB, Quality Champion. Chapter 14: S-Curve 3 – Building a Foundation. Chapter 15: Moving from Building a Foundation to the Self-Supporting S-Curve. Chapter 16: Interview with Megan Henry – Black Belt, Master Black Belt, Six Sigma Leader. Chapter 17: S-Curve 4 – Self-Supporting. Chapter 18: Interview with Ginger Lirette – Black Belt. Chapter 19: Moving from Self-Supporting to the Business Integration S-Curve. Chapter 20: Interview with Tom Linebarger– Cummins CEO (since 2011). Chapter 21: S-Curve 5 – Business Integration. Chapter 22: Moving from Business Integration to Continued Growth and Expansion and Business System Improvement S-Curves. Chapter 23: S-Curve 6 – Continued Growth and Expansion. Chapter 24: Interview with Julie Liu – Black Belt, Quality Champion, Six Sigma Leader. Chapter 25: S-Curve 7 – Business System Improvement. Chapter 26: Interview with Holly Duarte - Black Belt. Chapter 27: The Effect of Maturity on Organizational Communication. Chapter 28: How to use S-Curves. Chapter 29: Important Considerations for a Healthy Long-Term Six Sigma Deployment. Chapter 30: Special Situations. Chapter 31: Conclusions. Chapter 32: Final Thoughts. Appendix. APP 1 Total Quality Assurance (TQA). APP 2 The Achieving Paper and New Standards of Excellence. APP 3 Total Quality Systems (TQS). APP 4 Cummins Production System (CPS)(Pages 466-470 The Engine That Could). APP 5 Common Approach to Continuous Improvement (CACI). APP 6 7-Step Problem Solving. APP 7 S-Program-Functional Excellence-Baldrige. APP 8 Flows and Functions and The Cummins Operating System (COS). APP 9 Summary Table of Pre-History Elements and Impacts on Six Sigma Deployment. APP 10 Example Projects by S-Curve. APP 11 Initial Cummins Six Sigma Future State. APP 12 Six Sigma Standards.

About the Authors

George Strodtbeck is currently a Vice President with SBTI, a leading consulting firm focused on the development and leadership of continuous improvement methodologies and change management systems.

George retired as the Executive Director of Quality at Cummins, Inc in May 2015. His change leadership responsibilities included:

  • World-wide implementation and continuous improvement of Six Sigma beginning July 1999. Six Sigma is a world-wide effort at Cummins. By January 2015 the company had trained 21,000+ belts, completed more than 45,000 projects, and eliminated more than $5.5B in costs.
  • The Cummins Business Operating System Leadership and Practice. The Business Operating System is focused on cross-functional integration and continuous improvement of the flows and processes of the company.

Also included in George’s portfolio of responsibilities were:

  • Measurement Excellence and Lab Operations
  • Global Product Safety
  • Quality Standards Integration (ISO/TS)
  • Quality Functional Excellence
  • New Product Development Processes
  • Supplier Quality Functional Excellence

George graduated from West Point in 1976. He then served in the Army at various sites around the world until 1986, earning a MS in International Relations in 1984.

Following his Army service, George joined Pepsi in 1986 serving as a Fleet Maintenance and Distribution Area Manager until 1992.

At Cummins from 1992-2015 as a member of Corporate Quality, George led several change initiatives including the operational leadership of the 1997 Baldrige application and site visit, a sixteen-year Six Sigma deployment, and the deployment of the Cummins Operating System.

As a consultant with SBTI since 2015, George has applied the lessons learned from his wide-ranging career helping several companies in their quest to develop continuous improvement cultures.

George has written a book titled Making Change in Complex Organizations published in Apr ’16 by the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

George is married with 4 children and lives in Indianapolis.

Mohan V. Tatikonda is Professor of Operations Management at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, executive of the Indiana Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute, and Life Sciences Research Fellow. He previously served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). He received a B.S. in electrical engineering, M.S. in systems engineering and M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He received his Ph.D. from the Boston University Questrom School of Management.

Mohan’s research addresses improvement, innovation and entrepreneurship in highly novel and complex technological settings, and has been published in Management Science, Journal of Operations Management, Production & Operations Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Industrial & Corporate Change and R&D Management. His research awards include Best Paper of the Year in the Journal of Operations Management and Best Dissertation from the Production and Operations Management Society. His teaching awards include the Eli Lilly Award for MBA Teaching Excellence (awarded by students to the top MBA faculty member) and the Schuyler F. Otteson Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence.

Mohan’s media commentary on international trade has appeared in New York Times, USA Today, Bloomberg, The Independent and Marketplace (NPR). He is an advisor to start-up firms and incubators, and has consulted for The World Bank, SAP, Pepsi, FedEx and Rolls Royce.


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Total Quality Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Manufacturing Industries
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Production & Operations Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture