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GE 6 sigma a joke?

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  • #27707

    anon
    Participant

    [This specific forum post has been removed at the request of the copyright owner. iSixSigma would like to request that users ask permission from a source before any reproductions are made on the iSixSigma forum. Thank you. In summary, the article describes how one individual at GE claims that too much paperwork and details are detracting from the real process and benefits of Six Sigma quality. The threads associated with this posting remain intact.

    You can read the full article at:
    https://www.qualitydigest.com/mar01/html/lastword.html

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    #68154

    Anonymous
    Participant

    I understand your feelings and may even agree with you regarding the issue of red-tape in getting things done sometimes. Ask yourself these questions about the process improvements that you made withoug “Six Sigma”:Did you identify and define a problem that presented an opportunity?Did you have an objective in mind when you set out to fix it?Did you have any data to aid you in your effort?Did you use any method of analysis for this data, be it regression analysis, or common sense?Did you work through your results in order to optimize the future performance based in your observations?Did you create any standards to make the solution “stick” so that you or someone else would not have to fix it again the next month?If you did these things, you probably made a significant operational improvement to the organization. If you did not, then you were probably wasting your time, regardless of what you called it.The point is, Six Sigma is a useful set of tools that can be used to improve any process. If you want to cut through the bureaucracy and complete a project in two days rather than two months, then go for it. But why criticize the methods, when any effective problem solving technique would essentially use the same exercise?

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    #68155

    Ken K.
    Participant

    Sounds like an old dog that doesn’t want to learn a new trick.
    I just don’t see how anyone can fault a continuous improvement concept that emphasizes financial results, minimuming defect rates, increased customer satisfaction, and using data-based decision-making.
    As some have said, the methods are not new, its the focus on improving processes that is “new”.

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    #68156

    Smithsigma
    Member

    I guess I should start posting as Smith”stigma” now that we’ve all been notified that Jack Welch is blind and GE is about to be in a shambles.
    No offense, but while I agree that Six Sigma isn’t the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything – I’ve seen it used and found it to be effective where I work.
     

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    #68158

    melvin
    Participant

    Every company has them…..
    Jilted employees who have let their prime pass them by by not keeping up with new technology, new methodology, new ideology, etc.  They keep fighting up to the last minute – fighting the change that is to inevitably take place – only to realize that they won’t win, can’t win, shouldn’t win.  On their way out, tail firmly between their legs and cheeks rosey from embarrassment, they take a final shot – albeit errant – at the very change that lended insight to their ineptitude.  All the while muttering that the “company owes me, the company owes me for my many years of service” – the paychecks that put your kids through college, the insurance that kept you well and the pension that will keep you comfortable for the rest of your life were simply not enough, were they?
    Ring out your crying towel, you’ll get no sympathy – or buy in – from me.

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    #68174

    carper
    Member

    As a Six Sigma consultant, I would normally have a tendency to be biased on this issue.  But having seen some of the politics involved in big company implementation I must say the article in quality digest has some valid points.
    Is Six Sigma effective overall:  YES.  I don’t think you can argue with the results achieved at company after company.
    Are the tools used in Six Sigma new:  NO.  Most of them are the tried and true quality tools that have been around for decades before Motorola launched Six Sigma in the 80’s.
    BUT, when companies lose site of the goal of Six Sigma being process improvement, variation reduction, and overall benefit to the organization and just start looking at number of projects worked and number of people trained and if you’re not certified you’re dirt mentality then those programs start to become sub-optimal (please note I did not say non-value added).
    There will always be projects and people who will get good things done even without Six Sigma training and there will always be people who won’t get good things done regardless of what training and nudging they receive.  But these are the tails of the distribution.  Most people would like to be able to do good things but don’t know how.  Those are the people who benefit from  the infrustructure support of Six Sigma:  they are given not only the tools but the motivation to succeed.  Unfortunately, applying the structure tends to stifle the individuals who have been using the tools (DOE, control charts, etc) for years and makes them feel like they are “jumping through hoops”.  They are not the ones who benefit from the task gates and structured project reviews, but they are also typically not the largest percentage of individuals in the organization. 
    The point of making quality a part of an organizations culture is to get everyone involved.  That requires a degree of structure seen at GE and other large compnies.  I think it is important to recognize that the quality professionals already in place have value to add to the organization and to this process.  However, they need to recognize that to leverage gains across the entire organization requires everyone’s participation and others need the structure.
    One point that was made in the article that I have also seen at other companies is the “if it’s not a six sigma project it doesn’t count.”  I think that’s as silly a position for a company to take. I don’t think most companies take that position as a rule.  I suspect that the individual who wrote the article encountered an INDIVIDUAL (or small party of individuals) with that mentality and then generalized it across all of GE.  It is a perfect example of taking a special cause event and making common cause interpretations.  At least, that has been my experience at other companies.
    Teresa

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    #68179

    Anonymous
    Participant

    I work with GE as a supplier every day.  There is a lot of truth in this article.  I just spent an hour listening to a Black Belt directing a DOE at my facility.  He understood our process so poorly that he wasted my time and my company’s money.  The comments about Six Sigma are probably not true of all GE Black Belts but the “Emperor’s New Clothes” analogy is certainly true of percentage of their staff.

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    #68181

    Kim Niles
    Participant

    Interesting article and comments.  I’ve run into the same mind set a few times, always from really smart people.  Unfortunately, they are usually the ones that force a company to reach out towards change….because their “intellegence” is so narrow that they end up causing the problems. 
    TEAMS ALWAYS OUT PERFORM INDIVIDUALS
    However, in his/her behalf, I realize that Six Sigma projects are not for everything.  The cost of “fixing” the problem must be less than the long term cost of the problem (including soft costs).  With that said, as a company moves towards Six Sigma the differences must get smaller and smaller.  I can’t wait to find out.
    KN   https://www.isixsigma.com/library/bio/kniles.asp
     

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    #68183

    W. E. Deming
    Member

    “All models are wrong.  Some models are useful.”

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    #68185

    lin
    Participant

    There’s a reason why this person has over 30 years experience, has this attitude, and is nowhere on the organization chart.  They really only have one month of experience repeated 359 times. 
    While I agree about some of the presentation “beauracracy” associated with Six Sigma, it is part of the process of learning to communicate.   Just because people are great problem-solvers, it doesn’t mean then can communicate the message effectively.
    By the way, a ‘3’ is the lowest performance rating you can get (not ‘4’). The ‘4’ is a promotability code, which means that you will be in your job forever unless you leave the company (a rating this GE-lifer has apparently received every year).
    Since this person undoubtedly works for one of the 400+ GE P&L’s and is assuming their experience is true for the rest of the 315,000 employees, they should have paid attention during the ‘sampling’ section of Green Belt training.

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    #68189

    Jha
    Participant

    HI,
    I was shocked to see ur comments on such a powerful tool which has created history in the entire world of production, financial operations.
    I had worked with the same company u are working at present. The concept of six sigma is not only projects which take longer time but it also encourgaes small and quick solutions for problems. The nature of the problem is the key for all the projects.
    I feel that the black belt has a different mind set and has driven the concept of six sigma in the way that it should not be.
     
    only one word ! ge would not lose it charm due to six sigma. There might be some cases like this but the concept is going on well.
     
    Regards
    jai
     
     

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    #68190

    Pandu
    Participant

    This is the best comment that suits to your big hasty analysis.
    ” Like an old dog that doesn’t want to learn a new trick”

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    #68192

    Anonymous
    Participant

    By observation, I would like to add the following comments to this debate:
    1. The six sigma tools can help to reduce variation for a statistically stable process. But the process must be statistically stable first! (And the tools were there long before 6 sigma!)
    2. The six sigma methodology may help for the 10% to 20% of improvment opportunities which can be managed as projects. However, most of the time, six sigma practicioners either “shoe-horn” continuous activities into projects, and hence negate any benefits and create problems in other areas, or only select the 10 to 20% and ignore the rest.
    3. Training for six sigma results in “projects” being selected for the training, rather than business needs. The training also covers far more statistical theory than most people ever need, and causes confusion in selecting the right tool for the job. (Hence you will always need Black Belts?)
    4. Most GE engineers I have talked to admit that the benefits to GE have been the result of creative accounting, rather than real benefits.
    5. The “six sigma” concept itself is fundamentally flawed statistically. You CANNOT determine anything from the normal distribution that far out on the tails. The normal model just isn’t designed to be used outside about 3 sigma.
    6. The concept of rolling up “proportion defective” to give a Z-score is utter garbage. Proportion defective IS NOT normally distributed. The engineering concept that all functions have an inverse just doesn’t apply in this case.
    Please let’s get back to a common sense approach to continuous improvement. Use tools such as SPC to get the processes under statistical control. Then use other statistical tools, such as DOE, (many of which are contained in six sigma) to reduce variation etc. Do this continuously, not as a project. And don’t work to targets, numerical quotas, merit ratings etc.
    And above all read “Out of the Crisis”. If you have and you still support six sigma, then you’ve missed the point of the book!
    In summary, refer to Deming’s 14 points, especially 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
    It may well be that “All models are wrong, but some models are useful”, but this model isn’t even useful. Six sigma seems to be designed to “quick fix” issues that Japanese industry has been persistantly, and successfully working at for the last 20 years. The problem isn’t in the tools. It is in the Anglo-American mind-set that says anything can be “quick-fixed” The only way to continuous improvment is the hard way.

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    #68197

    Vicki Verego
    Member

    It is with Six Sigma as it is with everything else in life:
    “Anything good thing taken to extreme becomes evil”.  Extremists forget why the “thing” was developed in the first place (i.e., as a tool to accomplish some goal).  The thing then takes on a life of its own, and no longer resembles its original self or serves its original purpose.  Hence, the hammer and nail analogy.
    Nobody will argue that continuous improvement is a good thing.  It is!  Six Sigma is one of many ways to accomplish this, not the only way.  We should be applauding all sincere efforts toward continuous improvement, always with the realization that we can always learn something we don’t already know, by observing differing methodologies.

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    #68199

    Left GE on own terms
    Participant

    TQC, TQM,CPI,WORKOUT,6SIGMA all names for the same thing. They have all failed and been renamed because they have not been supported by top management. GE is one of the most notorious for focusing on the bottom line and missing the point of providing something of value for a customer. The original poster has *some* valid points about the management style. I’ve personally seen the neutron and the damage done :) Buy pillage sell. Step and repeat. If they are calling it 6sigma now its still a smoke screen for the true parasitic business model. That said if you have instituted a 5 minute solution you are likely fooling yourself. The point is not to make reams of paper but to fix the underlying causes that allowed the problem to occur. With a shoot from the hip approach the bandaid fix isn’t likely to last, no lessons are learned, no application of the solution in other areas are leveraged, no one else is any smarter etc…. The world doesn’t need any more tampering process engineering wizards.

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    #68201

    The Belt
    Member

    Anon:  Ouch.  You are right on.
    Six Sigma = Fabrication, Manupilation of the King (dollar).  The directors, champion, and the financial people know how to massage the system and show some improvement at the end of the quarter.  I have seen projects that ended and got closed, but never got implemented, only to be stored in some database.  But guess what, they claimed the money.  I am confused!!!!!!  How can you say that you are making money while in fact you didn’t change anything in the process.  But the project “theoretically” looks great.
    What’s next?????? let’s go back to basics.  Or can we we shoot for 8Sigma

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    #68203

    SixStarSigmaWood
    Member

    Wow!  There certainly seems to be a difference of opinion regarding the true value of the whole Six Sigma world.
    I believe that a large organization must go full-throttle into new initiatives, if  they don’t the initiative never gets off the ground.  (Like dieting 1 day a week, it just won’t help!)  The organization that I am part of is going full-throttle, I like that!
    The only problem in my organization is that some of the people that are in between the high-level architects of the initiative(corporate), and the unit-level personnel (Black Belts) are naysayers just like the person who wrote the GE article!

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    #68205

    Tom Griffin
    Member

     Rigor = Risk
    Process is not a substitute for thinking.
    I am sure 6S returned a benefit at the beginning of its implementation because it was probably targeted at key processes and systems.   If the author is complaining about a key manufacturing process being under control, I have no sympathy – the risk of too many people, regardless of experience levels, making changes is too high and must be controlled. 
    However, if the formal processes are being applied to everything, the cost will exceed the risk of loss and our friend is correct: people will blindly start walking through wickets instead of mitigating risk though appropriate analysis.  The outcome of this is typically that the quality program is pitched; things are in control until entropy takes over and everything heads toward chaos.  A “new” program starts.
    Solution – Management must pick the high-risk quality targets for maximum effort and scale accordingly for the rest. 

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    #68206

    Not Disgruntle
    Participant

    I am truly sorry that I do not have the time to thoroughly reply, but I would be doing a grave disservice to myself and a great company if I didn’t respond at all.
    It is unfortunate that you have had experiences that have left you with an obvious disdain for GE’s chosen method of implementing improvement.  I understand how bad experiences shape our opinions, but I would like you to remember that your experiences are limited to a small sphere which I think is not representative of the whole.  Independent of your years of experience, GE has only adopted Six Sigma within the past 6 years.  Therefore, I think that my Six Sigma experiences are as valid as yours.
    I am currently a Six Sigma Black Belt who coaches/guides the improvement efforts of many Green Belts.  When  I was a Software Engineer, I was expected to apply Six Sigma methodology to many projects as well.  My goals are to improve the satisfaction of our customers by providing on-time products and services as well as responding to customer requests within a time that is acceptable to the customer.  I am not in my current position merely to enhance my career.  In the future, I would like to assume positions of greater responsibility and will not apologize for my inspiration.
    There is a reason that we (GE Leadership) “require” the completion of projects and encourage the use of Six Sigma.  Metrics drive behavior.  The reason that this behavior is encouraged is because it works.
    I’m not saying that every activity in life requires Six Sigma rigor.  Six Sigma is not a “magic bullet.”  Our leadership supports the proven customer centric, problem solving methodology because of the benefits it brings.  Metrics drive behavior:  I can assure you that if there were no measurable benefit to the customer and our share holders, we would not continue the effort.
    Because I see the big picture, the benefits provided through Six Sigma rigor, I will continue to support the hard work of the fantastic employees of this company and customers we serve.
    Although I am passionate about what I do, I realize that I do not represent or speak for General Electric Company in anyway.  All of these comments are my own.
    I appreciate your years of service to our company, but will not miss your public dislike for an effective method of satisfying customers and making money doing it.
     
    Best Regards,
    jmb

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    #68211

    Wlscott
    Member

    JMB
    I can not agree with you more in response to your cmment.  It is unfortunate but true in many cases in the industry that Six Sigma is questioned and criticized.  Fortunately, this attitude is form those who either lack the ability to think “outside of the box” or are afraid of the unknown and these individual usually have a short employment life with any company.  Their departure allows room for those who understand that in today’s market, with the global thought process at the forefront, industry leaders such a GE and others view Six Sigma providing “best in class” results.  This can only happen if the tool (Six Sigma) is saturated throughout the company, at every level to achieve success.
    I have been in the quality, customer service industry for 10 years and have relized since my career started and now, that the customer service we provide internally/externally is the only way we can participate in today’s global playing field.  Perhaps this individual needs to really look at his personal professional goals and possibly reaccess what the intenions were when he/she joined the company.
    If a basic understanding of Six Sigma is explained, maybe the stand off attitude will subside and success will revail.
     

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    #68216

    Mark Peck
    Participant

    I was not able to view this article – the site indicated that I needed to get permisssion from the source – does anyone know how I would go about doing that?  This felt like a pretty low quality interaction.
    Thanks

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    #68217

    MsQ
    Participant

    I find it hard to believe that anyone can claim that the six sigma model is not useful and that it shouldn’t be used.  Since many seem to like the hammer analogy, lets carry it to a new scenario.  If someone unfamiliar with the use of a hammer decides to go around fixing peoples car windows with it, it would be pretty easy for the people whose windows were broken to claim that hammers are bad, have never done anything constructive, and should all be thrown away.  The plain truth of the matter is, if the tool is used the way it is intended, it can (with the use of other tools and the people who know how to use them) build cities.  So, to claim that six sigma is a useless model because of the mis-use and mis-reporting of people in management positions that wouldn’t know a sigma if it bit them on the butt is as rediculous as saying all hammers are bad because they have been used to break windows.   
    I do not belive everyone in an organization needs to be trained to a level of a black belt… most would not have the inclination to do so and would unintentionally misuse the tools.  I think this is where a lot of misuses of the tools may arise.  But for the concept of quality and continuous improvement to be ingrained in a company everyone has to speak the language.   Certainly the traditional approach of holding production solely accountable for quality has not gotten us where we need to go.

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    #68223

    Kim Niles
    Participant

    It looks like iSixSigma just found one of their 3.4 allowable defects in this thread (see original post) .
    Quality management systems are only as good as their acceptance and collective use throughout the corporation. Even the smartest individuals in the long run can’t outperform the cross-functional well-trained team. It’s a numbers game. The more Quality minded individuals you have the better you will perform.
    I’m sure most all of us have worked for companies where “Quality” means “Inspection” so I don’t need to remind us how comically bad quality in a company can be. Six Sigma aggressively mandates engagement of all employees to think like traditional Quality department personnel. It’s the first Quality Management system ever that even comes close to successfully spreading quality out away from the department into it’s employees. In terms of Quality tools and techniques, it’s not much different than all those other systems, but there are little differences that make the big difference. See: What Makes Six Sigma Work at: https://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c010723a.asp
    My point here is that all the “bad” accusations I see in this string about Six Sigma are itsy-bitsy pale in comparison to the big picture value.
    KN https://www.isixsigma.com/library/bio/kniles.asp

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    #68230

    anonymous1
    Participant

    Absolutely right. The bureaucracy surrounding Six Sigma at GE is overwhelming — to people and project success.

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    #68231

    anonymous BB
    Participant

    I was fortunate enough to have read the original posting before it was pulled. Please note my GE service is less than 3 years, and I am not a long-term, disgruntled, change-resister. That said, the original post is full of truth. The Quality bureaucracy and metric gestapo that has sprung up to police projects, savings, and pitches is incredible. While DMAIC as I’ve seen it lived at GE (financial services area) has the veneer of VOC and customer focus, what I’ve seen tells me that the ability to CLAIM savings, a high “body count” for Belt training, and demonstrate Perfect Pitchology are far more important than TRUE customer deliverables that the customer actually feels (as opposed to changes in Sigma values and shifts on run charts that may or may not reflect actual customer experiences).
    I recently had to purchase a new clothes dryer. As an experiement, (and without identifying myself as a GE employee), I went to three different appliance stores and steered conversations to comparisons of GE products vs. competition. In all three cases, the salespeople steered me away from GE products. Reasons: the quality “isn’t there anymore;” too many corners have been cut; poor long-term reliability; they’re trading on their name and reputation. In two of the three cases I was steered to machines that cost the same or less than the GE product, so we’re not talking about trying to increase commissions here. I don’t want to stretch the analogy too far, but I took this experience as a metaphor for how Six Sigma as it’s lived (not preached) at GE may impact ( or not impact) REAL customers — as opposed to quality analysts. But I’ll bet there are dazzling dashboards and cockpits at Appliance that “show” high-quality machines rolling off the lines…….
    Sad, really. My Black Belt training led me to expect far more.

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    #68234

    PV
    Participant

    When one is using a sword to kill a mosquito & missing the target, frustration is the outcome. His frustrations are justified, because he has used a powerful tool to conquer a tiny mosquito & misses the target!
    From my experience within GE & now Outside GE as a blackbelt, Six sigma is a powerful tool which should be applied at the right place it is intended for & not just aywhere. For putting down fire you don’t apply Six sigma; just extinguish it.
    It is the duty of the blackbelt to apply this powerful technique at the right place.Succumbing to somebody else’s pressure to retrofit other improvement to Six sigma benefits is his mistake & not definitely the failure of the system or the tool.
    Last but not the least, what is wrong in communicating an improvement through a good presentation? In fact improving one’s presentation skills is also an added advantage of Six sigma. This was a clear reflection of the crirtic’s attitude.
    “The shutter is half closed. I will try some other time” 
                                  OR
    ” The shutter is half open. Let me give a try”
    Both the above statements describe the same scenario, but totally opposite attitudes.

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    #68239

    anonymous x BB
    Participant

    It is very sad – all that training and exhortation to improve quality.
    I have to buy 2D lamps for a night light. These were made by Osram (or whoever) but got taken over by GE Lighting in their never-ending rush to buy up all of Europe. The lamps are sold as 10,000 hour life, and used to last about 12,000 before needing a change. The last three (GE lamps) have lasted 2,000 hours before failing totally. Unfortunately I can’t buy 2D lamps from anyone else, and it looks as though I will have to change the entire lamp unit to something else.
    Friend of mine runs the lighting department at a large store, and he has stopped stocking GE lamps since they had so many returns and complaints. I studiously avoid GE lamps of any kind. Don’t know anyone who has actually bought a GE appliance either.

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    #68244

    john beaudoin
    Participant

    I understand what you are saying, but I think you are looking at the picture in terms of something is at fault in the way a disgruntled GE employee is thinking.  I believe, in fact, that GE’s upper management has created metrics for its employees that discourages the proper use of 6-Sigma.
    I agree, and was trained as a Greenbelt, that 6-Sigma analysis is very worthy of large or small scale projects where you know there is a problem, but you do not necessarily know the answer.  You do not need 6-Sigma to necessarily find a cheaper source of supplies, or to correct mis-spellings and wording in a training manual.
    The problem is when management creates metrics telling Greenbelts and Blackbelts that they must save “X” amount of dollars in a year and that they will have 1/3 or more of their annual reviews and pay increases/bonuses based on that savings, then those individual are inclined to look out for themselves and try to claim any little item as 6 Sigma savings to be included in their annual $ savings.  While it is good to provide incentives to move projects along, the metric by itself is bad in that it can create the unwanted labor spent on fixing trivial problems. (Remember, trivial problems are the ones where we are 100% sure we know the answer up front).  Management needs to define metrics better to say what should be included as a project and what should not.  The other bad trend I see is the trend to find immediate hard cost savings.  No emphasis is given to customer considerations at some of the larger 6-Sigma companies because customer satisfaction is the hardest thing to measure and put a $ value on.  As a result there is a migration of working on only the projects with specific, measurable results.
    Also, in terms of presentation, most employees that are Blackbelts and even some Greenbelts are paid a lot of money each year, and to take that money to have someone spend half a day making a Powerpoint presentation look good would be a waste.  We encourage handwriting on napkins, scrap paper, etc. and turning in the work to our office professionals to make the presentations look “Pretty”.  All of us could save more money in the time it can take for a good presentation then we would pay a professional to create a good presentation.  I’m sure some of you would rather play than work though.

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    #68245

    Anonymous
    Participant

    I am just courious:
    Di you not read the posting? There is a point made that the people who sale to the end user are steering people away from your products due to quality issues.
    Added to that is the comment made that there are “meteric” police who care more about the format than the results.
    With any large operation you will have centers of excellence as well as centers of priesthood. We want all centers to be excellent not priests.

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    #68249

    Bob Mitchell
    Participant

    The bottom line is this. Six Sigma is a tool that was intended to be used in a complete, system. If it is used in an incomplete system (one in which other interdependent causes do not exist to cause the right behavior of the black belts and the bean counters) there will be suboptimization at best. If the goal is money rather than customer satisfaction (which results in money) and the goal is deployed in a fear driven, “failure is not an option” environment, then there will be much collateral damage and thus much negative talk. GE has been chided for some time for a poor deployment and has lost many a black belt in their war on variation.
    Contrast the negative comments you’re reading in this site to Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Motorolla, Saturn. Although they may not label their programs “Black-Belt”, or “Six Sigma”, they all have extensive track records of success in variation reduction and I have never heard or read anything negative about any of their programs. Quite the contrary; I read a lot of benchmark comparissons to them as best in class…
    Six Sigma is great set of tools, which when used in their proper sequence with valid logic, on the right project, will result in significant reduction of variation and empowerment of the workers.
    This leads me to believe that once again, another American giant has deployed a great tool in a broken system and thus, likely does result in much fudging of numbers, poorer quality than their potential and thus disgruntled customers like myself.
    My personal experience in the past six years is that GE kitchen appliances are junk. I replaced the handle on my builting microwave five times in the first year and finally left it broken. I had to buy the thirty cent part for thirty dollars. I replaced my new pot scrubber after two years and my glass stove top exploded last month when I sat a hot coffee pot on it. GE said it must have been installed wrong……
    I can’t say much about their six sigma program, but I can say this, “they are not customer centered.”
    Bottom Line – If it fails, it’s not the six sigma program that fails. It’s the system within which it was deployed that failed.
     
     
     

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    #68253

    Thomas C. Trible
    Member

    Folks:
    Achieving quality is a thinking person’s endeavor. Any quality system that is dogmatic, inflexible, or relies on blind adherence to a prescriptive set of rules will eventually falter.  That GE’s approach to Six Sigma is becoming inflexible, is a major point the author was trying to make.  Since we have not experienced what the author did at GE, we can only conclude that from his own experiences – he might be right.
    Please read what Honda CEO Takeo Fukui had to say in 1997 about Honda’s “Essential Elements of Our Approach to Quality”.  Although Mr. Fukui is specifically refering to TQM, his words can apply to any quality system.
    Mr. Fukui’s Summarizes: “TQM means different things to different people.  Each of you has your own concept of TQM and how it should work in your company.  That concept probably will change as time passes.  That’s OK.  To me, TQM is dynamic – just as successful companies are dynamic. But no matter what changes may come, three things will never change:

    Quality is the defining characteristic of every successful company
    Quality must constantly be evaluated and adjusted
    Quality exists in the customer’s mind
    Know your customer and exceed their expectations – that’s the real test of TQM.”
    Mr. Fukui further asserts, “TQM may differ from company to company.  Honda has always done things its own way.  TQM is no exception.  Quality programs have been part of Honda from the beginning.  But these programs have changed as Honda has grown and Honda has responded to new challenges.”

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    #68259

    Hank Epstein
    Participant

    Thanks for your courage in speaking “your” truth. I have been coaching continuous improvement implementation for 12 years in private practice after leaving a Fortune 50 corporation after 25 years of service. Much of our early business came in the form of “clean-up” projects after the then “big seven” consulting firms had left their clients high and dry. How sad to see the same scenario emerging with respect to 6 Sigma. Jack Welch was my last remaining big corporate hero until he laid off 80,000 people. To me continuous improvement has always been synonymous with building a sustainable competitive position that generated more jobs not less. How do we expect people to support these efforts when the outcomes that are sought mean the loss of jobs and income for the very folks whose support and knowledge we need to implement them. When are we going to learn? I look forward to the continuing promotion of 6 Sigma as a re-emerging source of work for me and the members of my coaching alliance who have developed a process with zero bureaucracy and the appropriate use of statistics to help our clients increase the cash and job generating capability of their businesses in a sustained and growing way.

    0
    #68262

    Ropp
    Participant

    Mark,
    You can read this article on page 80 of the latest edition of Quality Digest magazine (Aug. 2001), or on the web at http://www.qualitydigest.com (look under Last Word).
    You’re right.  This isn’t a high quality “quality” discussion, but some important issues are being surfaced.

    0
    #68264

    Terry Murphy
    Member

    Two things:  I was so taken with the original posting that I copied it off.  If anyone wants a copy emailed to them, send me an email, and I’ll forward a MS Word version of the original text.
    Second thing.  It seems that all the responses to the original posting are from serious, well intentioned people.  Perhaps the most significant thing that is “revealed” by the responses is that the “utility” of six sigma depends not only on the technique itself, but also on the culture it in which it is deployed and the persons deploying it. 
     

    0
    #68270

    Anonymous
    Participant

    A Full throttle implementation may okay if you know the right direction.  But implementation on the fly won’t get you where you want to be even if you are going full throttle.
     

    0
    #68272

    Larry
    Participant

    I do not agree totally with what the author of the article is saying about six sigma.  However I do make one observation when analyizing GE.  That would be the apparent dilution of talent and six sigma.  By requiring all managers be certified in green or black, there is an obvious dilution on the six sigma philosophy there.  The idea is that you chose the 1% of employees that the organization “can’t afford to lose and replace”, and train them as black belts and empower them to have the tools to be highly visable thereby reaching the top of Maslow’s higherarchy of needs – self actualization.  Those people will invaribly become lifers and stand on their head to add dollars to the bottom line.  That is the wrong turn GE made.  I can only hope my organization does not make the same fatal error.

    0
    #68282

    Anonymous
    Participant

    This is my second reply to GE 6 sigma a joke.  Some how the first one  didn’t get posted.  I’ve read most of the responses to this topic, pro’s and con’s.  Let me give you my prospective on it.  First, keep in mind one thing.  The following will not change.  Your job is a mere by-product of a company making a profit.  If the company can figure out a way to eliminate your job, they will.  Don’t take it personal.  It’s called capitalism at it’s best.  The company is in business to make a profit for the stock holders, period. 
    Second.  Based on above, there is no loyality.  You must have what a company is looking for.  A track record, 6sigma certification, ASQ certification, advanced degree etc.,  Then you will control, to a point, your own destiny.
    Third.  As I’ve said, the bottom line for a company is to make money.  They will do this by managing every minute of your day as a productive one.  You will work longer hours, have increased responsibility and be responsible for measuring and reporting results. Yes, you will be compensated if your successful, not quite as much as Jack Welsh though.   What does 6sigma look at? Waste. How can you argue about eliminating waste?  Efficiency experts, er, motion and time study, er, 6sigma will focus on eliminating waste and increasing profit for the company.  Hey, if you wanted to be a millionaire you should have had a good fast ball, or maybe, you could have gotten the contract to consult 6 sigma for a big company like G.E.
    Flyman
     

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    #68287

    Adam
    Participant

    Hank,It’s rare to find a consultancy that operates with no burocracy – you must have the ideal business or partners to work with. Your approach to coaching “without the burocracy” is, from my viewpoint, the right way to go. Large corporations are tied up with multiple layers of burocracy that let the wheels spin and no real traction is made to get things done. Please post your companies name and contact details as a lot of people would benefit from your approach.

    0
    #68317

    Hank Epstein
    Participant

    Eliminating bureaucracy is much easier in companies in the $50-$500M revenue range where we now choose to work. The key is to work with the top person and his/her direct reports. Also, the less bureaucracy the coach brings, the less is “Called forth” from the client. What is measured is also critical. We concentrate on improving cash flow…this is king for small to medium sized companies. They can’t hide behind net income like big corporations can. I’m uncomfortable with doing anything that might be construed as promotion within this forum but if anyone wants to discuss these issues off-line with me directly I’d be happy to engage you. My e-mail is [email protected] and my office phone is 636-239-0582.

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    #68499

    PV
    Participant

    I didn’t blame anyone. I was trying to put across my convictions & experience.
    I still very strongly believe that it is definitely how you look at things. When you are talking about too much emphasis from management, I believe that this initial pressure is definitely required if you are looking at institutionalising 6 Sigma.
    For a moment forget about six sigma, look back a few years when we were children. As kids nobody liked to go to school. It was just because of sheer pressure we started going to school. Later on it has become very much a part of each one’s lives. Six sigma has to be drilled down initially by pressure & later will become a part of our lives. I’m pretty confident that this kind of pressure will not be felt nor exercised once this is institutionalised.
    Regarding presentations, no blackbelt does a presentation every day. He may be spending half a day on a presentation for one project once it is completed or maybe once in between to inform to others in the organisation about the progress of the project. Moreover presentations are usually done after normal working hrs.(this has been my experience). It also enhances an individual’s presentation skills. Six sigma practitioners are viewed as future leaders & hence the emphasis on presentations are intended to enhance their presentation skills.
    It has been a wonderful experience sharing thoughts on Six sigma & thanks for the Opportunity.
    Regards,
    PV
     
     

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    #68500

    Murray
    Participant

    Hey, back from the dead to steal Montgomery’s lines?

    0
    #84495

    Anonymous
    Participant

    I recently left GE after a sucessful 3 year stint doing product development work in Plastics.  Unfortunately, in that buisness Six Sigma was used primarily as a vehicle for personal promotion where the use of buzzwords was more important then any real technical substance.  I saw this as especially unfortunate due to the fact that the few times I actually saw the principles of Six Sigma applied they had a definite, positive impact towards the betterment of the project.  Even these isolated instances proved to me that Six Sigma can be a valuble tool for technological or scientific work, when applied as intended, not as a managment tool.

    0
    #95637

    walden
    Participant

    I am both a CQE and a Six Sigma Black Belt.  Six Sigma is just a fancy name for the use of statistical methods to achieve quality improvement.  Most of the statistical methodology behind Six Sigma has been used by quality improvement professionals for many years.  However, management has jumped on the Six Sigma bandwagon expecting overnight results with little or no upfront investment.  Most managers are ignorant of the methodology behind Six Sigma, but they insist on Six Sigma because of management groupthink mentality.  Unfortunately Six Sigma will ultimately go the way of other quality fads as management bcomes disappointed with subpar financial returns and lackluster business success. 

    0
    #95640

    Ragavan
    Member

    Truly… Quality of Six Sigma Professionals from GE is beyond comparison.
    Majority of six sigma professionals from GE know nothing beyond COPIS, the word CTQ & DB..
    They use QFDs & Regressions where not reqd…. Check for P values and normality test for any set of data they come across and conclude something crab…
    GE has been a BB production centre operating at 0.9 sigma level ( This just means that there are also good Six Sigma professionals from GE)…
     

    0
    #95643

    asa
    Participant

    by the way Chris, six sigma is not to use the statistical tools, it is the systematic approach and methdology to improve and maintain nothing more. you use statistical tools to help you but there are cases where you don’t have to use statistics. You should learn to use your common sense first before jumping in the statistics. i am sorry you have not understood it yet inspite of your CQE and BB.
    regards.

    0
    #95644

    Tanya
    Member

    Really Chris, your ignorance amazes me. Six Sigma is not just a fancy name for statistical methods, and the fact that you would say so speaks volumes to your understanding. If you ever have the opportunity to sit in on a real Six Sigma project, I encourage you to do so. You will obviously not believe anything I say here, so please make an effort to see for yourself.

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    #95647

    KBailey
    Participant

    Six Sigma brings together:

    basic problem solving (“The first step to solving a problem is to define it,” as we learned in 3rd grade.)
    the “scientific method” of formulating and testing hypotheses
    prioritization tools and methods, similar to TQM principle
    statistical tools to analyze, prioritize, test solutions, and tell you when something is truly “wrong” with a process
    visual tools for effective communication of key information
    focus on identify and meeting real customer requirements/wants
    discipline to control variation and its impact on customer experience
    relating efforts to bottom line
    structure to pass on knowledge and discipline gained to future “generations” of employees for long-term benefit
    Some people are too intelligent or educated to need all of these; others are too busy. Some just don’t realize the range of tools and their value. Whether you bundle these tools and methods and call them “Six Sigma” or not, the value is in systematically applying them correctly to all key processes.
    I’m interested in learning about other fad that encompass all of the items on this bulleted list. I’d also like to know if some of the items in the list are a complete waste of time, because to me they all seem worthwhile. 

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    #95651

    Diaconu
    Participant

    I think the issue is that Six Sigma has a particular application. Many of it’s tools are applicable without using the full Six Sigma methodology and have been applied with varying degrees of success over many years by many of us.
    I think there is a tendency to call everything that uses one particular tool a Six Sigma project and that’s not the case. There is also generally a management pressure to do that. If we can focus on SS as being a particular tool for a particular job and not a one off cure for all business ills then I think we’ll all be in a better position to determine it’s true value.
    Mia

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    #95658

    KBailey
    Participant

    I’m not sure I entirely agree. It’s true that using a tool from the SS BOK does not make it a Six Sigma project, but SS has broad application, and is much more than a particular tool for a particular job. As has been pointed out, the particular tools have mostly been around for years, for their particular jobs.
    SS is a method to bring all the right tools together for each job. Here’s an analogy. Suppose you need a building. I come to you and say, here’s this methodology to produce a building:

    Determine what the building needs to be in the end
    Plan the building project
    Order all materials required
    Decision: will materials be available? If no, go back to 2
    Assemble the team
    Prepare the site
    Construct
    Inspect (can take place during construction)
    Inspection passed? If no, go back to 7
    Landscape (may begin during construction)
    Maintain the building
    I’ve never built much of anything, but I can confidently predict that a contractor who follows this method is going to produce more reliable quality and be more successful in the long term than a contractor who doesn’t follow any methodology. Whether building a doghouse, henhouse, outhouse, townhouse, court house, or White House, there are certain basic steps that will help ensure a good result. The specific tools used at each step may vary, depending on the project.
    Six Sigma is not the tools, Six Sigma is the methodology that helps identify the right tools and ensure they are used at the right time for optimal results.
    You may have another methodology by another name that covers most of the basic steps. That’s OK. However, if you’re going to tell me you don’t need any methodology; if you’re going to say it doesn’t matter what steps you include or exclude, or what sequence you do them in – I’m probably not going to be too confident in your ability to produce the desired result.
    Many quality “fads” have included some of the right steps and some of the right tools. However, they also missed some important things. Let’s just assume that Six Sigma is also missing some pieces – does that really mean we should just fly by the seat of our pants, with no methodology at all? Does it mean we should manage by intuition?
    Sure, you can improve processes without following DMAIC… and you can start building a house only to find that you can’t get the roof trusses you expected, and the garage door opens into the living room, and you can have it fall apart in 20 years because you don’t bother to maintain it. If you are able to actually build something along the lines of what you wanted, and you can hold it together for a few years – good for you! Just don’t expect me to want to invest my retirement savings with you, because I want it somewhere where I can be more confident about sustained, long-term success.

    0
    #95672

    Darth
    Participant

    Wow, in the last day alone the Forum has trashed, GE, HD and BOA.  I wonder if any of the many detractors of those efforts would be willing to share their successes or turn down an offer to trade their stock options for a portfolio comprised of those three companies?

    0
    #95676

    sweettalker
    Member

    It’s almost like, “Democracy is the absolute worst form of government – except for all the others.” I’m sure GE, HD, and BOA must be the absolutely worst companies in the world – except for the rest.

    0
    #95700

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Let me work through this (though it’s unrelated to the GE BOA etc issue).
    I was trained as a black belt that SS was a particular road map to improve processes by Defining the process to be studied, Measuring data related to it, Analyzing the data, Improving the process and finally Controlling the process to sustain the improvement. It is an systematic, analytical and statistical method of process improvement. And a very good one. In that way I maintain it to be a specific tool for a specific job (process improvement). As you say it’s method is what makes it Six Sigma it’s tools are generally common place.
    I would be the very last person to say that one should undertake any project without critical thought as to the method and tools to be used. It’s basic project engineering to ensure that you have all the right tools in place (SS is a good addition to project engineering too).
    If I take a ‘broad’ application of DMAIC I’d probably sturggle to come up with one improvement activity that doesn’t or hasn’t used use it. Learning to play a piece of music for example is: Define what you want to play, Measure how good you are at it, Analyze where you are going wrong, Improve by making changes and then remember to play it that way in the future. Okay a lot of it may be subjective rather than data driven but the method is the same.
    I do not believe that SS has a ‘broader application’. My view is that SS is a specific and formal application of a common (though often informal) approach. It’s the fact that it’s formal and specific that makes it SS. So it is, in my view, ‘a particular tool (‘method’ to be absolutely correct) for a particular job’.
    What I was requesting in my last paragraph is that we don’t seek to replace all our other skills in project management / people management etc etc with a ‘broader’ application of Six Sigma because it simply isn’t necessary. I know some project engineers who are very highly skilled and not SS trained and I’d be happy for them to build me something too. SS would maybe be a good addition to their existing skills but it doesn’t mean that everything else they do isn’t and wasn’t good and appropriate.
    Six Sigma does have boundaries. It brings a lot to a company using it. I do think that there is a tendency amongst many businesses to call almost everything SS and I suspect that doing so gives a false impression to businesses thinking of implementing it.
    If I were to pick the one aspect of SS that really makes a difference I think I’d have to say that it focuses higher management levels on what can be achieved if skilled people are given the time and resource to do what they are capable of. That’s what’s probably ‘new’ about it. 
    Maybe we just look at the same coin from different sides.
    Mia

    0
    #95705

    KBailey
    Participant

    Mia,
    I pretty much agree with your assessment, but I’m not sure we mean the same thing when we talk about broad or narrow application.
    SS can be applied to pretty much any process that you can define. To me, that’s broad application.
    SS per se does not apply to a project the same way it applies to processes that are performed repeatedly. SS itself doesn’t generate solutions – it helps you choose the best one from all of the different ideas people have come up with. Sometimes we don’t know how to measure key inputs cost-effectively, so we still rely on intuition or subjective measures (especially when dealing with people.)
    What I would say is new is that SS methodology allows you to simultaneously address the two outputs of quality and profitability, and even the employee experience if you care about that. There are other proactive methodologies, but most of them only address one of these outputs. In my mind, that’s why so many of them fail.
    k

    0
    #95708

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    Mia, you must be an engineer.
    Off in the distant past, when I took my training, I wondered what was new about this.  The idea of understanding what the problem is, determining where you need to get, figuring out what the causes are, fixing them, then putting in place so they stay fixed seemed to me pretty obvious.  I mean, isn’t that want any engineer would do?
    But I was trained in a large group from all over the company involving different geographies and disciplines.  As I got to know my classmates, it became clear that this was a real revalation to many.  Not all folks understand the value of looking before you leap, and in disciplines that don’t routinely solve problems, it’s a pretty foreign concept.
    Six Sigma outlines in a very detailed way a process that may be fairly obvious to some, but maybe not to all.  Better yet, the whole Six Sigma culture empowers folks to act on the process they know will work.
    I think one of the real powerful aspect is that it allows relatively small project teams to go out and improve processes with a fair bit of autonomy, and with a tool set that gives them the confidence to take on tough challenges.
    Of course it doesn’t apply to everything, but it is pretty broadly applicable, very effective, and to top it off, a bunch of fun!
    –McD
     

    0
    #95713

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Hi John
    Got it in one. Not sure it’s always fun though
    Mia

    0
    #95740

    DaveG
    Participant

    You make some valid points, but what does that have to do with GE?

    0
    #114614

    Malcom Terry
    Participant

    Not true…SS is one of those fads that reappears after a while. I took the class 15 years ago and never saw it again until the management  once again decided it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. So once again, here I sit in another class, wasting my time, but giving management a warm fuzzy sense of accomplishment!

    0
    #114615

    ctnance
    Participant

    Management will find a way to cook the books to show that Six Sigma saved millions of dollars.

    0
    #114616

    Mikel
    Member

    Both of you guys are jokes

    0
    #125544

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Sales Person is dead wrong…Ge laundry products have the lowest service call rate in the industry right now at less than 3%..why??  Six Sigma..

    0
    #134268

    Griffiths
    Participant

    No company that is in the publics eye will admit to a failure of a policy that is implemented. Go 6 sigma. All these small companys following 6 sigma because of Motorola and GE. 6 sigma even if it works is just like any catchy slogan or phrase. And the best way to get away from this is to go to work for yourself. Good luck sheeple.

    0
    #134270

    Craig
    Participant

    What a shame to go through a class and not apply it over a 15 year period. Why not be honest with your manager and admit you don’t want to go through the training? Maybe you are part of the hidden factory and don’t want to get “leaned” out of the organization.

    0
    #134280

    Be Real
    Participant

    This post started over year. As I read through it, its become more relevant.
    Everyone knows Six Sigma is a joke at GE and more so in GE Healthcare. Go to any site and talk to the employees about Six Sigma and you will hear how people created projects and fabricated benefits to get certified. In the process of getting certified they were distracted from their real jobs and clients.
    There were so many projects being run at the same time no one could isolate the projects impact good, bad, or indifferent. There were so many projects intertwined that many projects we created to deal with the issues created other poorly executed projects.
    Did GE and especially GE Healthcare get the benefits, in particular, the financial ones – absolutely not?
    Everyone is turning their cheeks from this reality especially those in bed with GE;
    Consultants who were making tons of money off GE;
    GE Black Belts who are looking for bigger jobs and higher pay;
    GE executives who allowed and encouraged the financial benefits to be grossly and dishonestly exaggerated and how were promoted based on Six Sigma project misrepresentations.
    GE is in the midst of trying to rebrand its Six Sigma program as Lean Six Sigma in efforts to keep their consulting cash cow going.
    Ask a GE person, especially one in Healthcare, one question, would you recommend GE Lean Six Sigma/ Six Sigma to a family member or colleague? You can guess the answer.

    0
    #134285

    Gen E
    Participant

    Be Real – sorry we had to let you go.  You obviously could not cut it at GE.  But you know how it is, the bottom 10% go every year….you’re better off.  Good luck at Bank of America!

    0
    #134286

    Be Real
    Participant

    Never worked at GE. My organization over the years has been flooded with GEers and their clients singing the woes of GE Six Sigma or whatever you are now spinning it as.

    0
    #134287

    Be Real
    Participant

    Its all to common for GEers to address critism by assuming the person providing feedback is a bottom 10 percenter.
    I’m glad you have enough common sense not to address the real issues I have talked about.
    How about that stock price? The 90 percenters are doing a great job ;).

    0
    #134289

    Gen E
    Participant

    Do tell….your organzation?  Got to be Bank of America or another GE six sigma wanna be.  Give me a break, the stock pirce will be fine.  Short term thinking….probably what got you fired from GE.  How did you take the discussion when your boss called you in, told you that you were a “C3” and handed you a box for your stuff.  Well, your GE lineage got you hired somewhere….you’re welcome. 
    PS – I would hardly call your post critical, it’s unsubstantiated, non fact based garbage.  Nice try.

    0
    #134290

    For Be Real
    Participant

    Be Real – just FYI:
    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/mostadmired/index.html
     
    Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    0
    #134291

    Be Real
    Participant

    No mention of Six Sigma or whatever you’re calling your program.
    What’s the stock market saying?
    What are your employees saying?
    What are your clients saying?
    Go ahead and ask the ultimate question. will you recommend our six sigma program to your family members, friends and etc.?

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    #134301

    Tierradentro
    Participant

    Let us not waste time in arguing whether Six-Sigma is beneficial or not ? Let me tell u i am not a GE employee, but I am certified BB and I feel that all that is being discussed is not adding any value to this website.
    Let us product facts, that can help the readers to take decision. We have to also consider that a coin has 2 sides, and  any good initiative can be driven in a manner which can lead to failure. That doesnot mean that the initiative is bad or not effective. An organization as to see the pros and cons, before deciding to implement a Six-Sigma program and that can only happen if the Top Management drives it. ALso agree Six-Sigma is not the only thing that can solve all issues. Culture factors also have to be considered before starting six- sigma initiative.
    John.

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    #134306

    Shubham
    Member

    Hi All,
    It reminds me of school time story, a monkey bleeding himself with a shaving knife.
    Quality is a tool – boon or bane, its on individual’s. Subject knowledge + Intention to excel + Top management commitment to religiously use it (in achieving and sustaining improvements) will define results. It’s not a BRAND or branding tool and this slip has high RPN.
    take care,
    Shubham
     

    0
    #134307

    Shubham
    Member

    Hi All,
    It reminds me of school time story, a monkey bleeding himself with a shaving knife.
    Quality is a tool – boon or bane, its on individual’s. Subject knowledge + Intention to excel + Top management commitment to religiously use it (in achieving and sustaining improvements) will define results. It’s not a BRAND or branding tool and this slip has high RPN.
    take care,
    Shubham
     

    0
    #134319

    Quite anonymus
    Participant

    If the six sigma methodology doesn’t show better, faster and more reliable results, I think many companies probably will “lean out” 6 Sigma!
     
    It seems like 6 Sigma is turning to a religion that isn’t allowed to be questioned, how good is that in the long run? If it is true as many says, that quality work is about 50 % systems and 50 % motivation, how does 6 Sigma motivate us? Why do 2/3 of all 6 Sigma launches fail? Is it good that 6 Sigma creates new hierarchies in organisations? What is the actual cost for a 6 sigma implementation (education, initial failures, several years’ implementation time, documentation etc).What is the hidden cost for creating stable processes for invalid tolerance limits (common problem)? Is it the tools (that actually existed a long time before 6 sigma) that is useful, or is it the DMAIC-methodology? Of course, some of the companies that use 6 sigma get huge benefits, but if we compare that sums to all the failures – is it still a positive result? What are the risks we take when even educated approved black belts don’t master the tools used in 6 sigma (and have to ask questions on this forumJ)? In a world with more and more focus on innovation – how appropriate is it to put your money on a 6 sigma implementation? Don’t we limit our imagination and problem solving capability and get restricted by the 6 sigma methodology?
     
    Don’t be offended – be motivated!
     
    To survive in a “Lean-world” – please dont go for 6 Sigma! Go for Innovation istead! Any arse can produce cheap, to be unique is a competitive strategy.
     

    0
    #134324

    Rabbi Darth
    Participant

    Amen brother.  You ask some challenging questions.  The only thing I take exception with is the comment that LSS and Innovation are polar concepts.  I believe that they are very complementary.  In your terms…cheap without unique is a commodity but by the same token…unique and expensive with a poorly functioning process won’t keep you in business either.  Both give you competitive advantage.  I would recommend this site for those who wish to advance the religion of SS.    http://www.ulc.org
    May you walk in beauty.

    0
    #134327

    Quite anonymus
    Participant

    I appreciated you link very much!
     
    Yes, I partly agree. To provide unique products/services (by innovation) in combination with a robust low cost process (by e.g. Six Sigma) enables a good contribution margin. And there are tools within 6 sigma to support a creative thinking (TIPS/TRIX etc). So… in a way you are right – Six Sigma tries to emphasis both low cost/fitness for use and innovation.
     
    I am grateful for your response!

     

    0
    #134331

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    Perhaps the people that put together the data that shows that “2/3 of all Six Sigma launches fail” can tell us how well the next flavor-of-the-month did for those companies.
    My guess is that whatever it was didn’t work either and those companies are not industry leaders.
    “Lean out Six Sigma”…I would be interested if you can find a single company that can attribute success to that.
    And the statement “restricted by the 6 sigma methodology” makes me wonder just how familiar the author is with Six Sigma.  Call me naive, but I didn’t realize there were restrictions.
    Not offended…just sticking up for something I firmly believe in.  Hmm.  Unfortunately, I think I just made your “Turning to a Religion” point.
    Hope I didn’t offend.

    0
    #134348

    Quite anonymus
    Participant

    This is the second time I answer, me previous answer seems to have disappeared!
     
    Perhaps the people that put together the data that shows that “2/3 of all Six Sigma launches fail” can tell us how well the next flavor-of-the-month did for those companies.
     
    Well. Lennart Sandholm (scientist and consultant in the field of quality/six sigma) has written a lot about possible threats against successful Six Sigma implementation. The work is based on the experience from real cases. One of his books is partly dedicated to this issue (and to the 2/3 of companies that fails!). And yes, you are right. Many companies aren’t aware of the commitment it demands to implement Six Sigma. That is partly my point. If companies can’t implement Six Sigma, it will become just another one of the “flavour-of-the-months”. So – why deny the problem. Six Sigma can be a good methodology, but if you can’t implement it right it will never work. We must look at the methodology critical in order to make it stay alive. And – is 6 sigma really appropriate for all producing companies (regarding size, market, product etc)?
     
    My guess is that whatever it was didn’t work either and those companies are not industry leaders.
     
    You are probably right – if such a large investment (as a Six Sigma implementation is) fails, you’re chance of keeping an competitive advantage will decline.
     
    And the statement “restricted by the 6 sigma methodology” makes me wonder just how familiar the author is with Six Sigma.  Call me naive, but I didn’t realize there were restrictions.
     
    I hope that you are right that Six Sigma isn’t any limitation. Design and problem solving shouldn’t be limited. But again – what is Six Sigma? Six Sigma is not the tools. All the tools within 6 Sigma has existed for a long time. That is a good thing, because that means that we aren’t restricted by the tools. But Six Sigma is the DMAIC-methodology, isn’t it? If I work by another methodology, is it still Six Sigma? Peter Senge has written a book called “The fifth discipline”, in witch he argues that all models we use (to simplify reality and make it more easy to understand), will later become our mental barrier. The creation of a model or methodology at day 1, may not be appropriate for the problems that arise at day 2. As soon as we learn a predefined way of analytical work, we will very son be mentally restricted and will have problems of thinking “out of the box”. And when was Six Sigma created? It was a time ago… We must constantly question our methodology to not become prisoners of it. No more hallelujahs!
     
    Not offended…just sticking up for something I firmly believe in.  Hmm.  Unfortunately, I think I just made your “Turning to a Religion” point.
    Hope I didn’t offend.
     I am not offended. I am grateful for you’re reply. Thanks! Keep up the good work!

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    #134349

    Mr IAM
    Participant

    QA,
    No, I do not agree that six sigma IS the DMAIC methodology.  DMAIC gets a lot of the focus because most companies seem to be focused on fixing problems.  But, six sigma is much more then DMAIC (lean / DFSS / IDOV / Change Management / Project Management etc..).  Six sigma is a business managment process, it continues to grow, change and become better.  I don’t believe that six sigma is limted because it is a “method”.  People continue to adopt new tools and methods within six sigma to make it work for them.  As long as we keep allowing six sigma to grow, change and adapt it, it won’t fade out.  As soon as we say that six sigma is only DMAIC, six sigma is dead.
    – My opinion. Cheers!

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    #134350

    Quite anonymus
    Participant

    As I wrote before – Six Sigma is the methodology (DMAIC/DFSS), not the tools. We can se different tools used at different Six Sigma companies, but always the same principal methodology.
     
    If we take away the methodology, we stand left with the same definition as TQM. No use for that again, or?
     
    The areas you mentioned is different, and are often used in combination. But Six Sigma is not an umbrella for the different areas you mentioned. Project management, Change management and even lean can be used without Six Sigma. For example – we use mathematics within economics, but no one would say that mathematics in any sense belong to the area economics. It is different disciplines. We can be greatfull for that, the implementation effort would probably be even bigger if you are right.
     
    So, like always it ends up discussion definitions. What was the problem again? Hmm. Guess that you got me there! Great, thanks…
     
    Cheers!
     

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    #134363

    Active GE
    Participant

    Be Real – get real……who do you work for….enlighten all of us to the wonders of your organizations six sigma program.

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    #134364

    Be Real
    Participant

    Don’t shoot the messenger. Just go ask the question of you employees and clients, will you recommend our six sigma program to your family members, friends and etc.?
    By the way, doesn’t GE have a policy suppressing your rights to express opinions in public forums?

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    #134370

    Active GE
    Participant

    You are a dope.  I am openly working several at the customer for the customer six sigma programs with GE Aircraft engine customers.  I guess I’ll have to ask them tomorrow, I am on site.  Maybe 9 million dollars year over year in services revenue growth isn’t indicative of a recommendation?
     
    Answer my question, what organization do you belong to?  You have BOA or one of the other copycat programs written all over you.

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    #134393

    Be Real
    Participant

    You have a hang up with BOA. I think their program is almost as bad GEs.
    However, you are right BOA’s program sucks as much are your’s.I will tell of some programs that trump yours.
    Try John Deere, UnitedHealth, etc. Learn from the feedback. You should be curious; is it that your projects take forever to complete, is that you never get the bhag benefit, is that your projects are unsustainable, is that the benefits were never realized, is that you always have to come back, is it that your product sucks (GE does have the best jet engines), etc.
    Grasshopper, be curious.

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    #134395

    Darth
    Participant

    As bad as BOA is, don’t insult them further by saying he is one of their’s.
    Darth, former GE and BOA so I can speak about both
     

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    #134396

    Be Real
    Participant

    My apologizes Darth.
    To survive both organizations, the force must be with you!

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    #134398

    Terry
    Member

    Telling my manager I don’t want to go is not an option. Every few years, management gets this brain fart about some new latest and greatest tool, then mandates that everyone learn about it. ;o)

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    #134411

    Ritz
    Member

    I think this thread is about as pointless as I’ve seen lately.
    We might as well settle this the right way:
    My dad is bigger than yours.
    Nyah nyah, my program is better than yours.
    Grow up.

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    #134444

    Uncle Artie
    Member

    Ritzy – I concur….and outsiders perspective is that GE has been around since 1887, they must be doing something right.

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