Six Sigma Politics

If Fort Wayne Indiana is the Six Sigma City, we just might see a Six Sigma County on the horizon…if Christopher C. Collins is elected as the Erie County Executive. He believes that good government can be achieved through good business. The Buffalo News reports:

Collins’ candidacy is built on his remarkable success in turning around several struggling companies. His clear goal is to graft the strategies that worked in those businesses onto Erie County’s often-dysfunctional government. Indeed, he specifically cites his desire to make Erie County the nation’s first “Six Sigma” county. Six Sigma is a business program of quality improvement and control.

I am all for the application of business improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma in government organizations. We are seeing a clear trend toward that now in government organization including the U.S. military.

Chris Collins has already had some negative feedback on his ambitions to become a “Six Sigma county.” Mike Miller, a Six Sigma Green Belt, shares his thoughts on what Six Sigma could mean to Erie County in his blog:

The whole Six Sigma analysis process is time consuming, resource oriented and costly. There are probably thousands of human-driven operational processes resulting from services provided by the county. To improve them all would take several lifetimes.

Quite the pessimist that Mr. Miller is. He is also stuck in the “Six Sigma only works for manufacturing” nonsense.

Proclaiming the desire to be a Six Sigma county as candidate Collins has done, only implied that he’ll start looking at processes from a business improvement perspective, using Six Sigma tools to do it. No one becomes Six Sigma overnight. GE has hundreds of thousands of human driven processes, and that didn’t keep Jack Welch from his Six Sigma objectives.

Comments 2

  1. Mike Miller

    Michael, I’m afraid you’re only running at about 3 Sigma with your assumptions on my blog post regarding Six Sigma in Erie County. ;)

    Nowhere in the post did I say that SS wouldn’t work in Erie County or that it doesn’t work outside of manufacturing. Please read all my comments below the post.

    I said: "A few weeks into the class, it became apparent to me that human-driven banking operational processes were so far different (”non-normal”) than manufacturing processes that I would only ever need to use about a quarter of the skills I was learning". That’s just the plain truth. Much of the "Analyze" phase is based upon experiments that are mainly designed for controlled environments and normal data. So, being in a non-normal data world, I will not use much of what I learned. Perhaps, 25% was pessimistic, I’ll give you that.

    SS *does* work! If you read my comments about the projects I’ve implemented, you’ll see that I am a believer. My post was meant to put a critical eye on Mr. Collins, not SS. It’s easy to use buzzwords to impress people and this campaign is all about the separation of "career politicians" and "businessmen". I didn’t want Mr. Collins to promise something he wouldn’t deliver.

    I hope I’ve set the story straight.

  2. Rob

    Is this not a case of becoming jaded by political rhetoric? Transactional Six Sigma to me simply boils down to: All work is a process, all processes have variability and all processes create data that explains variability. Analyse the data to make improvements and sustain these! :)

    Refer to this link for more information: Transactional Six Sigma

Leave a Reply