Definition of 6 Sigma

6 Sigma is a well-defined, customer-focused problem-solving metric & management system that strives for the delivery of near-perfect products or services. 6 Sigma’s goals are to reduce defects and variation, so that processes are more consistent and predictable. Originated by Motorola in the 1980s, 6 Sigma translates into 99.9997 per cent quality or yield. Let’s understand 6 Sigma in services, for example, Dial tone of traditional landline phones was designed to be available 99.9997 per cent of the time. Like Lean, 6 Sigma places the customer first. It embraces data to make sound decisions. What has made 6 Sigma so popular is the money it has saved companies. No other methodology comes close to 6 Sigma for achieving financial savings.

The Greek letter Sigma (σ) is a statistical term that measures standard deviation or how far a given process deviates from perfection. The “6” comes from the goal of fitting six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest customer specification or target. To achieve 6 Sigma quality (99.9997%), a process must produce no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.

A “defect” is anything outside of customer specifications.

An “opportunity” is defined as the total number of steps in a process where a defect can occur.

The central idea behind 6 Sigma is that if you can measure how many defects you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how to eliminate them and get as close to zero defects as possible. This means we need to be nearly flawless in executing our key processes. 6 Sigma follows a proven, closed-loop framework for tackling problems or bring improvements in existing systems.

It consists of five phases known as D M A I C: Define-> Measure-> Analyse-> Improve-> and Control. One of the key tenants that makes this framework work is the methodical discipline of identifying the most significant causes of a problem before implementing solutions.

So, on to the Top 10 Reasons:

1. I’ve never heard of Lean 6 Sigma?

2. Lean 6 Sigma is a fad just like Total Quality Management, the Juran Quality Trilogy, Theory of Constraints, and Business Process Re-Engineer

3. We don’t have time for a Lean 6 Sigma program.

4. Our company can’t afford the costs of implementing a Lean 6 Sigma program

5. We’re too s L6S is for large companies.

6. We’re not a manufacturer.

7. Lean 6 Sigma involves a lot of statistics and advanced mathematics. Most of our employees are front-line operators — not an engineer

8. Lean is a better fit for our business, but I think 6 Sigma is too advanced for us.

9. We’ve tried Lean 6 Sigma years ago and did not achieve a good result

10. Fear of the unknown or failure.

While there are a lot of reasons not to consider Lean 6 Sigma, the question you should be asking yourself is: “Can we afford not to embrace Lean 6 Sigma in our business?”

SO, LET’S ADDRESS EACH OF THE REASONS ABOVE:

  1. I’ve never heard of Lean 6 Sigma: Yes, you are right as its valid reason. While growing in popularity, Lean 6 Sigma is still not part of the mainstream business that’s why we have started this mission to implement it in your business in a very simple way. Or better yet, Speak to our experts on 1300 6 SIGMA or Google us on safe and secure site: https://www.6sigmaconsulting1.com.au

2. Lean 6 Sigma is a fad just like Total Quality Management, Theory of Constraints, and Business Process ReEngineering. The origins of Lean 6 Sigma can be traced back to the turn of the nineteenth century with business and quality leaders like Henry Ford, Walter Shewhart of Western Electric, Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran, Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo. Over the past years, it has continued to grow, develop and transform businesses successfully. Lean 6 Sigma differs from other continuous improvement programs in three important ways: i. Its laser-like focus on the customer ii. the extensive use of data and analytics to make sound decisions; and iii. its Return-on-Investment (ROI) orientation — the language of Businesses.

3. We don’t have time to dedicate to a formal Lean 6 Sigma program. We’re too busy you are putting out fires.” When I hear this response, I recall the story of two lumberjacks cutting wood. “One of the men worked hard all day, seldom took a break, and took only 20 minutes for lunch the other man took several breaks a day, spent 45 minutes for lunch, and even took a 15-minute nap before going back to work. The 1st man became increasingly frustrated because, no matter how hard he worked, the 2nd man’s pile of chopped wood was always much bigger than his at the end of the day. “I don’t understand how you do it,” said the 1st man one day. “Every time I look around, you are sitting down, and yet you cut more wood than I do. Why is that?” With a smile, the 2nd man replied, “Did you also notice that while I was sitting down, I was sharpening my axe?” I would submit that time is an organization’s most valuable commodity. Waste it, and you are throwing away an irreplaceable resource. Time is not the enemy unless you try to kill it. An hour lost is never found. As Henry Ford once said, “Time waste differs from material waste because there can be no salvage.” You owe it to yourself and your business to invest some time in understanding how Lean 6 Sigma can help you.

4. Our business can’t afford the costs of implementing a Lean 6 Sigma program. The short response is that Lean 6 Sigma (L6S) Programs don’t necessarily require significant CAPEX. We are here to implement Lean & 6 Sigma Yellow belt program in just one day for AUD 500 per participant in your organization. This will develop a culture and mindset of Continuous improvement in your organization. We will empower you and your team with the mindset of Customer always First, Accountable always and meet and exceed expectation. Our Greenbelt programs are focussed on Inducing Lean & 6 Sigma Values in your day to day life. You don’t need to hire an expensive certified Black Belts from the outside. Just speak to us, and we will help you and conduct training in your team at a much lower cost than you have imagined. The point is L6S should be looked upon as an investment which should yield a return (ROI) of at least 5-10 times just in the small span of 6-9 Months for right projects.

5. We’re too small, Lean 6 Sigma is only for larger organizations. One of the most frequent comments I hear from small and medium-sized business owners is “We’ve hit the wall.” The “wall” means having cash flow tied up in inventory or receivables even though the company is profitable. It may mean the inability to scale or grow the business with the same resources. Sometimes the “wall” means chronic employee turnover or overtime. Other times, it means not providing the same level of quality and personal customer service when you started the business. Regardless of what “wall” you are hitting, these are signals that the processes that got you where you are today are insufficient to get you where you want to go tomorrow. You need to think differently with an open mind about how to operate and still make your business profitable. When I hear the excuse of “we’re too small,” I think about how we’ve applied Lean 6 Sigma in our own business, we are a small start-up! Are we undergoing a full Lean 6 Sigma transformational deployment? No. But we are consistently using key principles of L6S like the Voice-of-the-Customer to help translate our customer needs into our specific service offerings.

6. We’re not a manufacturer – Tell this to the Amazon, Uber, Telstra, Westpac, nab, TOLL, The Coca-Cola Company, Starbucks & TATA. While Lean Six Sigma may have originated in manufacturing, the principles apply equally to transaction and service environments. In fact, the service industry has more waste than in manufacturing primarily because so much of the work and deliverables in service are “invisible” – no tangible widgets. Keep in mind whenever you have a repeatable process (i.e., employee on-boarding, order processing, delivery, invoicing, or accounts payable), with volumes driving it, and you are collecting data about the process, you have all the ingredients to leverage the principles of Lean 6 Sigma.

7. Lean 6 Sigma involves a lot of statistics and advanced mathematics. Most of our employees are front-line operators — not engineers. My experience is that most organizations do not require statistics and advanced mathematics to enjoy the benefits of Lean 6 Sigma. In fact, most of the principles and tools can be quickly and easily used by anyone specially in small retail and service sectors. Some of the most powerful tools include being able to identify waste through a new set of eyes (Eight Wastes). Drawing a simple process map on a white board to identify gaps, redundancies or bottlenecks in a process. Or even asking “Why?” 5 times to get at the root cause of a small or big problem. 5S, VSM or TIMWOODS are some very basic tools and templates which can make a big difference in your day to day business. If we take the time to explain it to our staff /team what the customer needs, we can be certain they will bring great ideas on how to resolve these problems.

8. Lean is a better fit for our business. We’re going to start with Lean and then move into 6 Sigma. By following this logic, you are cheating your customers, your employees, your business and yourself. Lean and 6 Sigma are not mutually exclusive nor have to be applied in a linear fashion, but truth of the matter is they complement each other. Lean improves the speed and throughput of your business. It’s about simplifying the business, doing more with the less. Think “efficiency.” 6 Sigma improves the quality of products and services by reducing defects and variation. It’s about striving to do things right in 1st attempt. Think “effectiveness.” When you combine efficiency and effectiveness, you get dramatic results. We, at 6 Sigma Consulting are committed to making you effective and efficient.

9. We’ve tried Lean 6 Sigma years ago and did not achieve good result – Ask yourself :

→ Why didn’t we achieve success?

→ Was it related to people, processes or technology?

→ What was the catalyst for embarking on the program?

→ Was it driven internally or by some key customers?

→ Was the leadership committed to the program’s success? If so, then

→ How were they committed? How was “success” defined?

→ Were the goals and timetables realistic?

→ Was it solely about saving money or reducing headcount?

→ Was the organization mature enough for this type of program?

→ Did you provide context to your employees on why you were starting such a program?

→ Were the employees equipped with the appropriate training and tools?

→ How were projects selected?

→ How were projects managed?

→ Were the results tracked and shared?

→ Was there a recognition component to the program?

Regardless of the reasons, you owe it to your customers, your employees, your business, and yourself to try again. Maybe take more time on the front end to clearly articulate the vision. Define the problems with us effectively and efficiently with laser focus to resolve it with minimum time, effort and cost with a high ROI and clear and measurable outcome. We will execute Lean 6 Sigma in your team by engaging the front line and your customers to be part of the process.

Always Remember, a methodology like Lean 6 Sigma is only as good as the people managing it and the processes for how they are managing it.

10. Fear of the unknown or fear of failure. Of all the reasons listed, this one is probably the most legitimate the problem is very few people are willing to acknowledge it or share it with others. Certainly, pride is a factor. But when you think about it, fear of the unknown or failure can be paralyzing. It prevents us from learning a new skill, taking on a leadership role, or implementing a program like Lean 6 Sigma. Fear must be driven out of the organization to innovate and thrive.

Be assured, that with 6 Sigma Consulting team we will handle your People pillar in a very sophisticated way; we will execute it with serious due diligence to ensure right framework (Kotter/ PROSCI/ADKAR/PDCA for Change Management) will be adopted on company culture, objective and business vision.

CLOSING THOUGHTS: No one ever reaches a final stage of learning. It is a continuous process — a never-ending journey. Cesar Ritz was a Swiss hotelier and founder of the famous Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1898 and Ritz Hotel in London in 1906. Cesar Ritz was a perfectionist in every sense of the word, and it helped him achieve great success. But it came with a price. Ultimately Cesar Ritz was committed to an asylum. Today, Ritz- Carlton recognizes that leadership is about striving for excellence, not perfection. Similarly, lean 6 Sigma is about striving for excellence, not necessarily reaching 99.9997 percent accuracy. So, don’t procrastinate about deploying Lean + 6 Sigma in your business because if you don’t have all the pieces in place or have not been trained in all the tools then you can’t see the hidden waste and values. Speak to us on 1300 SIX SIGMA or 0455 6SIGMA and start your journey of continuous improvement with us.

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Puneet Thakur

Clarity to choose a right path towards your goal with a clear execution plan is the real power in today's disruptive world. Your knowledge, experience, qualifications are just potential power.

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