Lean and Six Sigma applications help the food industry improve and reduce waste around the world. We’ll learn from articles in Taiwan, India, and Malaysia and finish with a video of how milk powder is made.


Six Sigma Applied to the Food Industry to Reduce Quality Cost: Taiwan


In a paper titled “Applying Six Sigma to manufacturing processes in the food industry to reduce quality cost,” authors Hsiang-Chin Hung and Ming-Hsien Sung use the DMAIC approach to reduce process variation and the associated high defect rate in small custard bun production.

Tools used in the paper include:

  • Pareto Chart of Customer Complaints
  • Pareto Chart of Shrinkage by Bun Type
  • Project Selection Tree Diagram
  • Process Flow Diagram for Custard Bun
  • Fishbone Diagram of Shrinkage Defective
  • Attribute Agreement Analysis Plan
  • X-Y Matrix
  • Main Effects Plots for Shrinkage Factors
  • DOE Discussion in Improve Phase with Pareto Chart of Effects
  • Preliminary FMEA
  • Counteraction Plan for Shrinkage
  • Time Series of Shrinkage Rate After Actions Taken

At the beginning of the project, the baseline shrinkage defect rate was 0.45%. Over a six month period, after the improvement actions were put into place, the shrinkage defect rate fell below 0.141%

The authors conclude with a discussion of the critical success factors for Six Sigma projects, particularly in the food industry.

You can read their paper here.


Using Six Sigma to Reduce Food Packaging Process Variation: India


In an article titled “Curbing variations in packaging process through Six Sigma way in a large-scale food-processing industry,” authors Darshak A. Desai, Parth Kotadiya, Nikheel Makwana and Sonalinkumar Patel discuss the implementation of Six Sigma DMAIC phases to address variations in milk power pouch weight.

The project problem statement was “To reduce the variations in the weight of 1 kg milk powder pouch.”

The article includes:

  • CTQ Tree
  • Process Capability Analysis of Weight
  • Cause and Effect Diagram of Weight Variation
  • Root Cause Analysis and Multi-voting Results
  • Final List of Causes
  • Pareto Chart of Final Causes
  • Five-Why Analyses
  • Setting Improvement Targets

You can access the article here.

[Required Citation:  Desai, D.A., Kotadiya, P., Makwana, N. et al. Curbing variations in packaging process through Six Sigma way in a large-scale food-processing industry. J Ind Eng Int 11, 119–129 (2015).]


Critical Success Factors for Applying Lean Six Sigma in the Food Industry: Malaysia


In a paper titled “ 'Unfreezing' Lean Six Sigma in The Food Industry: An Exploratory Study of Readiness Factors” authors Nurul Najihah Azalanzazllay and Sarina Abdul Halim-Lim conduct surveys to assess the readiness and use of Lean Six Sigma in the Malaysian food industry.

The paper includes:

  • Profiles of Respondents by Position, Type of Company, and Years of Experience
  • Pareto Chart of Critical Success Factors of Lean Six Sigma in the Food Manufacturing Industry
  • Mind Map of Readiness Factors in the Food Industry

You can read the paper here.


How Milk Powder is Made


See how milk powder is made in a video from Tetra Pak.

You can watch the video here.



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