Six Sigma Won’t Work for Me

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 9: Six Sigma won’t work for my department because we really don’t have standard ’processes’ and every client, customer or situation is different.

Process thinking is a new way of viewing how products and services are actually produced. Sometimes, due to the type of product or service, people have difficulty visualizing that they actually have a process. Many times this is caused by process steps that are done in parallel or in no specific order so it’s difficult to visualize a process. But as you start looking more closely, there are steps and requirements. Sometimes asking a series of questions can help people visualize their processes and understand how Six Sigma can help. So, Here’s what I say (or rather ask). . .

What is your end product or what do you provide to the corporation? Who’s your customer? Does your product or service meet your customer requirements? How do you know? What are the critical aspects of providing an excellent product or service? What do you measure to better understand how well you are doing? How do these measures compare to benchmarks? What does it cost you to produce your service? What drives this cost? How many resources are involved? How long does it take? How does your product or service impact your organization’s bottom line? Will improving your product or service quality or delivery reduce cost or improve revenue. . .

These types of questions are aimed at helping organizations understand what they produce (product or service) in quantifiable terms and to better understand the drivers of service quality and cost. Drilling into how their product or service is produced (steps, inputs, etc.) helps define the actual process. Once a process and a possible ‘defect’ or improvement opportunity in the process is defined, a Black Belt can describe how the Six Sigma methodology can be applied to improve the outcome.”Taa Daa,” instant buy-in. OK maybe not, but at least an incremental learning activity that can position the organization to be willing to try it. If tried and successful, the probability of buy-in should go up.

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