Federated Department Stores announced their plans today to acquire May Department Stores. You can read all about it in the February 28, 2004 Press Release. Both companies are currently involved in Six Sigma initiatives. Although I don’t know much about May’s Six Sigma ways, Federated is very proud of what they have done, and they love to talk about it.
Federated began their Six Sigma initiative in 2001 in the Federated Logistics & Operations (FLO) division. They used an outside consulting firm for their initial training, and now have a team of internal trainers. They follow the traditional deployment model where Black Belts lead projects full-time and Green Belts assist the Black Belts on a part-time basis.
“Every person in our division has been trained on Six Sigma; from our senior leaders to all of our hourly associates.” FLO Website
Although FLO has trained members of other Federated divisions, and even a few suppliers, Six Sigma has yet to make its way through the entire company. But the momentum is there. According to the FLO Website:
“…we were able to meet the goal of training every executive in FLO. We also trained approximately 50 executives from other Federated divisions and from some of our vendors and suppliers.”
As most Six Sigma companies do during their deployment, Federated too has made Six Sigma their own by adding their own flavor to the mix. They have what are called Fast Track projects that take 2-3 weeks to complete. In 2003 FLO also began to apply GE’s Change Acceleration Process (CAP) and they are currently using Process Management Teams (PMTs) to identify projects that can be leveraged across the business.
It will be interesting to see if FLO can leverage their processes across the great divide we call “culture” that awaits them in May. I suspect they will be so tied up in the merger that integrating their Six Sigma programs will have to wait for a season.
FLO Six Sigma – Description of the program
The Employee Perspective of the Six Sigma Methodology, iSixSigma.com