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Essential? Perhaps not, but having a Lean or Six Sigma mindset within your organization is crucial because regardless of how people describe or over complicate these methodologies, Lean and Six Sigma have their foundations in the "voice of the customer" (VOC), which should be the focal point of any business. A well run Lean or Six Sigma program always keeps the company focused on the root of the why the business exists, the customer, which is again why I'd argue having leaders within any company focused on the customer and any removing/reducing any wasteful (or non-value added) activities that are identified by the Lean and Six Sigma mindset crucial to its success. Whether they call this focus or technique as Lean or Six Sigma doesn't matter, but executing with that customer mindset does. Just my 2 cents - Thanks!
I recently was certified in Six Sigma. At first I thought it wasn't applicable to my industry. Once I started studying it I realized it has a lot to do with my industry. I have improved profits through the efficiency of my staff in studying wasted movement in production.
I do see how it may not be as effective in other businesses. As for the necessity of hiring someone that is certified, I dont believe it is important.
Depends upon your business, of course, and whether you want to succeed.
Six Sigma is a methodology and toolkit. Black Belts are charged with saving twice their salary. Who wouldn't want costs cut, processes streamlined, and waste reduced? Do you think managers are so great at doing these things? Most aren't trained beyond the 5 basics, and some are completely ineffective.
So Six Sigma was started to whip them into shape. Furthermore, it is enterprise wide. The key lies in its working with company consensus, the so-called buy-in. Everybody fears or hates change, but would appreciate success that keeps them employed, no? If you aren't a Six Sigma shop, you're on your way out.
I recently published an article titled " STOP ERP Projects until you are a 5-Sigma Company"in LinkedIn. I think, the said article might partly answer the question as to how essential is six sigma. Here is the link.
Your comments / views, please.
Six Sigma is not essential at if you don't know how to apply it. If you know how to apply it then it is great but then if you know how to apply Six Sigma then you already know how to do process improvement. Process improvement is not rocket science.
Six Sigma is not essential. Being able to engage in a systematic approach for problem identification, root cause analysis, and process improvement are essential. Six Sigma is just one of many approaches that can be used.
Six Sigma grew out of GE's project management processes and it's a useful tool for managing a project. It's lost some of its luster in recent years, though.
My answer is that you need a consistent project management approach and methodology. After that, choose the one you're comfortable with and that imposes the least additional time burden and provides the necessary results.
Six sigma is an essential (and powerful) tool for high quality service delivery.
The costs involved are justified over a period of time.
Hello Jeremy, thank you for asking this question. I think there are many companies considering Six Sigma and would like to know if it would help them as well. As an engineering management consultant I have seen many small to mid-size companies that have tried to implement Six Sigma and have failed in the overall attempt. When I asked management, they said Six Sigma didn’t work for them even though I recognized aspects of the training being used as part of everyday business -so there is some value for everyone. Here are a few personal observations and opinions that may help you decide what is right for your business:
Quantity of product: The core of Six Sigma is statistical process analysis. If you don’t make enough widgets you won’t get reliable statistical data. Companies producing tens to hundreds of items per month probably don’t have enough of a dedicated process flow to be worth the overall effort of a full program. This does not have to be a manufacturing process, statistical analyses work equally as well for analyzing any process.
Management buy-in: Six Sigma requires top-down acceptance and integration. If the president of the company is walking around asking “Why are all these people are spending time going through filing cabinets and throwing out paper instead of working?” –then the company culture is probably not ready to accept the changes required to make Six Sigma successful.
Team participation: Another aspect of company culture is the effectiveness of cross-functional teams. Coming from an engineering management background I often hear “Spending engineering time on a manufacturing issue is a distraction from product development.” (this same sentiment can be applied to any department). In order for Six Sigma to work you have to dedicate resources to resolve issues affecting the process. This must be recognized as providing value otherwise it will be seen as a distraction and the program will be considered a failure.
Common language and tools: One of the greatest assets I have seen small to mid-sized business gain from Six Sigma (and Lean) training is a common set of tools and language for analyzing problems. This improves communication throughout the company. When a production line worker can point to a chart on the wall and say “See, that pareto shows a high reject rate for stripped screws, if I had a driver with a torque setting that wouldn’t happen.” –then the accountant knows why he is buying a new tool and usually approves the purchase right away. I have seen the language and analysis tools persist, even if Six Sigma was abandoned.
Reason for change: When I asked managers why they wanted to implement Six Sigma, it was usually because they were stuck in the “That’s the way we have always done it!” mode, expecting that Six Sigma was a fixed set of rules you can follow to be more efficient instead of a methodology for operating the business. Now that Lean principals have been integrated with Six Sigma (Lean Sigma), it is difficult for a company without experience to know where to start.
If you are considering a Six Sigma program for your company, I would suggest the following:
-Before involving any outside resources, write down a specific set of goals that you plan to accomplish by implementing the program.
-Identify all of the resources (departments) necessary to achieve those goals and have the department heads review, modify and sign-off on providing the necessary resources and participating in training. This will take a lot longer than you expect…
-Once you have a corporate vision, find a certified trainer and start the discussion with your written goals in mind. A good trainer will be able to identify if you need (and are ready for) a Six Sigma program or if you really need a “Lean” program designed around your specific goals and processes . An experienced trainer can explain in detail what needs to be done to make that happen –and this will be a reality check for your corporate vision.
-Your corporate vision will then need to be updated with the detail provided from the trainer and will need to go through sign-off again. If you achieve this, you are probably ready to implement Six Sigma. If not, consider targeted training and reorganization for specific areas of the company rather than an overall corporate program. Once benefits are seen in specific areas, the concept gains acceptance and is often adopted in other areas as well.
Jeremy; "Essential"? That greatly depends on your business model. If you are GE, Toyota or Motorola, I'd say yes. If you are a manufacturing company, it is quite beneficial. It consists of robust measuring techniques that are powerful in minimizing variation in quality and performance. It does contain many best practices that can be embraced in most any business model, like root cause analysis modeling. I would strongly suggest that some kind of TQM (Total Quality Management) or ISO (International Organization for Standardization) system be in place. Something to drive what the Japanese call Kaisen (Continual Improvement). Something that can measure and quantify performance for growth opportunities. These programs usually require a "Champion", an associate that oversees all compliance and documentation. All of these are cultural foundations by which the company will be defined by. Many larger companies that engage with you as a vendor, may well require that one of these systems be in place. It implies greater focus on quality controls and accountability in performance.
Yes Jeremy Its very essential for the business Six Sigma , those who are specialized can point out the problems Define them in advance , makes the solutions before it becomes bigger & effects the work , work procedure too .So its very important .
If your customers asked for it, and if it is a pre-requisite for sales, then you might want to consider, otherwise, it is something nice to have...
From my experience I found aspects of six sigma, lean Production and other methods fantastic, if disseminated and hybridised, on their own I find them a little too regimental and don't allow for rapid changes to the process. I successfully used parts of many systems in my joinery factory as part of a continual improvement process.
Six sigma are set of techniques, but according to me or being a mathematician, it is not necessary learnt by heart, these type of techniques,..,mathematics build your brain with respect of thiker or bank of creative links i.e techniques
Thank you everyone. If you mistakenly thought I was questioning it for individual/self for job hunting, sorry. I was genuinely curious as I/ we are planning our processes from the ground floor, and having worked for years now under the AF's lean CI systems and processes in it's program management, I was simply looking for direction for my and my wife's vision. Excellent input everyone, again Thank You! God Bless.
Six Sigma is indispensable in industries operating under perfect competition. This is an approach for process optimisation. It has a lot of advantages. Nearly eliminating processes' faults (only 3.4 on 1 million) makes the production cheap, reduces the need for storage areas, the employment of costly multifunctional specialists for fixing ready products, totally eliminates quality control specialists, makes it easy to implement lean and these are just some of the benefits.
On the backside it is the cost of implementing the system. It requires 5 to 7 years to feel the first results from the implementation. You need to totally restructure your organisation and to implement a matrix structure (sometimes there are organisations where this is simply not possible). Change management is an uneasy subject with a high rate of failure. You need 1 to 1.5 % of your staff constantly assigned as Black Belts of Master Black Belts. Besides, all of this just not going to work, unless ALL of your clients (in case of B2B) and suppliers have adopted the SS. You can not work 6S with suppliers using 3S.
There is no point of using partial elements of SS like just some of the techniques, some certified individuals and so on. SS is a SYSTEM. You risk a costly failure if you don't apply it as such.
Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It was developed by Motorola in 1986, coinciding with the Japanese asset price bubble is the definition and unless someone is asking you to obtain this designation I would question its usefulness.
six sigma is a name of a data program. It sounds scary, don't worry about it..look it up if you want to get idea of what it is. This is a data program that you use to see where your money is going, what is the best way to increase your income your profit. some bigger businesses hire people to figure this for them.. The basic self employed or small business owner should know how to do a P & L Report.. Only you would know where and what type of money your using and needing.. If you feel you need to hire a sigma person to do this by all means go and ask. I feel you should know what your ROI is on your business no matter what it is.. i tell my clients do what is free first. A person
doing a business needs to know if this is a profitable move, we all need to know what works and what does not. Sometimes it is just a matter of trying it on small scale first. You do need graphs, to see where you are right and wrong. You can also get this help by joining a good mastermind group, for a membership. It is your business and you need to know it, cut processing too much steps. find the happy medium.. Know your ROI (rate of return) on a project you what to complete to get your business up and moving..Once again be true to yourself, If you do good business, keep in touch with clients, beaware of what is happening in your business, the road is open.
I get the feeling you are asking because you want to know if YOU should pursue a certification in six-sigma.
I have never hired a business process person on the basis of whether they know Six Sigma.
On the other hand, the skill is useful as a single tool in a broad toolkit of process improvement. If you are focusing your skills on process improvement for effectiveness and efficiency, it is a useful skill to have.
That said, there are a wide array of useful skills. Don't stop there. Learn Lean, Kanban, Agile, and other practices as well. I HAVE hired people on the basis of their understanding of Agile and Lean.
Hope that helps.