Cummins, Eli Lilly unite to help minority-owned businesses

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Cummins Inc. and Eli Lilly and Co., two of Indiana’s largest corporations, are joining forces to help minority-owned businesses at the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration. The two companies are sponsoring a workshop on Six Sigma, the business problem-solving technique credited with saving corporations millions of dollars annually, as part of the Black Business Conference at the 38th annual event in Indianapolis.

“Companies that undertake this training will see increased opportunities not only as a supplier to Cummins but as a supplier to any number of other leading corporations,” says Gordon F. Fykes, director of diversity procurement for Columbus-based Cummins.

The workshop is set for Tuesday, July 15, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center, Room 201. The workshop will include an overview of Six Sigma from 2 to 4 p.m. followed by a panel discussion from 4 to 6 p.m. that will include minority and female business leaders who have used the technique successfully.

Six Sigma seeks to reduce waste and variability through a data-driven analysis that allows businesses to identify the crux of a problem free of distortions and distractions that might be obscuring a solution. Lilly and Cummins have been using the technique for several years, but it is not as widely used by small businesses.

“Six Sigma is not easy for any company to embrace regardless of size,” says George Strodtbeck, Cummins’ executive director of corporate quality and Cummins Operating System, and an expert on the business problem-solving technique. “It works for any organization willing to devote the appropriate energy necessary to make broad-based change.”

The 38th annual Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration runs from today, July 10, to Sunday, July 20.