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Steve Crom

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Developing Change Leadership by Leveraging Experience

The ability to manage and lead organizational change is in itself a competitive advantage. While companies often have the resources to execute individual improvement projects, the limiting factor in many change efforts is having enough talent to replicate, sustain and expand change efforts once they have been successfully piloted. Companies can leverage existing investments in…

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Insights on Establishing Operational Excellence Program

A Conversation with… Gerald P. Belle, CEO of Merial, And Silke Birlenbach, Merial’s Vice President of Operational Excellence In a conservation with iSixSigma, Gerald (Jerry) P. Belle, the executive chairman of Merial, and Dr. Silke Birlenbach, vice president of Operational Excellence for Merial, offer their insights on establishing a program of organizational excellence. Merial is…

Adding Science to the Art of Sales Boosts Effectiveness

Every sales force has a few outstanding sales representatives, who always deliver on or above target. What is it, in their way of working (process), which makes them so outstanding? If we identify these processes and give them as tools to the rest of the organization, our belief is that we will increase sales force…

Is Your Company’s Leadership Ready for Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is not for the feint of heart. It takes courage to attack chronic problems no one has been able to solve. It takes true grit to define and collect the data needed for new insights. And, it takes staying power to see solutions become the new way of working. Is every company ready…

Leadership Sustains High Performance in Manufacturing

How does one sustain high levels of performance in manufacturing after the first successful waves of Lean Six Sigma projects? Research done on 75 manufacturers, predominantly European, sheds light on the balance between product/process and people leadership capabilities needed to sustain high levels of performance. Of High Performers and Lagging Performers High Performers: Sustaining high…

How Six Sigma Adds Value in an Existing Quality Culture

A Conversation with… Randall W. Powell, VP of Eastman Chemical Company In a conversation with iSixSigma, Dr. Randall W. Powell, vice president of Eastman Chemical Company, Europe/Middle East/Africa, offers his views on how Six Sigma adds value to an existing quality culture. Located at the company’s regional headquarters in The Netherlands, Dr. Powell has operations…

Business Leaders’ FAQ on Europe Six Sigma Deployment

Business leaders who are considering implementing a Lean Six Sigma program need answers to a wide variety of questions. Here are the answers to the questions that business leaders most frequently ask about European Lean Six Sigma deployments. How can I be sure that Lean Six Sigma won’t be perceived as “yet another program”? People…

Common Success Factors, Uncommon Success in Europe

Whether implementing Six Sigma in Munich or Manhattan, Paris or Prague, certain common factors are critical for success. Nonetheless, how one successfully applies these factors is culturally dependent. Universal Critical Success Factors Accepting the General Electric definition of Six Sigma as “completely satisfying customers’ needs profitably” means that Six Sigma requires a company-wide initiative to…

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Six Sigma Culture: Better Processes and Problem-Solving

CEOs of businesses launching Six Sigma initiatives often say they expect Six Sigma to help create a company culture of continuous improvement, as well as achieve important financial results. Having culture change as an explicit reason for doing Six Sigma is not only laudable, it shows savvy. Experience demonstrates that changing the way work is…

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Dispelling Several Myths About Leadership for Change

It is widely recognized that successfully implementing Six Sigma requires leading and managing change effectively. Today’s manager lives in the paradoxical world of having to simultaneously control day-to-day operations, while encouraging appropriate risk taking. Leading change, especially in successful businesses, is about aligning energy through a compelling vision of the future. The willingness to change…

Leadership and Lean Six Sigma Opens Door to Innovation

  “Invention is 2 percent inspiration, and 98 percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison How much productive and creative potential of its personnel does a business utilize today? An informal poll across a wide range of industries suggests it is less than 20 percent. Why? How people are led, managed and supervised is part of the…

Leveraging: Stealing with Pride from Your Own Company

The CEO of a $1 billion business with sales and marketing affiliates in Europe, the Middle East and Africa asked the question, “When one of my affiliated businesses makes improvements, how do I get the benefits across all my businesses without having to wait for people to reinvent the wheel?” His question stimulated those responsible…

Pace of Six Sigma Teams Differs Dramatically by Culture

Imagine that an organization has chartered four Six Sigma improvement teams – one each in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Each has been given the charter to reduce manufacturing cycle times. The four facilities are virtually identical, producing comparable products and packaging, with the same technology. However, even with an equal degree…

Managing for Continuous and Breakthrough Improvement

As a set of state-of-the-art tools for solving operations problems, Six Sigma can be used for both continuous and breakthrough improvement. What separates the two is the structure by which they are managed. When managers confuse the two types, the result is usually below-par performance. Even worse, such confusion could result in yet another dead-end…

Pharmaceuticals: Compliance Not a True Quality Practice

Here is a provocation: Quality practices in the pharmaceuticals industry today are what they were in other industries 15 to 20 years ago. It is time to catch up. The regulators recognize it. Pharmaceutical business leaders recognize it. Six Sigma is an opportunity for operations and quality professionals to modernize quality practices. Those who get…

Ways to Shorten the Trip Through the ‘Valley of Despair’

A predictable pattern in the life of a European Black Belt project pertains to the morale of the Black Belt as project leader. It highlights the importance of the sponsor’s role in the success of any breakthrough improvement effort. Knowing the emotional ups and downs a Black Belt will face during a typical project helps…

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