Benchmarking results consistently identify examples of Six Sigma success. Even so, getting “naysayers” on board is a continuous challenge. What do you tell them?

Nayism 13: We’ve been working Six Sigma projects for over four years. We’ve run out of project ideas.

If your organization is telling you this, then running out of projects is the least of your worries. Truly understanding your business and where the next step of improvement lies is key in maintaining a healthy backlog of project ideas as well as institutionalizing the concept of continuous improvement. So, here’s what I say . . .

Sometimes the diminishing list of potential projects stems from the lack of a systematic process for drilling down into a business segment to identify potential improvement areas. Brainstorming techniques may have identified all the ground fruit. Now it’s time to meticulously find and pick the next project using a more methodical approach. (More on that next year.)

The fact is that no matter how may projects you have completed, there is always room for more. Even if you’ve reached the point of ‘excellent operations,’ however you may define that, continuous improvement is needed to maintain this status. What was excellent today may soon be second-rate tomorrow without a constant focus on improvement. New technology, changing customer needs, and the competitive market will drive a constant need for improvement and therefore a constant need for Six Sigma projects.

Still feel like you’ve improved your existing processes to the max, then you are ready for process re-design (DFSS) because once you’re as good as you can get with what you’ve got, it’s time to reinvent yourself . . . again.

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