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Deployment Experienced People, Help me!

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Deployment Experienced People, Help me!

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  • #48239

    Airworthy Amy
    Participant

    I have recently been hired to lead a continous improvement program for a small company.  I have been trained as a Green Belt by a Fortune 20 company and Black Belt trained by a very large consulting firm.  However I am still young and I don’t have tons of experience.   If you have experience with deployment in a small company, please reply to this post and give me any advice you might have or any references.  I just feel scatterbrained as I try to execute on starting this up.
    THANK YOU!

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    #161815

    Ronald
    Participant

    I have three items as advice.  Each really depend on how far the company is along in its deployment.  I’ll assume that it is early or just beginning.
    The first thing I would recommend is to build a strong strategy for how continuous improvement will benefit the organization.  The leadership may have hired you to help drive continuous improvement but they will want to see how you plan on making this happen.  Include items like project selection processes, project execution, training, and process/change management.  Also, spell out timelines and resource needs.  Set the expectations up front.
    Secondly, either buy or develop strong project champion and process owner training and provide this before you even start with project ideas and picking resources.  I have found that you need to engage this level of the organization first.  They will be the ones to help fill the project hopper as well as sustain the gains.  Explain the DMAIC approach, the roles and responsibilities of project sponsors, belts, team members, etc.  Provide some insight to the tools but don’t get technical. 
    Finally, plan a strategic project selection workshop or value stream workshop shortly after doing the sponsor training.  Ensure that the organization is prepare to do a gap analysis on voice of the business (profitability and growth), voice of the customer (compliants, market analysis, key buying factors), voice of the process (process capabilities and performance), and voice of the employee (Safety, Satistifaction, etc).  Have the leadership present this in light of the organization’s strategy and then have them brainstorm and prioritize project ideas.  From there then start to look for resouces and schedule project execution.
    Hope that helps.

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    #161816

    Brandon
    Participant

    Lee’s suggestions are right on target as to the steps to follow; in my opinion. Much of the curriculum Lee suggests is available at opensourcesixsigma.com at very reasonable prices. I’ve used much of their stuff.
    First, you need to establish mngt’s commitment – “Lean Six Sigma Executive Introduction”.
    Next, create a queue of improvement opportunties (projects) – “Project Selection Process”.
    From the project selection exercise you begin to define the complexity of the projects which dictates the skill levels you need in your firm. My guess is they will not be terribly complex so the “Process Management” course will likely bring you all the necessary skills.
    For the broad population of your employees there is “Lean Six Sigma Awareness” – gets everybody thinking the six sigma way.
    Good luck – what an exciting adventure. Have confidence you will be able to make a difference.

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    #161817

    Mikel
    Member

    I would get help and not from one of those consulting companies that train people. Go find a small firm that specializes in implementation.
    In the meantime go make sure you understand who your company is (customers, growth, profit, …) and who it thinks it needs to be (market direction, technology direction, values, ….)

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    #161822

    annon
    Participant

    Short answer, go visit the Malcolm Baldridge site and look through their ¨Criteria…¨ section.  This will provide you with an overall organizational approach to Total Quality, and provide you with initial auditing information that will be invaluable to you as you develop a corporate profile and and audit the environment´s current state. 
    Long Answer, here are some pointers:

    Start with the Strategic Planning aspects of the organization.  Understand the values, mission, and vision, BOD minutes, interviews with senior leaders, etc.  How does the company create and maintain its competitive edge?  Everything flows from here.
    Start setting and managing expectations. Determining what success is going to look like, how it will be measured, and current target values for these metrics are critical.  
    Set up your project management framework:  Budget, Scope, and Timeline.  Understand this relationship.
    Get into the Balanced Scoreboard and work with upper management to determine a useful dashboard.  You cant improve it if you dont measure it.
    Use MKT and FIN to help you identify and segment your current customer base first by product family, and then by the collective NPV.  This will give you a place to start.
    Identify all key processes within each product family and clink these this ´customer chain´ of upstream customers and downstream suppliers using COPIS maps with OEE measures. 
    .Now you know which product family to begin with (NPVC) and which process or subprocess  to begin with (OEE)
     Develop your team format (standing teams, project teams, quality circle teams, etc) and select your project criteria for assessment and selection,
    Generate training curriculum for Executive, Champion, and Process Owners.  Start educating. 
    Once you have the infrastructure and practices in place, use the tool kit from sigma.

    If this is a new environment to quality, I would look for something other that sigma.  Lean, ISO 9000, WorkOut, 5S, etc are a kinder, gentler approach if you will.
    Although not my favorite, ISO 9000 is a very good way to infuse standardization and control into a new enviroment at the process level.
    Think CAP, CAP, CAP
    Above all, insist on Top-down support.  They must understand that it is their R&R to create the demand for your product, not your responsability to go sell it.  The responsability for the success of each quality effort will lie with the corporate champion and process owner who own the effort and provide the resource. 
    Good Luck…I think you are going to need it.

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    #161826

    GB
    Participant

    This is a golden opportunity to conduct a comprehensive VoC/QFD to discover what makes your Company tick.

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    #161827

    Mikel
    Member

    All this from a person with only a little experience?
    Go get help Amy.

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    #162518

    Mike in STL
    Participant

    Hello Amy –
    I don’t know what you mean by a small company. I work for a $100MM company which does not have a six sigma culture and who hired me two years ago as a quality technician when they really needed a continuous improvement / Black Belt but didn’t want to pay for one. If your company is similar to mine, most of what has been suggested here might be way beyond what your superiors will want to deal with. That being said I’ve driven a 63% reduction in warranty expense more or less on my own without benefit of any of the things I learned in Black Belt training. I would offer this little piece of advice since you know about Black Belt work (as I have now become certified):
     
    1)      Find out what needs fixed. This is the upper management buy in that everyone talks about. Get it in writing what the low hanging fruit is around this company. You might not get a ‘charter’ from you director but you might get something like ‘the chicken pot pie line always has more scrap than the other lines’ or ‘most of our complaints come from west of the Rockies. What’s wrong with those people out there?’
     
    2)      Find out what inputs affect the process(s) that needs fixed.
     
    3)      Find out what data is available concerning those inputs and where you have to go to get more data (especially watching people on a production line).
     
    4)      Start measuring something with respect to those inputs. Trust your intuition some here but act based on the data.
     
    5)      Start enamoring yourself to the inputs to that process. You’ll affect no change without their help.
     
    6)      Change something.
     
    7)      Communicate, communicate, then communicate some more. Start posting current state and the improving state as it goes along.
     
    I have no idea if this is what you are faced but it has worked for me in this, my fourth company who wanted ‘continuous improvement’ but who knew little about what you have to do to make it.
     
    MikeinSTL
     

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    #162519

    howe
    Participant

    Did any one say “congruency” of objectives…what are the organizational goals and the problems of the customers that must be solved.
    Previously someone said train a project champion…easier said than done as this person requires a sense of personal courage to effect change….this training provides them with the knowledge and insight as they relate to the mechanics of change…but not much on the hearts and minds behind the change…I know, I lived it and now I am operating a small company that specializes in leadership for such an effort…
    Good luck…..
    Mike

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    #162524

    Art
    Participant

    I am in the same boat.  I was hired to a new position as a “production engineer”.  No one knows what I am supposed to do.  There is not a process improvement plan in place.  I’ve watched our processes, taken available data, and presented a proposed Kaizan event to management for which I am going to follow through.  If necessary, if  I can’t get buy in for meetings (“We don’t have time for that”), I am going to go out on the floor and and exchange info with the workers one-on-one.  My theory is if management and workers see improvement through lean-six sigma events, they will buy in to the program.  I disagree with the advice most people have given you.  Telling/training people about this cool new program isn’t going to get you anywhere.  Give them some results, present those results as part of your awareness training, then the program will sell itself.

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    #162538

    Brandon
    Participant

    Art – I beg to differ with you. “Training doesn’t get you anywhere.”
    One definition of insanity is continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.
    To change things dramatically your firm’s employees must learn and apply new skills. You had better get with it because the rest of the world is – including your competitors.
    Go to opensourcesixsigma.com and look at their offerings. If your firm can’t afford $50 a person to learn breakthrough skills then just start shutting the place down now.

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    #162541

    RandyM
    Participant

    I’ve worked in both small and large companies and there is a difference is how you approach projects.
    Probably the most important goal at this point is to realize that your personal credibility is the most precious commodity you must preserve.  Should you lose this, your in a deep hole that can take an enormously long time to dig out of….perceptions hang around a while.  For this reason you have to size up your company in how they do things, and use your instincts on how to approach projects.
    Using the big picture strategic approach maybe a disaster, or it may be good depending on the mindset of your management leadership.  If you sense this is a “get it done” organization.  Delay the strategic perspective for a while until you gain a stronger credible track record, then play that card.  Hopefully two or three successfully managed projects gives you a stronger platform to emphasize the strategic importance of Six Sigma.  Then grow to the strategic, change oriented, culture you would eventually like to see.  Inch by inch life’s a cinch, yard by yard, life is hard.
    In small companies there may not even be a strategy or if so, may not be followed.  You have to use your instincts to judge where your companies stands within the strategy spectrum.  It’s not a practical consideration for you to personally take on the challenge to make all management become strategic thinkers overnight.  It can be a huge turn off.  One bite at a time, one successful project at a time, makes your voice important.
    Secondly, small companies are ususally less into meetings, paperwork, and unfortunately, teams….a vital element in achieving success.  Again, you have to size up where they are in this spectrum.
    All that said, talk to upper managers, find out where the pain is, what keeps them awake at night, search out very visible, but achievable project alternatives, find out the potential financial impact and expected time for completions, organize in a table with probabilities of success, financial impact, and get their involvement in prioritizing.  This step alone will get you kudos and credibility, and maybe some resources (people, money, etc.).
    Focus on one project and drive it to completion as quickly as possible.  Try to find a mentor/champion and keep  him informed (communicate frequently) of your successes and challenges.  At important intermims and/or once completed, put together a professional presentation (again use your instincts…do they like fancy presentations or is simple to the point and bottom line preferred).  Demonstrate to your management your effective use of the DMAIC approach to generate bottom line savinigs, quality improvement, etc., and they will want more.  Your credibility will be preserved and strengthened.  You are on your way. 
     Good Luck..
     
     
     
     

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    #162544

    Art
    Participant

    We seem to be discussing the chicken and the egg.  What I was trying to say is that telling people about a quality program is not nearly as effective as presenting them with results.  This is especially important if you are viewed as “The quality guy” and are an outsider coming into an esablished situation.  You are correct however, because for the program to grow, “the quality guy” must train others the skills necessary to become a quality company.
     

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    #162550

    Brandon
    Participant

    OK, thanks Art – we’re on the same page.

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    #162559

    Alderman
    Participant

    Precisely, in many of my experiences showing them is far better than telling them… they don’t listen to the “new” guy.. you have only been here a little while.. just wait you’ll see. You can lead the horse to water but if it don’t want to drink.. you can’t make it. Pick your allies and start small build the snowball.. it will roll and gather strength by itself soon or a later.. 1 other key component is that Management MUST be committed not just talking the talk… but walking too otherwise you are doomed. good luck.

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    #162560

    Airworthy Amy
    Participant

    RandyM & MikeinSTL- Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your advice.  It was exactly what I was looking for.  After being trained by a large consulting firm and working for a very large corporation my mentality has been that of which I was trained.  I’ve realized that I am now reporting directly to the owner of the company and that I really need to find out what HIS agenda is and manage toward that for now.  Once we start to see success, then I can start to drive things a little more.  He wants my expertise, but he is also watching the clock tick as he pays me and wants to see results. 
    We’ve had some great results already with some 5S work and  I’ve been working hard to get the buy-in of the technicians on the floor and it is working.  I’m pretty happy with the way things are going so for so hopefully we keep the momentum.

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    #162562

    Ron
    Member

    Infrastructure , Infrastructure, Infrastructure.
    If you don’t have it you won’t succeed.
    What is infrastructure 1) Highest level in the company support, 2)Sufficient resources to support mentoring, 3) A Steering committe or productivity council to review potential projects, supply required resources, and to monitor projects success and failures.
     
     

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    #162665

    Brandon is an opensource pimp
    Participant

    You promote opensource too much – you must be the owner.

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    #162686

    Mohammad
    Participant

    I tend to disagree with ignoring and training. I think it is important to conduct training to make people aware of what is six sigma. Alot of people do not know what is six sigma really. They think it is just complicated math and stats and they tend to try to stay away from such thing. 
    You have to have a training program in place but do not expect people to come to you asking for implementation. You should be the one who develop such strategy. Start with a simple and small project that you are confident will succed. People will be encouraged by successful examples.
    It is important to keep in mind that management is the key for succes. try to make them buy into it buy developing a resonable simple strategy and start with a small simple project. Do not get into math and statistical fromulas at the beginning. Use softwares as much as you can…Math scares people.
    Thanks,
    ED
     

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    #162695

    fake accrington alert
    Participant

    No  that  is  not  true
    Using  software before  underdtanding  the  mathematical concepts should  frustrate  you because you would  have results and  charts but  without any  meaning as  you  can’t  elaborate  them

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