A Case Study of Barriers to Lean Six Sigma Adoption in China's Manufacturing Industry, from Entrepreneurial View Point

Hongming Cui, Purdue University


China is experiencing the largest economic transition in the world. In a context of globalization and intense competition, China’s large domestic market but weak technological capabilities of the manufacturing sector means the focus is still on quantity rather than quality. Thus, as the purpose of this study, it is necessary to take a Chinese entrepreneurs’ view point, to see the barriers to quality control management in the manufacturing sector, including Lean Six Sigma. The basic of the study was interviews with four chairpersons, and a follow-up survey that was administered to each participant. Interviewees are the leaders in different manufacturing fields, three companies include high-end petroleum equipment, agriculture irrigation equipment, and aircraft engines. One company is in sportswear and apparel manufacturing. This is a qualitative case study, where an observational approach was used to study the participants’ perception. The results show that, besides barriers such as costs and complexity of Lean Six Sigma adoption that have been identified in the previous studies. Additional barriers to limiting adoption of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) in China’s manufacturing sector are: employee turnover, customer satisfaction, varying quality standards among manufacturer, and the attitude that “lean is good enough”.




Laux, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Business administration|Management

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