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Six Sigma Assignments On Challenges Encounter By Volvo


Task: Discuss the challenges of Lean Sigma application to support the shift towards greener operations and supply chain.


The six sigma assignment will discuss about Volvo which is an automobile manufacturing industry based on Sweden established in 1927 whose main activity is manufacturing, distribution moreover sales of buses and trucks and equipment of construction and it has become second biggest heavy duty trucks manufacturing company in the year 2016. The basic aim of the company is to make the values of the shareholders through better quality products and services. The company attempts to show its value of corporation that are quality, ecology and safety in the system of production. The vision of the company is to be valued like the most important supplier of commercial transportation solution. It has also incorporated secure and ecological care as a primary principle in every planning of their work. For increasing the products as well as their service quality, the company has applied ISO9000 standards. The brand name of Volvo is the well-known and reputed in the automobile manufacturing industry that has been constructed more than decades with their reputed products as well as services.

Thus this report will discuss about some challenges that the operations management deals with their supply chain management while implementing lean six sigma approach for supporting the greener transformation in their operations and supply chain. Hence question number 2 has been selected to create the report and is widely discussed below.

Operations management framework
It is a guideline to polices, aims, processes, standards and training. The structure builds up the path the manufacturing company like Volvo carry out their business moreover encourages a culture of their corporation and their identity (Fredendall & Hill, 2016). Volvo also follows a certain operational framework that comprises of good governance principles and set off the values of the company and their divisions in their firm. Every framework of operations contains diverse components and hierarchies and such framework is also followed by Volvo in their operations management with proper hierarchies along with their identified roles and purposes in the operations.

six sigma assignment

Figure shows different hierarchies in the operations management of Volvo in six sigma assignment
(Source-"Organization | Volvo Group", 2019)

There several operations are arranged in such a way that delivers the utmost potential aim on their customers as well as their requirements and also to feat and harness its Group’s extensive or influential moreover collective assets in the superior and potential way.

Operations: Now coming to their operations which mainly deal with the factories and dealers as well as suppliers and each component of their process is inspected to decrease climate and ecological effect (“Organization | Volvo Group”, 2019).

Production: The company is trying to reduce chemical utilisation, carbon emissions and energy consumption furthermore to decrease the waste and noise level in their manufacturing operations. Their factories along with buildings fulfil their strict in-house standards and their manufacturing operations are certified by ISO 14001(“Organization | Volvo Group”, 2019). The hierarchies observe every element of their procedure in order and build up the required transformation to lessen their effects. They intensely decrease the climatic effect from their manufacturing units. They have also lessened the emission of solvent from their cab paint shop in Umea, hence it is currently the lowest in their manufacturing industry.

Work for ecological betterment: Their plants in the region Ghent, Umea as well as Tuve at present are nearly emit O% CO2 (“Operations | Volvo Trucks”, 2019). However, they are still trying such process in their plants so that their manufacturing operations are free from emitting CO2.

Energy efficacy: The management of their operations unit use LED bulbs and raised control of temperature and implements more effective tools of hydraulic system. These are few methods that developed energy competence at their factories (“Organization | Volvo Group”, 2019). However, only switching to more effective energy-efficient bulbs like LED reduced consumption of electricity to halves in Ghent.

Eradicating lead time: They are also decreasing their lead time across their business process by boosting their production and by turning off machines when they do not need and thus it also pointedly decreases consumption of energy.

Transportation: Their goal is to decrease their emission of carbon by twenty percent by 2020. Thus they use well developed capacity, enhanced stuffs flow as well as management. This supported them lesser consumption of fuel and carbon emission. They have also threatened the companies of transportation performing for them to decrease the level of CO2 emission (Dubey, et al., 2017).

Company’s dealers: Their initial CO2 nonaligned dealership inaugurated in the place Verona in the year 2008 in Italy where they utilize solar energy and substitute energy, but not all dealers and workshops of the company are neutral and thus they are carry out their performance on it and in the interim every dealer fulfills their ecological necessities and certification of ISO 14001.

TQM: The company is always focused on their product quality, thus to provide excel and consistent quality products, the company is keeping their TQM unit in a vast range, thereby customer requirements are surpassed. In conjunction with premium quality goods, so safety is the other main concern of the company(Dubey, et al., 2017). Their purpose is to maintain product quality and its safety which can be visible in their statement of mission. Hence the company is applying continuous enhancements with the focus of giving total satisfaction to the customers which became their corporate culture.

Therefore from the above study of Volvo’s operations in six sigma assignment, it can be stated that it became possible as the manufacturing company follows Lean Six Sigma approach in their operations as well as in the supply chain management. It is also important to discuss about the significance of Lean Six Sigma approach in the manufacturing company so as to get a clear understanding about this integrated approach.

Lean production: It is a method to decrease waste in a system of production without forfeiting productivity. It aims to reduce waste from the process of manufacturing, raises the speed of production moreover it also increases the value of manufacturing. It is based on several particular principles like Kaizen (Sanders, Elangeswaran&Wulfsberg, 2016). The advantages of lean production are decreased lead timings, decreased costs of operation and enhanced quality of product. It also follows some principles in the manufacturing unit are: recognizing value from the perspective of the customer, mapping the value stream, creating a flow in the production process, establishing a pull system moreover it pursuing perfection with constant process development.

Six Sigma: It is a method of resolving problem and it is driven by data. This methodology focus on the procedural variations and stress is provided for customer satisfaction. The aim of this methodology is constant development in the production process with minimum defects (Gutierrez-Gutierrez, De Leeuw&Dubbers, 2016). Problem resolving this method is carried out by utilising the framework of DMAIC that is show below in this six sigma assignment.

six sigma assignment

Figure shows the roadmap of DMAIC
(Source-Gutierrez-Gutierrez, De Leeuw&Dubbers,2016)

Lean six sigma approach
It is based on fact and data for enhanced which gives more importance to prevent defect than the detection of defect. It motivates the satisfaction of customer and bottom line of the manufacturing like Volvo by decreasing variation, leading time and waste while encouraging the utilisation of work standardization and work flow and thus making a competitive benefit. It merges the plans if lean as well as Six Sigma (Gutierrez-Gutierrez, De Leeuw&Dubbers, 2016). Hence the Lean Six Sigma principles discussed in six sigma assignment assist to develop the efficacy and process quality.

The incorporated Lean Six Sigma approach of management is being utilised across the manufacturing unit and industries and hence Volvo has also used this integrated approach in their manufacturing process. It motivates to unique changes in the performances of organization and thus Volvo enjoys the competitive benefits over its competitors in the world. The methodology of LSS develops procedures and creates them proficient. The main route to achievement is from support of management, engagement of employee in the Lean Six Sigma approach and obligation to enhancing customer satisfaction. Therefore it is right to say that the Six Sigma is the variant of Lean as both are interconnected to one another and the company implement both in their operation and supply chain process of manufacturing in order to get better result.

Implementing Lean and Green Six Sigma strategies in Supply Chain
The operations of Lean Six Sigma increase competitive benefit to Volvo through applying balancing components of ecological performance. It stresses on redo eradication needs productive systems for decreasing cohort of unwanted by-products, so as to making an ecological advantage. Such practices can direct t ecological advantages, in reverse ecological practices usually direct to enhanced lean performances. In performance, the application of lean as well as green strategies of supply chain includes the company to pursue ISO-9000 standards of quality and the company tended to accept ISO-14000 ecological standards (RajuvadanPremkumar&VedapattiRanganathan, 2012).

Volvo has identified that aligning the practices of Green Lean across the management of supply chain influences the firm’s fiscal performance and get respects from their customers. Volvo has saved importantly to incorporating Green Lean practices. The arrangements of Green Lean supply claim massive amount of info sharing, quick performance enhancements with their suppliers and nominal costs of transaction. This kind of connection may give the inducement, thus the company considered that it is necessary to tie the Lean and eco-friendly practices of supply chain with their suppliers. It can be observable in this six sigma assignment that enhancements in the systems of its manufacturing unit can direct to undeviating and unforeseen advantages for ecological management, often in the method of waste lessening.

six sigma assignment

Figure shows Green Lean Supply Chain
(Source-RajuvadanPremkumar&VedapattiRanganathan, 2012)

While implementing such strategy of Green Lean Six Sigma in their supply chain operation, Volvo usually faced and or faces some barriers in their ways.

Barriers or challenges of Green Lean Supply chain in six sigma assignment

Barriers of Lean: For the manufacturing company, Volvo to modify and implement to Lean, more alterations and plans as well as efforts are required from its traditional practices and in order to execute so, the company deals with several risks (RajuvadanPremkumar&VedapattiRanganathan, 2012). The main common obstructions comprised economic issues, corporate culture as well as silos of function.

Economic issues discussed in six sigma assignment
Total ownership cost: A total perspective of cost is essential for applying lean creativities in their supply chain process as primary method alterations may be increasingly expensive in short duration or need wide-ranging direct investment.

Present situation of economy: Decreasing volume of order creates a heap of cargoes from their suppliers which further raised levels of inventory.

Trouble of their supplier: Volvo’s suppliers are commencing to ebb their business as a result imposing to select between the management of lean and risk (RajuvadanPremkumar&VedapattiRanganathan, 2012).

Corporate culture issues
Top level leadership: If there is deficiency in involvement and consideration from the top level leadership can create an obstruction for the company to move towards thinking about lean (Henao, Sarache& Gómez, 2018). Moreover if there is inactive listening power it is quite impossible for the company to consistent in their lean procedures as it is based on learning skill.

Mentality of the employees: If the workers are not familiar to speak out their viewpoints regarding necessary modifications in their procedures in order to make it more effective and hence it can be also one of the major issues to implement lean in their supply chain process.

Conflict to shift: Workers may create conflict to make changes in their conventional methods, if they are able to realize potential advantages of their lean programs then the company may face such barriers in enforcing lean strategy in their supply chain (Garza-Reyes, 2015).

Strategy and objectives: As there is no goal specific lean strategy and lean is based on functions where there is no metrics and measures, thus Volvo which is explored in six sigma assignment six sigma assignment often faces challenges in their supply chain system.

Barriers of Green supply chain

Obstruction to improved technology adoption: Obstruction to improved technology implementation is not making developments in equipment as well as in machinery to develop the products.

Deficiency of company’s encouragement: If there is deficient of company’s encouragement then employees are also not get any motivation to establish Green supply chain management.

Deficiency of Human Resources quality: If the company is unable to recruit and hire high qualified and expert employees, thus the company will face deficiency of qualified human resources who would be involve in their supply chain activities (RajuvadanPremkumar&VedapattiRanganathan, 2012).

Competition and ambiguity of market: Volvo experience lots of competition and ambiguity in their supply chain management because of international competitiveness along with differing requirements of the customers in the market.

Deficiency of Governmental support system: Often government fails to make industry concerning policies and regulations toward Green Supply Chain Management mentioned in this six sigma assignment and they often do not give specific advantages to those companies who are tend to apply Green Supply Chain Management(RajuvadanPremkumar&VedapattiRanganathan, 2012).Thus it is quite difficult for Volvo to implement this integrated strategy in their supply chain activities.

Deficiency of applying eco-friendly practices: Deficiency of unique and modern eco-friendly practices specifies not pursuing any attention over practices like harmful solid waste discarding, conservation of energy, reutilising and recycling of substances and many more (Leong, et al., 2019). Therefore it is important for the manufacturing company to construct sustainable practices.

Deficiency of senior management obligation: Deficiency of commitment from senior management signifies that senior management are less interest in sustainable practices and hence if the company face so then it is difficult for them to apply green practice in their supply chain.

Implications of cost: The huge investments requirement by eco-friendly methods for example eco-friendly design, sustainable production, eco-friendly labelling and packaging and many more, thus Volvo take this challenge and they believe that there is need to imply cost on such activities (Mor, Singh &Bhardwaj, 2016).

Supplier hesitancy to shift towards Green Supply Chain Management: If the suppliers shows hesitation to shift towards Green Supply Chain Management discussed in this six sigma assignment and does not contribute in the process of design and technology that may upsets the entire performance of the total supply chain.

Customers’ unawareness: If the customers are concerned about eco-friendly products then environment will face more threats from people in their unconsciousness and the company will still does not take any steps to shun the hazardous and unwanted products from their supply chain.

Barriers in implementing Six Sigma
Vashisht&Attri (2017) has successfully pointed out that the severe discouragement of the support by management, huge scope of project, very less amount of time for hands on experience with the project and extreme unbalanced situation between the project and the strategies and goals set by the organization are the catalyst used while implementing Six Sigma methodology. Vashisht&Attri (2017) further put forward a suggestion which mentions about the foundation of leadership skills and its strengths and also includes a manager’s role in it and its necessity for a successful implementation of six sigma methodology. Albliwi Antony & Lim (2015) sparked argument that there is nothing intrinsic in six sigma methodology which turns it into a better suited approach for big companies. They moreover suggested that the bigger obstacle of implementing Six Sigma in the manufacturing company like Volvo, to date has always been the path which huge Six Sigma trainers have created their offerings. Currently due to increasing sets of guide manual for deployment and materials to help train efficiently have become abundant moreover there have been some changes and modifications in the pricing.

Cherrafi, et al., (2016) depicted the fact that Six Sigma methodology is not strong when it comes to transformation of a real product as per Customer’s requirement and necessity.

Antony, Snee&Hoerl (2017) stated that due to lack of resources that are used physically like finance and resources consumed for professional purposes like lack of training and guidelines and guidance are the primary blockages in implementing Six Sigma concerning luxury vehicle companies in Sweden like Volvo engaged in manufacturing. Yadav & Desai (2016) engaged themselves in popping out difficulties and barriers in the implementation of Six Sigma in Volvo and then found out that less time frame for working on Six Sigma projects and lacking in the knowledge of Six Sigma methodology and finally unusable and bad data gathering are few of the issues that the organization faces which is involved with service oriented customers(Kasemsap, 2018). It was also understood that minor misunderstanding of the whole procedure and its sub parts and the difficulty in implementing and adapting and sustain Six Sigma improvements due to lack of resources creating difficulties in a fluent implementation of Six Sigma.

Less stress on customers’ voice, concentrates on short duration savings, more efforts on rapid fixation, choosing of very big projects or vast range projects are the ultimate hindrance for unsuccessful of Six Sigma approach. It has been stated that incorrect measurement of fiscal achievements also plays like an obstruction in the application of Six Sigma. It has also been claimed that deficiency in employee contribution and deficiency in funds of training performs against the application of Six Sigma approach (Kasemsap, 2018). It has been considered that the fabricated concept that this approach is very complicated to employ also plays as a role like an obstruction in its application. Moreover, the domineering of Six Sigma method in every kind of actions internationally far and wide is beseeched intensely. Throughout the past decade, this approach has attained a realistic development furthermore there has been considerable involvement created in the framework of Six Sigma to spread implementation from production to the context of services. The deficiency in the contribution of senior management and their assistance directs to unsuccessfulness in the application of Six Sigma strategy. Uncertain arrangement of Six Sigma approach is the key cause behind the unsuccessful of Six Sigma application in the manufacturing company.

Thus from the above discussion in six sigma assignment it is clear that in the fast shifting international market the utilisation of Green Lean Six Sigma is rising continuously. The outcomes form from Lean Six Sigma adoption relies vastly on the way in which this integrated approach is applied in the operations and supply chain of Volvo. Thus it is require for the company to recognise the obstructions hindering its correct application. The deficiency in support of senior management and lack of correct leadership acts like major obstructions to implementation of Green Lean Six Sigma strategy. Since Six Sigma is a statistical method hence the analysis and incorrect data presentation to such method also play as obstructions to its application. There are few technological and fiscal restraints linked with the implementation of Green and Lean Six Sigma. In this report an overall overview of the challenges affecting this integrated approach has been shown which can be used by Volvo and other company in order to enhance the way or method wherein this approach is applied.

Reference List
Albliwi, S. A., Antony, J., & Lim, S. A. H. (2015).A systematic review of Lean Six Sigma for the manufacturing industry. Business Process Management Journal21(3), 665-691.

Antony, J., Snee, R., &Hoerl, R. (2017). six sigma assignment Lean Six Sigma: yesterday, today and tomorrow. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management34(7), 1073-1093.

Cherrafi, A., Elfezazi, S., Chiarini, A., Mokhlis, A., &Benhida, K. (2016). The integration of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and sustainability: A literature review and future research directions for developing a specific model. Journal of Cleaner Production139, 828-846.

Dawood, L. M., & Abdullah, Z. H. (2017).Effect of Manufacturing Activities on Lean-Green Management Integration. In Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management, Rabat, Morocco, Accepted as the Best Research.

Dubey, R., Gunasekaran, A., Papadopoulos, T., Childe, S. J., Shibin, K. T., &Wamba, S. F. (2017). Sustainable supply chain management: framework and further research directions. Journal of Cleaner Production142, 1119-1130.

Fredendall, L. D., & Hill, E. (2016). Basics of supply chain management. CRC Press.

Garza-Reyes, J. A. (2015). Green lean and the need for Six Sigma. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma6(3), 226-248.

Gutierrez-Gutierrez, L., De Leeuw, S., &Dubbers, R. (2016). Logistics services and Lean Six Sigma implementation: a case study. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma7(3), 324-342.

Henao, R., Sarache, W., & Gómez, I. (2018). Lean manufacturing and sustainable performance: Trends and future challenges. Journal of cleaner production.

Kasemsap, K. (2018). Applying Lean Production and Six Sigma in global operations. In Operations and Service Management: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (pp. 582-612). IGI Global.

Leong, W. D., Lam, H. L., Ng, W. P. Q., Lim, C. H., Tan, C. P., &Ponnambalam, S. G. (2019). Lean and Green Manufacturing—a Review on its Applications and Impacts. six sigma assignment Process Integration and Optimization for Sustainability3(1), 5-23.

Mor, R. S., Singh, S., &Bhardwaj, A. (2016). Learning on lean production: A review of opinion and research within environmental constraints. Operations and Supply Chain Management: An International Journal9(1), 61-72.

Operations | Volvo Trucks. (2019). Retrieved 22 September 2019, from

Organization | Volvo Group. (2019). Retrieved 21 September 2019, from

RajuvadanPremkumar, H., &VedapattiRanganathan, H. (2012). Improving supply chain performance through lean and green: A study at Volvo group in India and Sweden.

Sanders, A., Elangeswaran, C., &Wulfsberg, J. P. (2016). Industry 4.0 implies lean manufacturing: Research activities in industry 4.0 function as enablers for lean manufacturing. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management (JIEM)9(3), 811-833.

Vashisht, S., &Attri, R. (2017). six sigma assignment Retrieved 22 September 2019, from

Yadav, G., & Desai, T. N. (2016). Lean Six Sigma: a categorized review of the literature. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma7(1), 2-24.

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