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Buy in from the stakeholders of a SS project

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Buy in from the stakeholders of a SS project

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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  • #34036

    Brij
    Participant

    Hi,I am working on a project to reduce transport cost in my Organisation..it is in Improvement Selection phase..My problem is that before starting the project it was very clear that the cost is very high and there were some indicators telling Why?? but I still gathered data to substantiate the problem area which came out as presumed.Now  couple of stakeholders beleive that if you know what is wrong..fix it..without a SS project..But my argument to this is that till the time you don’t follow the structured approach and gather data around the problem area you would not be able to do a justification with the Improvement.To eradicate the problem you need to get down to the depth with data rather than just going by the gut feel. 

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    #93312

    PB
    Participant

    Hello Brij,
    Regarding the SS project, you can do either. If you are doing a SS project for certification, you may want to complete the DMAIC project through your steps. However, if you have a pretty good idea that you have found what needs to be fixed (and it will work) and you can fix it, you should. You can then jump to the control phase to ensure that the fix will work over time.  By the way, you already are in the Improvement phase as it is now. (From your post it is clear that your SS project followed your thinking all along so you must have a pretty good idea of what the  fix would/should be.)
    Recently we completed a project where during the analysis phase we found the root cause of the problem (which we were attacking using the DMAIC process) and we knew what would fix that problem so we fixed the problem and closed out the project and ensured that we solved that problem once and for all with specific steps in the Control plan we put together.
    Hope this helps.
    PB

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    #93313

    DaveG
    Participant

    “The truth is in the middle”.  I assume your stakeholders object to the perceived non-value-added aspects of the DMAIC process.  Find ways to avoid that inertia, yet convince them that the problem and solution deserve careful analysis.
    I once had a situation where my company sold components to OEMs for installation on a consumer product.  Our components cost no more than 1/100 as much as the OEM product, but component failure could scrap the end item.  The consumer would not be endangered but highly inconvenienced by the failure.  The root cause was that the design required a process that was inherently damaging to the product, but the damage could be completely reversed with the proper controls.  Our subcontractor specialized in low-cost work, which made them popular with our management, but the subcontractor had no “discipline” in their operation.  They also lacked any knowledge of the controls necessary to prevent this failure.
    This situation can’t be described by data alone, but by a highly subjective risk analysis.  Luckily I convinced my management to change subcontractors.  Although my choice of the new subcontractor was qualitative, not quantitative, it was also correct:  we never had another failure.
    There is always tension between the instinct to act and the instinct to gather more data.  This describes the difference between the “feel” of Lean and DMAIC.  Success comes by managing that tension – (1)  focus on the problem, the solution, and the organizational forces that affect and are affected by them, and (2) focus on DMAIC only as necessary for (1).
    Let me know if this advice helps, or not.

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    #93406

    Brij
    Participant

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the advice..this sure would help..especially the point ‘managing the tension and overcoming inertia’ coz that’s where I think I am getting stuck…will keep you posted on the progress..
    Thanks again,
    Brij

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    #93407

    Brij
    Participant

    Hi PB,Thanks for the advice…I am already certified..& this project is just for cost savings..so I got your point that the end objective shd be met and measures should be taken to see it sustain…even if it does not qualify as SS project…let me know if you think otherwise..Thanks again,Brij

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    #93457

    PB
    Participant

    Brij,
    Thanks. You understood correctly.
    PB

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    #93464

    Arend
    Participant

    Dear Brij,I also have a problem with management buy-in about quick improvements, but interestingly it is just the other way around. I am dealing with a product robustness problem of which the root cause(s) are not yet known. This work takes place in an environment with a very low working discipline. I am trying to get rid of some obvious errors in operator discipline (like throwing vulnerable components around!) that are clearly related with the subject. Apart from getting instantaneous improvements, this helps the actual root cause finding by getting rid of a lot of ‘noise’ and limit the number of possible causes. Much to my surprise and frustration, management says that since I haven’t found the root cause yet, they’re not going to support the easy improvements (even the parts mishandling!).So far for my own anecdote. Coming back to your issue: It looks like there is a tension between structural working and quick improvements, but I think there really isn’t. There is the concept of ‘low hanging fruit’ that can be picked quickly, and this improves the environment for the hard stuff. So my opinion about your problem is: do the obvious improvements quickly if possible. Of course, just should at least collect enough before- and after data to show the improvements you made. And if by then the target still isn’t met, start using the finer tools to tackle the hard parts. It will create more enthusiasm with your stakholders, too!

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    #93564

    DaveG
    Participant

    Arend,
    Your post is very insightful.  In my experience, replacing “bad habits” with good ones significantly raises an organization’s performance in measurable ways even if you haven’t specifically targetted problem areas.  Measuring performance solely on outcomes, and not current states, compromises improvement.  Your management’s focus on corrective, not preventive, action is extremely shortsighted.  What can you do to sway them?

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    #93571

    Arend
    Participant

    Hello Dave,
    This project is not taking place in my own working environment, but in an overseas factory in China where I am doing problem solving. There is progress in convincing the management members in question, by being polite and patient but sticking firmly on my standpoint. Also I use the persuasive powers of other managers who share my view. The thing is that in China you can never expect a manager to say that he has changed his mind, so for me it is good enough that I got a message that work is started to make the improvements.
    Cultural issues aren’t often recognized in Six Sigma but may take a very important role in your work. For instance, I experienced that in China there is a lot of resistance against fact-finding. The reason is that if a deviation is found in an area, the people responsible for that area feel they get blamed. And often in fact they do get blamed, and this is the worst thing that can happen in Chinese business culture. This is something to take into account very seriously when doing a Six Sigma project.
    On the other hand, the Korean people and culture are very, very homogeneous (I am a Dutchman working in Korea, and I’ve been on television here already three times just because I stand out). All wear the same clothes, drive the same cars of the same colors being white, black or grey. And 90% of the people share the same family names (Kim, Park or Lee). You’d be surprised how easy it is in Korea to minimize variation in a factory, given the natural allergy of Koreans against variation!
    Arend

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    #93572

    Hemanth
    Participant

    Hi Brij
    I can appreciate your concern, recently one of our green belts also faced a similar issue. The supplier (where the project was done) was not following the process sheets and controls and hence we recieved bad quality. The choice before us was to conduct investigation through data or immediately institutionalise process sheets and controls. We did the latter, because there was no point in delaying the issue, we knew what was needed and got improvements. But yes, the credibility or rather the contribution of a six sigma worker in such a situation diminishes. We all need to be very careful in selecting a right project, if we wish to avoid this situation. Well as for the problem at hand do what is being asked by stakeholders. This is what my MBB always tells, its ok to loose some battles to win the war.
    Hope this was helpful.
    Hemanth

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    #93975

    Samir Talwar
    Member

    Hi Brij, taking fix is part of the structure methodology ( as fix stops bleeding) but it is important that after taking a fix we ensure that a control plan is there for permanent actions. This (taking fix) will not only help in getting the buy-in of stakeholders but their involvement in working for permanenet solutions wherein one can use FMEA and other tools.
    Anyway fix is to immediately correct if any thing is going wrong. Also a great deal (upto 1 sigma, if you are below 90% performance yield) improvement can happen by using fix for  low hanging fruits.

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    #94015

    SSS
    Member

    Hi,
    The “go ahead, fix it” approach is the result of 1) the lack of understanding from senior leaders of root cause analysis and process control; and 2) the ability of the Black Belt and Master Black Belt to tailor the methodology (select & use the right statistical tools) to complete the project and apply the right change management/leadership approach.  
    Since your project is already in improve, my advise to you would be to explain to your leaders that without the control phase the savings are at risk of not been tracked and booked correctly over time. More importantly, the sustainability of the process or “the just fix it” solution is also at risk.
    FYI.Base on the results from a cultural assessment, some companies are doing Six Sigma without calling it Six Sigma. This is to insure success and avoid cultural barriers.   Good luck!

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