NEW YORK — Albertsons and its parent company, Minneapolis-based Supervalu, were able to drive hundreds of millions in savings using the Six Sigma quality control systems, Jim Gentile, former senior vice president of Six Sigma Quality at Supervalu, said in a presentation at the National Retail Federation's Big Show here Monday.
He was speaking on behalf of New York-based SSA & Co. (formerly Six Sigma Academy), not Supervalu, he said.
Albertsons tackled 556 projects using the system after it was introduced in 2002 by Larry Johnston, and before Gentile retired in 2008, he said.
Johnston, the former Albertsons chief executive officer, brought the system with him from General Electric. The average savings using the system, which previously had been used primarily in manufacturing, were more than $500,000 per project, Gentile said.
Among the projects was an effort to improve bakery margins in Southern California. After weighing sample cakes over time from several different stores, the company determined that workers were making cakes much bigger than the company intended, and by rewriting the recipes and adding scales for bakers to use during the process, Albertsons saved 900,000 pounds of icing, worth more than $700,000 in savings.
Once the exact problem is discovered, managers can usually find solutions, Gentile said. "Experienced people know how to solve problems, the key is finding out exactly what the problem is," he said.
Read More of Today's Headlines