iSixSigma

The Elements of Success When Starting Up Six Sigma

Thinking of starting a Six Sigma initiative this year or next year? For any adventure, the first few steps can set the mood for the rest of the journey. The same is true for a Six Sigma deployment, in which thoughtful planning can make the difference between respectable returns or a quality quagmire. This exclusive iSixSigma Magazine research study explored the ins and outs of starting up a Six Sigma initiative and sought to identify the elements that contribute to a program’s success during the first two years. Those companies that will begin an initiative next year will find in this study baseline data to consider in deployment planning, and those well into their Six Sigma initiative can compare their deployment to the findings here.

1,191 Number of total survey respondents
52 Percent of respondents who reported that their company invested less than $500,000 in Six Sigma the first two years
47 Percent of respondents who said between 1 and 10 projects were completed during the first two years of their company’s Six Sigma deployment
31 Percent of respondents who reported that employees internally promoted to Six Sigma roles were the ones to initially drive their company’s program
20 Percent of respondents who said the most challenging aspect of their Six Sigma deployment the first two years was selecting the right projects
58 Percent of respondents who reported that executive compensation at their company was not tied to reaching Six Sigma goals
61 Percent of respondents from companies with highly successful-rated Six Sigma programs who reported that executive compensation was tied to Six Sigma
42 Percent of respondents who reported that “tangible commitment from company executives” was the most important criterion of a successful Six Sigma program
1.3 Percent of respondents who reported that their company deployed Six Sigma enterprise wide and said the deployment was highly unsuccessful
17 Percent of respondents who said Six Sigma was brought to their organization by a former GE executive
39 Percent of respondents who said the initial motivation that led their organization to investigate Six Sigma was “as a way to improve the quality of existing products/services”

Critical findings of this exclusive benchmarking research include:

FINDING 1: You get what you pay for. A higher level of investment results in a higher return on investment.

FINDING 2: Money talks. Companies that tie executive compensation to reaching Six Sigma goals are more successful, and their senior management is more committed. Commitment delivers. The number one factor in a successful deployment is executive support.

FINDING 3: Companies that begin Six Sigma with an enterprise-wide deployment have a higher ROI than those that start with a pilot program.

FINDING 4: Selecting the right projects and getting them done prove challenging to companies starting up Six Sigma.

FINDING 5: Highly successful-related Six Sigma programs more often rely on finance analysts than project leaders to calculate project benefits in the first two years.

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