Imagine a world in which we routinely do things Right First Time, Every Time. There would be no more rework as first time yield is 100% and no need to coach & mentor as green & black belts hit the ground running. Unfortunately it tends to be the case that in order to be Right First Time you need to Get It Wrong Lots of Times First. It’s just a people-thing, they learn from their mistakes.

But that’s where Six Sigma comes into play. Why bother getting improvements wrong when you can accurately define the key output as a function of the key inputs (DMAIC) or design new processes clearly linked to customer needs (DFSS)?

Now I have done numerous projects that require detailed technical analysis and lots of problem solving tools to get the root-cause. Extensive re-engineering follows with major IT changes. So it was nice to have a project that presented as essentially poor end-to-end process management. I have been looking forward to doing Kaizen for some time and must say it works.

The change in style is important in order to get the people involved and engaged in owning and delivering improvements to their own processes. It’s all about looking to embed the idea that they own the continual improvement of their process rather than having a project come and “Do It” to them. It’s all about getting them into the habit of wanting to improve rather than trying to get it Right First Time.

I guess it defines the difference between process improvement – highly targeted projects and continual improvement – people repeatedly improving their process?

About the Author