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How if the students think SS is useless?

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  • #46948

    Ricky Wang
    Member

    I am teaching a training course in a company. In the meanwhile, the students are groups to do a project to go through DMAIC, following my training pace.The company currently has a high defect ratio(in produces and services). However, the students (including managers) always complain that they feel SS is useless to them. Some of them have received TQM training before. Once they see a tool they know, they will just say: aha, this is not new. I already know this! However, I cannot see any projects related to defect reduction going on. The company is actually suffering a lot from this. That’s why the owner of this company wants this training.
    Any suggestions regarding how to handle this situation? How to convince the students that SS is different and useful and important?Thanks!

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    #155907

    qualitycolorado
    Participant

    Ricky.Thanks for your posting.Several ideas:1. BEST OPTION, BY FAR — We know that the owner of the company wants the training, and we know that there is high defect ratio. If possible, he needs to come into to the class, take 5 minutes to tell the students that he expects the defect rate to be reduced by __% in __ months (perhaps: reduce the defect rate by 50% in 4 months), and that the company will absolutely, positively use Six Sigma to do that. Then, have him ask if there are any questions.After all of the questions are answered, have him then publicly appoint (during the class, in front of everyone else) one of the managers as the Sponsor of this defect reduction. AND … have the owner come back (or call back) at the very end of the training, and have him ask the Sponsor what the next steps are in the defect-reduction project.This will build the expecation that: 1) the training is useful, 2) that the owner expects the training to be used, and 3) if the students don’t learn it, they are going to have a tough time actually reducing the error rate.2. The company has a high defect ratio, right? Get your hands on some of that data, and start working with the real data right there in class. Show them how the tools work, with real information, right in the classroom. 3. …. better yet: bring in the data, and have the STUDENTS do this.4. Bring in examples from direct competitors (if you can find them), regarding how they have improved .. show them that the competition is getting better, and that they must, also,… hope this is helpful …
    Best regards,
    QualityColorado

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    #155908

    Craig
    Participant

    Tell them to deliver some results. If they are aware of all these tools, they should be ashamed if they haven’t been using them. Of course this is not  the approach to take with the students.
    It’s up to the owner of the company to make sure the students take advantage of the tools (new or old). Imagine if you had a company that cut trees and provided firewood for revenue. You go in and teach the employees about this magnificent tool called the chain saw. The students say, this is not new, but they continue to use their axes! Learn how to use the tool and deliver results, and stop whining.

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    #155913

    Ricky Wang
    Member

    Dear QualityColorado,Thank you very much for your suggestions! I think these are all very good points that I should pay attention too. Another problem is really the training itself. The training is conducted in one day every month. That is, “define” for the first month, “measure” for the second month, and so on. After the one-day teaching, I will stay for half a week to coach their project. They are asked to finish each step in one month, before the next training. However, the problem is:
    In “define”, training content include: project selection, project charter, SIPOC, Process Map, QFD,etc. However, the students feel “the problems are already there”. “The defects are so obvious”, “the procedures are clear to them”. Sometimes, the “process” contains only one machine. They couldn’t see the necessity to “define” the problem.In “measure”, training covers: process capability analysis, measurement system analysis, etc. Again, their interest is to “solve the problem” only. They already understand some defect ratios are high, while knowing how high it is won’t help solving the problem. They spend half day on learning measurement system analysis, but the technique is not used since they are not really measuring anything except for QA checking. Therefore, they feel it is a waste of time.In “analyze”, seven tools are taught. Again, there is no new findings, since the output of Pareto charts is the same as their intuition. Interestingly, if the output is different from their intuition, they would say that it is because they are using one-month data. Some defects just didn’t happen last month. If so, why bother using Pareto?They see “fishbone” a too naive tool. They can tell you a lot of causes without a fishbone. Then in “improve”, I taught DOE. It turns out to be difficult to fit into their applications. So now, they have to solve their problems with their original knowledge. it seems that without SS, they would have solved the problems in the same way (even though the problems have been there for a long time and they never thought about to solve it). There are also some problems that are out of the scope of SS. For example, they need to do “stock management” or “supplier selection” to solve the problem of “shortage of raw materials in production”. SS cannot really help in that. They need special knowledge in those areas.To conclude, the major problem is that SS didn’t contribute much to the solution of their problems (the solutions would be the same without SS). Therefore, they are rather negative to the training. I would like to see, does anyone have any comments to the content of the training also? or any comments regarding how to make SS bring them something useful yet that they didn’t know about.Thanks!

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    #155914

    Ricky Wang
    Member

    Thank you very much for your reply, hacl. In fact, I have to design some templates, like “fishbone”, “pareto chart”, “process capability analysis”, for them to use. As a result, the would just fill in the template I gave them as homework. Nothing more than that. I am feeling that I am “dragging” them to go. You can image, it is impossible to get any innovative ideas or effectively use the tools, since I cannot design templates for each tools. Some tools that so simple that they only need to put their data into Minitab. Still, no group will do that if I didn’t explicitly ask a specific group to do so.One main problem with the tools is that the students are not impressed by SS tools since some have been heard of. In fact, they never even use the old tools in practice, since they are not doing any project. They are just operators from the production lines. Their daily job is “producing” products, which needs none of these tools.

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    #155916

    accrington
    Participant

    You may find it useful to learn facilitation skills before bewildering these guys with the Six Sigma litany. They may be right in thinking that many of the tools in the DMAIC prescription are irrelevant to them. Try ‘The TEAM Handbook’ by Scholtes, Joiner, et al. You can order it from http://www.oriel.com

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    #155921

    Ricky Wang
    Member

    Thank you accrington! I will try to get this book (I just found there is a very old version in a nearby library). Thank you for your suggestion!

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    #155945

    annon
    Participant

    You violated the first rule amigo…KNOW THY AUDIENCE….force feeding a captive audience anything is an effort in futility….They will only do the work (change their behavior) if they think:

    It is the right or necessary thing to do (Principle)
    You know what the hell you are talking about (Subject Expert)
    They like you (Referrent)
    You can help them or hurt them (Coercive)
    You told them to do it, damnit (Legitament authority)
    Before your next class or contract, plan your facilitation (and training is always a facilitation in my view) to incorporate as many of these elements as possible, knowing the higher order elements are usually more effective in moving behavior…i always approach classroom training as a negociation..it is their time as well as yours…
    You can only change two things at this point: their motivation or your curriculum…..If not the former (tough at this point) than the latter ….dont be afraid to throw out the book and use your knowledge and experience and their input to craft a new curriculum….put the work back on them…..determine how they will define success for the classtime…and now facilitate to that objective(s)…best of luck…tough spot.
    PS  The real problem was in student selection and class structure…one day a month for all those tools and a hostile audience?  Yeah ….. goooood luuuuuck. :)

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    #155967

    Rodriguez
    Member

    Ricky
    I could that there are 2 main issues that needs to be addressed. How you address will depend on you. I would like to share my opinion on what has worked with me.
     Why to use Six sigma instead of any other methodology?                                    I I have often experienced this situation. You can take a stand of listening to them and try to understand, what do they exactly want to communicate to you? You can ask questions like usually what % of improvement is done ? Is the improvement sustained? Ask, whether they can achieve more than 50% improvement, if they continue to follow the same problem solving techniques. If they say ‘yes’, then ask them that for evidence. Finally you will come to a situation, where-in they would like to know or hear your success stories. Typically six-sigma projects take target of 50-70% improvement. So you can share the example and that will give them more confidence in what you say?        ‘Remember you cannot fill water into a glass, which is already full. You need to empty it, before you start filling’. First ‘listen’ to them rather then just’hearing’. You will get lot of clues on ‘what they want to say’ rather then ‘what they are saying’. Try to get the ‘content’.
    Why do we have to do any improvements at all?                                                           Remember that people change only, if the pain of not changing is more than the pain of changing. Very often the task of the facilitator is to just reflect the situation by presenting it in a manner that the ‘pain is felt’. Easier said than done. But if you follow this approach, you will move from the confrontation mode to acceptance mode. From what I read, your audience look at you as a threat. You can chaneg that by making them realise ‘that thing’ which will make them ‘change’. It can be anything, which is near to their heart.
    Hope it helps, if it does’t, don’t give up. You need to find different ways to doing things and you might find something, which might work. All the best!
    Ajit
     

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    #155980

    Ricky Wang
    Member

    Thank you very much, Ajit, annon, and all others that are sharing your experiences.This is in fact the first time that I train and coach industrial projects in this way. I (and another full time employee from the company) am coaching nearly 15 teams (one project for each team) at the same time. Teaching in industries is really different from teaching in college. I have learned a lot so far. I have thought through both issues carefully. I think I should have addressed these issues better in the first class if I had been aware of these problems. By now,I have finished the Analyze stage already. But still, answers to these questions are helpful to my further communication with the teams. Actually, I am also thinking some other reasons that have made the students feel tedious and negative about the training. For example, I spend one day on “define” and give them one month to “define” their problem when they thought they are already very clear about their problem; I spend another day on “measure” and give them one month to “measure” their current process, but they never measure anything before and they don’t know how to measure. (I am teaching measurement system analysis, process capability analysis etc,., which seem too advanced to them). I feel the training content is also one problem. I have seen several suggested training outline from different sources. However, I still cannot say which one is better even now. Another difficulty is that I am teaching the same content, while some groups are handling “machinery problems” like product defects, and some are handling service problems like “customer satisfaction” or “long process time” or “shortage of raw materials”. However, not all tools can be used by all of them. Therefore, there are always half of the students feeling frustrated since they are spending time on learning something that seem to be useless in their project. Previous suggestions on “using their own data” is a good idea. Any other suggestions on the content if the students are going to handle both service and manufacturing problems?

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    #155982

    GeJay BB
    Participant

    All of this is very good commentary Ricky in flipping through the the messages. It appears as if you are giving a lot of information for 1 day sessions.  I think someone mentioned before that if they know all the tools then why is the company STILL creating defects through the process?
    Point being SS is a structured approach to improvement. The tools may be the same, but what you get through the process is structure and not a shot in the dark on improvement. All changes are validated through data. So ask the class what types of improvement have they done in the past and what were the results? Why did the process slip backwards. I knew a lot of the tools prior to training, but I did not know all the tools. What I got out fo SS was structure to my imrpovement.
    The buy in for this methodology starts at the top and you need the executive champion to provide some re-enforcement on how he supports the methdology and to also set the expectation for what is to happen after the training.
    You should really think about the curriculm that you have laid out. Not being familar with stats prior to training. I can just imagine the anxiety in the analyze phase when you start to think about the types of test that should be run on data.
    Good Luck

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    #155987

    Silviu
    Member

    Hello,
    I have questions first:
    1. Is it a Black Belt training? Or Green Belt? One day per month is just not enough for one phase of DMAIC. BB training is 5 or at least 4 weeks.
    2. Does every student have a project?
    3. Will the students continue working with Six Sigma on projects after the training? On the training they learn to use it, but are slow. Only with next projects they become fast and effective.
    4. What criteria were used to select the candidates? Are you sure you have the right people on boarde? On this site you can find selection criteria.
    5. How big is the company? To train 15 people is a lot. There should be 15 projects, and that is hell of a change and effort and resources…
    6. You are providing only the training or you give them also consulting?
    7. Are you alone on the training? Usualy, the training is performed by two MBB.
    I dont find a blueprint behind this training, a long term goal and steps to be taken to reach it.
    I think this company needs a Master Black Belt to take over the implementation of 6S. You cant implement 6S with a training.
    How to convince them that the 6S is the cure? You have to make them use it. They must feel the difference, they must see it works.
    The rezistance is normal. Everybody wants to jump to implementation in the define phase.
    hope it helps
    silviu

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    #155988

    annon
    Participant

    Pare the tool set down into the basics…DOE in a day? Fuggett aboootit…..Decide what you can do in the time alloted and throw the rest out….give then the minimum to work a very basic binary project ie ´did my change make a meaningful differene´? Good luck.

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    #155989

    Happy Six Sigma
    Participant

    “That’s why the owner of this company wants this training”.
    What do you expect from the employees? Be happy and embrace “Six Sigma”??????

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    #155992

    BTDT
    Participant

    Silviu:A perfect response, particularly the line, “I think this company needs a Master Black Belt to take over the implementation of 6S.”I could not agree with you more. There are just too many problems at this implementation.Cheers, BTDT

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    #155994

    Happy Six Sigma
    Participant

    the problem is, there is no deployment … training employees on “six sigma tools” is not equal to deploying six sigma. not the facilitator’s fault, not the owner’s fault … it’s just not been thought through.

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    #156002

    Ricky Wang
    Member

    Here are the answers to the questions. Hope it can help all to better understand the situation (I think this is not unique. I am sure I will meet such situations in the future again).1. It is neither BB-oriented nor GB-oriented training. It’s just a training program. The owner of the company learned Six Sigma in my class, and think it is good to use SS in his own company. Then, he invited the training. So, my questions is: is it a must to make such trainings a BB or GB training? Is it possible to abandon the usually GB or BB concept and just make SS a “tool” to be used? The company has no intent to have any “SS” department or anything. They just want to use SS to solve their problem. 2. Yes. All students are put into groups, with around 5 in each. Each group has identified one topic to work on as their project.3. The owner hopes that the students be capable to do SS project by their own after the training. 4. It is a manufacturing+trading company. Candidates are chosen from top managers, middle level managers, to low-level operators until the classroom is full. 5. I’d make it clear. It is a typical small manufacture in China. While due to the low human cost, their actually have nearly 1k employees, but mostly are low-level operators. The training includes 15 groups not 15 people. The owners wants all his employees (at least managers) to be trained. Just the classroom is not large enough.6. After a one-day training, I stay for half-week to help to conduct their projects. 7. Basically, yes. The company has a BB to help me throughout the training, and supervise all the projects when I am not there.
    I really don’t think it is practical for the company to have a MBB first. Generally, all such kind of companies are not willing to pay high to hire a MBB. Most managers are “street smarts”. They have been working in there for years but without high degrees. I think this is rather common around here. Their business is growing, the owner wants to introduce new concepts and improve their level. Then they invite a training. For me, I really want to bring some changes to them. But sometimes, the “framework” and others that are introduced in SS books cannot be find here. They are just building from nothing.

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    #156003

    Emilio Caliandro
    Participant

    This is e very interesting tread .. and the contributes looks useful not only for Ricky Wang situation.
     
    We all know it is difficult propose Six Sigma to who don’t know it and also it is difficult build “Sigma culture”.
     
    But, in my opinion, two concepts are missed in the tread:
     
    Commitment & Pilot Project.
     
    ** Wang’s company should do SELECTION Projects at the higher level possible and not in the classroom (as it looks if I understand correctly). At the same high level they should decide the sponsor/s  and eligible people for project leader and process owner positions (I personally strong recommend the presence of the process owner in the project!).
     
    The sponsor/s will take the commitment to provide resources for the future first projects.
     
    The project leaders will be volunteer pulled out from the subgroup selected by management. This should be done also for the process owner selection if it is possible.
     
    At this point without Project leaders Commitments do NOT proceed!
     
    ** The projects selected will be the PILOT PROJECTs. Projects on very strident situation about “sub process” relatively well localised. The targets should be ambitious but realistic (BB needs!). Work very very carefully on project chart! Their time schedule should not go over 3-4 months.  See theory about Pilot on 6 Sigma books.
     
    Only with evident Project Pilot success you can hope e to proceed with SIX SIGMA in the company … other courses, other projects.
     
    I’m aware I explained, may be badly,  how to do “warm water” .. but just in case.
     
    Emilio Caliandro
     

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    #156007

    Silviu
    Member

    Ricky,
    Thank you for the answers. I see the situation is complicated:).
    It is good you “expose” everybody in the company to Six Sigma. There are companies out there training everybody. Just it is not realistic to expect top managers to do 6S projects. I don’t think one training fits all. Top management needs different kind of training. They need Champion training.
    It is good to have a coordination unit to administrate 6S implementation. It doesn’t have to be a new committee. Just attach it to Project Management Office. You need to assure continuity after the training otherwise it will end up just as did other trainings (TQM…). You do projects now, you need to assure resources…
    I am not a MBB, so I don’t have the needed experience to advice you. I just think you have high chances to fail with implementation. JUST MY OPINION.
    Please, MBB of this forum, is this the right way to do it?
    Thank you
    Silviu
     

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    #156013

    Ricky Wang
    Member

    Thank you for your reply, Silviu. Just on practical problem, the company has funcationsl departments like C/S, quality, accounting, production, etc. However, they do not have a separate “Project Management Office” or similar department to manage projects. Maybe this is a chance that I can suggest them to have such an office. However, how to implement Six Sigma in such small-to-media enterprises is an interesting topic (in terms of training, administrative structure, etc). I hope you and others can share more of their views. Thanks!

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    #156014

    Ricky Wang
    Member

    Hi Emilio Caliandro,
    Thank you for your reply! It would be interesting if more people with real experience on similar situations can share more of their views. A practical situation in such small-to-medium enterprises is that they are not organized based on “project”. Rather, they are organized for “production”. Departments are classified based on their function as “production 1”, “production 2”, accounting, C/S, quality, …. Usually, they don’t have the concept of “project”. Their daily work is routinely organized as seeking customers and orders, production then transportation. Therefore, how should such a company be changed to embrace Six Sigma? What administrative positions and structures should be added or altered? I’d be grateful if anyone can comment on these points.

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    #156049

    Silviu
    Member

    Ricky,
    in our company, quality unit took over the implementation of six sigma. But we receive strong support from the mother company. We receive fit to us training, coaching, help with projects/BB selection, templates…
    Consider the quality unit to make it responsible for 6S. Quality unit is responsible to drive improvement of any kind.
    silviu

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