I think it's too rigid for the fluidity of today's business. For the time, it was lauded and rightly so, but I don't believe it has much sway in today's market other than in very highly regulated industries.
Six Sigma can be very helpful when working to drive efficiencies for your business. I think the real value comes, however, when it's not done as an isolated exercise but becomes a regular way of thinking in the approach of day to day work.
I have to respectfully disagree with most of the responses to your question. My firm's core service is Six Sigma consulting and while it's true some consulting firms make the application rigid for an experienced Six Sigma consultant it really shouldn't be. What Six Sigma needs is metrics and if you don't have that, Six Sigma can help create a process to obtain them. While it will necessitate some upfront investment it is not cost prohibitive. It also is not a methodology reserved solely for Fortune 500 companies. Six Sigma is a methodology and as such certain aspects can be applied for every situation. The key is that like all solutions one size does not fit all. Before you ask how essential it is, I would ask what do you want to achieve?
First, Mr. Shepherd, Thanks and salutations to you for what you are or have done for our nation. You must be transitioning through a difficult time trying to get back into the mainstream of the US economy. Wishing you the best.
When everything works, one is likely to assume that they don't need anything else. When nothing works, one feels that they would need anything to make it work.
A Lean Six Sigma (LSS) practitioner is likely to say LSS is oxygen, while a non-practitioner would tend to state, it is a hobby or non-essential.
With all humility, both of them are biased in their conclusions. One only raises risk by basing decisions that are biased. Get your facts and then make a decision.
There are several people who have done extremely well leveraging the principles of LSS and equally and probably several more who have shined in their fields without it.
So, I would focus on asking of the principles of success, rather than whether ISO, LSS, CMMI, SEO, etc etc are essentials?
Hope to make a difference in your life as you transition from your veteran experience. If you wish to discuss it further, please contact me offline.
Have a safe day!
I think as all the people who answered many people do not give much weight to Six Sigma. This is a fine attitude for your question is it worth it to you to employ individuals who are certified (adept does not fly), most of us will say no we dont want to pay extra for such a certification. However, as you will soon be a job seeker there may well be companies who will not consider you if you do not have it. For that reason if you can get the training paid for as part of your military service, I would do it in a heart beat (nobody will hold it against you).
Maybe you cant get it paid for but currently have the time; that is a bit tougher to answer. As you transition and need to get people to grasp that you were responsible for pieces of equipment worth millions and millions of dollars and they dont know what that means in civilian terms, designations like Six Sigma can help them because they know what it means (it fits a check box). I work with many people in transition and though I would like to say your experience matters, designations can really help.
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.
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.
For my coaching and sales and marketing business, not applicable.
Six Sigma is typically a Fortune 100 discipline. It is a fabulous process that requires serious and significant training to master as a 6 Sigma Black Belt.These individuals are usually well compensated for their talents. If you can afford them and are willing to adopt the 6 Sigma methodology it will certainly benefit the company. However, for smaller growing firms, I am not sure it is worth the investment.
Six-Sigma isn't "essential" at all. Period. In fact, while companies can benefit from improvements in quality of both processes and products, trying to improve everything simply because it CAN be improved is costly in terms of time, energy and money. In fact, it can be damaging to morale to work on improvement time after time and see little or no improvement to the company's bottom-line.
Six Sigma, if applied, should be applied in conjunction with an approach such as ToC (Theory of Constraints), which can help you and your management team discover WHAT needs to improve and set priorities based on the amount of improvement in THROUGHPUT (i.e., revenues less truly variable costs) compared to changes in OPERATING EXPENSES and INVESTMENT (if any) required to effect the proposed changes.
The last thing any company should want to do is spend time, energy and money on "Improvements" that do not have a relatively immediate impact on improved cash-flow and profitability.
Whether it is 6 Sigma or another approach to quality management, yes, it is worth it to hav someone who knows how to get your peoople involved. I don't know how large your group is, but there are many adaptations that truly get results.
For business's outside the fortune 1000 group it is not needed. Having all your business processes documented and reviewed is very important regardless of the size of the business.
Six Sigma is a nice buzz word, it can be used in part or as a complete entity and it’s all at your discretion. The principle is life changing and in most cases it only applies to manufacturing were in my opinion it’s essential because of the impact on your reputation and on the bottom line implicitly for the cost of Non-Quality. The Quality of your product is in the eye of your client, Halloween costume is an only time deal but most other products are not. What happens with your image if a kid chokes on your product and no action to prevent this was put in place? How much can you save in labor and materials if you improve the quality of you final product and you client accepts 2 times more units? Cost of non-quality also include, warranties, returns, lost clients, lawsuits, time spend fixing all this issues etc.
Its dependent on creating a culture of six sigma. Being able to measure everything across the board. Having one person is good, but having everyone at the office knowing what it is and living it is the difference maker.
It all depends. It can be used to create a strong culture of continuos service improvement which can help drive the company to new heights.
It can be used to make significant improvements on a particular service or project.
However, it can also be a complete diversion if its not done well, and cause more inefficiencies that it solves
Its all down to implementation
Hope this helps
Six sigma does not work for call centers! Just an updated version of system selling with a few more whistle and buzzers.
SME's in services - not that essential broadly speaking, although some aspects of it can be relevant however those components of it can be gotten from other simpler and more straight forward efficiency driving models. For larger manufacturing or service organizations then in my opinion much benefit to be gained and better ROI. Having said that if I was a LSS specialist I'd see ways of applying parts of it in any business.
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.
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.
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.