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Applying Six Sigma in Office Procedures

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Applying Six Sigma in Office Procedures

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  • #36314

    Kinnersley
    Participant

    I am trying to implement a six sigma project in the oil production industry.  I have been given books about six sigma to read and apply the tools throughout each process in the company.  I have decided to begin with the office procedures, but have ran into problems with how to measure the processes.  If you have any advice to share with me, I would truly appreciate it.
    angela
     

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    #104509

    mjones
    Participant

    This is no different from any other improvment challenge.
    Start with a clear description of , “What’s the pain?” Clearly, specifically define your problem. Usually the metric for “How bad is the pain?” will be time, quality or cost for the problem you are trying to solve.
    Next, bound your problem. Where does it start/end? Then use the Process Map to describe the work process you intend to improve.
    Now, off to the application of the tools and the rest of the DMAIC process…
    Good luck.

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    #105526

    Jon Abbas
    Participant

    The simple ones can be number of days to get approvals of different things. Purchase of office related things, Number of visitors. Meeting time and as per shcedule etc can be used…
    But as I have no six sigma education…some others should help us here. Its an interesting topic…
    Jon Abbas
    [email protected]

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    #105531

    gagan
    Participant

    You should start with what can be called as Process Management system.
    1. Create a process map,
    2 List all inputs and outputs
    3. Perform voice of customer analysis (VOC)
    4. Identify measurable Ys & it’s data collection system
    5. You may select some of the key inputs and place a data collection system around them, this will help in case you have problems with the process.
    Hope it helps

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    #105537

    Luis
    Participant

    Be sure that management wants to have quality improvements in your organization, otherwise you are going to have problems. Statistics can tell you what is wrong, but only management can change a system

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    #105552

    Henrique
    Participant

    Angela,
    The main issue in this case is the organizational culture. You’ll need the sponsoring of top management for this kind of change. The six sigma, on administrative, is a new way of conducting business, a new business model, if you want.
    All the responses given here are totally correct. You’ll have to align the six sigma with strategies, focusing on the Y’s (main outcomes, normally Net Sales and Net Income) and have a long term plan for developing six sigma across the organization, with commitment of top management. Otherwise your initiative may be frustated.
    But at least in my experience, it’s easier if you start with the operacional level. Normally you already have well defined processes, with focused scopes, that will be easier to start to implement the methodology (DMAIC, etc) and show to the organization that works! On office level is much more harder to implement methodologies and changes at the beginning.
    Hope that helps. Good luck.
    Henrique

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    #105554

    KBailey
    Participant

    Angela,
    Two things: First, the metrics are much the same as in a manufacturing or other production environment: money, defects, first pass yield, defect rate, etc. Second, don’t forget to apply Lean.
    The hard part is often getting people to actually care about measuring these things. Office people often tend to think in terms of “I need to review/do it manually to make sure it’s right,” or “My work isn’t COPQ” (even if it’s 95% rework). You’ll need leadership support, and you’ll need good political skills to overcome the cultural challenges.
    You’ve got to think of it like a factory. Everything that is produced should have a customer. Everything that has to get fixed is a defect and rework. Everything that has to be reviewed, that’s COPQ. All the time that a document is sitting around in somebody’s inbox or on their desk has a cost associated with it. Every time someone has to take or make a call to a customer/vendor that isn’t for a new order, the process didn’t work (there are exceptions, but the tendency is not to classify callbacks as waste when they really should be.)
    So how do you measure? If there’s any paper floating around, you’ll need people to manually help measure. Follow the flow of documents, and manually capture a sampling. Anywhere you can, capture date/time and other info electonically. A good place to start is wherever you have the most people doing pretty much the same thing, and where lots of dollars flow through – perhaps in billing, receivables, collections, or payables. Again, go back to the basic metrics I mentioned earlier. You’ll have to figure out what is a defect and what is rework for your specific processes.

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    #105557

    Sitaram Iyengar
    Member

    For office procedures, I recommend you start off with Office 5S and Kaizen before using 6 Sigma. I have successfully used both at work and home office.
    1. Office Kaizen: Transforming Office Operations into a Strategic Competitive Advantageby William Lareau
    2. Visual 5S and Lean Office (Productivity Inc)
     

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    #105584

    Lou Ecjheandia
    Participant

    I have been looking in similar application areas and have been using “Lean Six Sigma for Service” by Michael L. George. I am finding it particularly useful.  Hope this was helpful.
    Regards,
    Lou Echeandia
     

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    #105588

    paul vragel
    Participant

    We always start by getting a clear understanding of processes across the organization – fully understand processes and interactions, based on information from the people who actually do the work. 
    This identifies immediate pain and often the solution to many of these issues.  Then you can look further at specific areas that need next-level improvement.
    This approach also builds in buy-in from managers and employees from the start (they see immediate benefits) and momentum for continuing the improvements.

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    #105608

    James Mahoney
    Participant

    You should start with a Master Black Belt or Black Belt to mentor you on the first project. Who is the champion to sweep obstacles out your path when intrnal politics stop you?  Where is the President of the company to lend creditability to the 6 Sigma process imrovement program.  You are setting yourself up for failure if you do not follow a few simple proven startup techniques for a 6 Sigma cultural change at your company.  I have never seem a successful 6 sigma program by reading some book and then try to do 6 sigma.  Your career path should include Green belt, Black belt and finally Master Black belt.  My company is only promoting Black Belt to management jobs.

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    #105622

    John Palka
    Participant

    I like Gagan’s process management approach.  In the early stages, try to identify the business processes that are most critical to your organization.  Likewise, look for the business processes where you have direct contact with an external customer or a customer that outside your department.  Usually, this type of analysis will reveal a select few critical processes that are causing most of the “hassles” that you must deal with on a day to day basis.  Focus on those critical few first.
    John

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    #105753

    Shrinivas Pote
    Member

    Angela,
    Try to find out what is Voice of Customer, the customer can be external or internal also (Eg: Office colleagues or Office Boys). Then define the Problem statement in quantifiable terms. Examples would be
    1. File processing time  2. Clearity of the content in the proposals documents(viz: Quotations, Bidding )  3. Paper waste reduction  4.Office working conditions( temp, humidity, lighting, water)  5.Punctuality of the staff…
    This can be arrived at by having a crossfunctional team brainstroming process. Have all the people associated with the official work and try to identify the problem areas from each of them. Then priorities them.
    Hope this will be of Help.
    Best of Luck
    Pote.
     

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    #105758

    V.K. Grover
    Member

    Process identification procedures should be used for applying six sigma in office procedures. First, all the procedures should be identified and data collected like the time taken on issuing enquiry for purchases, time taken for obtaining quotes, time taken for processing of order, mistakes made in processing, total time taken for procurement. This step should be followed for all process. After collection of data,pareto charts should be drawn to priortise the procedures that require immediate action. Based on the priority the project steps should be initiated.

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    #105817

    Birchall
    Participant

    First, you need a sponsor or champion from upper management.  This individual supports you and removes any obstacles (people, places and things) that obstruct the success of the project.    You also need a certified Black Belt to provide direction and scope. 
    If you don’t have a BB to lead the project, then my suggestion is keep it simple.  Focus on one process/project at a time.  What needs to be fixed?  Office procedures is an ambiguous project. 
    Define a problem.   Write the problem statement and let that be your guide.   Pull a team of folks together…the expert users of the process.  What is the measurable?  Time? Money?   Can you save money or reduce time?   Study and flow chart the way things are currently being done.  Analyze the number of steps.  Can you reduce the number of steps?  Analyze how it can be improved.  Test your theory, quantify the change and put a control plan or a new procedure in place and implement.
    Good luck!
     
     

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