Achieving operational excellence through the lens of Lean and Six Sigma during the Covid-19 pandemic

Muhammad, Noor, Upadhyay, Arvind, Kumar, Anil and Gilani, Hasan (2022) Achieving operational excellence through the lens of Lean and Six Sigma during the Covid-19 pandemic. International Journal of Logistics Management, 33 (3). pp. 818-835. ISSN 0957-4093


This article shows operational excellence achieved during the Covid-19 pandemic using the Lean, Six Sigma and Sustainability practices in Small Medium Enterprise (SME) manufacturing firms and its impact on the performance dimensions of efficiency, growth and profit for firms located in the industrial zones of Pakistan.

A quantitative methodology was used and data were collected from a sample of top-level managers from 28 SME manufacturing firms located in the five industrial zones in Pakistan. A total of 62 questionnaires were included in the study.

The findings show that awareness levels of Lean, Six Sigma and Sustainability are emerging and firms are trying to implement these concepts. However, the results show that while Lean and Six Sigma enhance firms’ performance in terms of efficiency, profit and growth, sustainability has no impact on these three performance dimensions.

This paper contributes to knowledge in the field by integrating Lean, Six Sigma and Sustainability with firms’ performance during the Covid-19 pandemic by assessing efficiency, growth and profit dimensions where otherwise no empirical research has been undertaken in the Pakistani context.

Research limitations/implications:
The quantitative data of a sample of 28 manufacturing firms inevitably present limitations on the generalizability of this work. Future research could employ greater quantitative data to explore the topic further. Only one particular country is studied so that future research could be carried out in other countries or regions.

Practical implications:
This study may have value for policymakers and other stakeholders who need to know more about how Lean, Six Sigma and Sustainability affect a firm’s performance in industrial zones in the context of a developing country.

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