Introducing Six Sigma as a discipline

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Introducing Six Sigma as a discipline

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    Look at those things that your company does well.  How are they supported throughout the organization.  I would suspect that they are tied to some type of incentive program for the managers and are a part of the organizations mission statements.  Leadership is saying these values, processes, etc. are extremely important to our business.
    Use the current programs that your company uses to drive success for your Six Sigma program.  If you use a different system it could be difficult to implement.
    Having bonuses, etc. tied to the Six Sigma program will help, but the best anecdote for getting the program successfully started is choosing good projects that have alot of visibility within the organization.  Be careful, choosing projects that are high in visibility and yet can be successfully achieved in 4 months can be tricky.
    Hopefully you have the support of Six Sigma from the very top of your company, which is very necessary for a successful program. 


    Rod DuPuis

    I’m looking for any suggestions, ideas, or opinions in assuring the existence of Six Sigma within our company. Being one of the 1st Black belts for this company, it is important to find a method by which Six Sigma becomes part of our everyday routine. Should I be looking at linking this into performance appraisals or incentive programs? Should I be looking at adding a criteria to management job descripitions to support and ensure completion of projects in a timely fashion?  Any help will be greatly appreciated.


    Kevin Mader

    Anything relying on incentives to work will fail miserably in the long run.  To be honest, the thought of having this tied into the performance appraisal worries me.
    Sadly, both are means to create ‘movement’ in the completion of things.  Neither instill ‘motivation’, and in fact, make it impossible to exist.  If you would like to have a better opportunity for success, you will need a motivated workforce and leadership.


    Vineet Sharma

    There are two aspects of implementing Six Sigma as a corporate initiative. One is the technical aspect which is related to resources like you (BBs+Training+$$) and the other is the acceptance aspect- the ‘soft’ side of it! Technical stuff is the easy stuff it is the soft stuff that is hard.
    To tackle the soft issues again there are two most important aspects- Leadership Commitment combined with Changing Systems and Structures of the company. Both need to be HIGH on your scoresheet for Six Sigma to succeed. Consider asking your TOP leadership folks to devote at least one hour of their undivided attention for direct involvement in Six Sigma related work every week! During that interaction you may work your way for issues related to Systems and Structures changes to get their buy-in!
    It is difficult but it is exciting and perseverence will pay rich dividends!



    The effectiveness of the projects in the early going are very important, as pointed out above. A couple of things we found helpful were (1) demand a structured, systematic approach from your Black Belts. When you are first starting is not the time to freelance; DMAIC in that specific order works; and (2) have the Black Belts meet frequently to spend time reflecting on how things are going and how things went. New Black Belts can feel like they are out there all alone. The same goes for Faded Black Belts, too.
    Good luck,



    I think it should be applied gradually , like say 2 projects a year should be certified six sigms projects. The Black Belt should make sure that the six sigma tools are applied right from the word go… and not after the project is finished , for this a registration system should be evolved where the mandatory number of projects would be considered to be Six Sigma projects only if they are registered.The most important group would be Design and Manufacturing departments, later this should be extended to all the other departments.
                     Since you haven’t furnished any details of your company and it’s activities , I don’t know how far this reply is relevant . 


    p s jawadekar




    I, unfortunately, don’t entirely agree with some of the comments made.  I believe the soft-side is critical (good and frequent communication, promoting early successes, getting senior management commitment, etc.).  However, we have rolled out Six Sigma this past year and have found that without teeth (Performance appriasals, ties to bonuses and incentive comp), it is VERY difficult to get people’s attention and break their entrenched habits.  I think that a push and pull approach – sell and incent – is needed for a roll-out to happen with any real speed.


    Marc Richarsdon

    I am not currently a certified BB (I am told that the climate is not politically correct at this time and even if it was, there’s no money at this time) but I have been using these tools (project management, statistical methods, financial metrics) for many years. For what it’s worth, here are some observations:
    Management buy-in
    Typically, they’ve already spent a lot of money for training and they have a vested interest in seeing results. Have the champion(s) start a monthly SixSigma steering committee. It should be composed of members of senior management. It should be a time here you report on the progress of current projects. It should also be a place where you present and justify the selection of new projects.
    Hopefully as a BB, you are committed to this work full time. Hopefully you are not a part of the QA department. Hopefully management is far-sighted enough to raise this endeavor off the horizon so that everyone in the company understands its importance.
    Financial accountability
    Make sure that the financial officers of the company are on this committee. You need them to set up the collection of cost savings numbers as they are being generated, not as an afterthought.
    Project management
    Weekly round table meetings where everyone comes to report on the progress or lack thereof of their part of the project is a very powerful way to get people to meet their commitments. No one likes to come to a meeting of their peers and say they didn’t get their part of the job done. This assumes that you have previously identified the stakeholders and secured from them the necessary resources.
    Finally, you will just have to get out there and sell hard and then, most difficult of all, deliver.
    Marc Richardson,
    Sr. Q.A. Engineer


    Srinivasa Rao

    For the success of Six sigma, you need to have the top management drive. Atleast if the projects are being presented to your top management (incl VPs, President, MD, Chairman etc.,) will boost the morality of BBs. Don’t ever try making them as “Super men / women”, as it will be very difficult to get the team support in the organization.
    Best way is make them seen as the change leaders but not some kind of favoured people or super people. That will help other employees to compete to become BBs!
    Project champions focus is the vital link for the projects success. Make them involved when the top management reviews are going on! Also make sure that they spend some part of their time on weekly basis to support the teams. This will definitely work out as I have seen with my experience. If the Project fails, the onus should be on both Champion as well as the BB.
    When the projects are completed successfully, try to make a big bang to celebrate! That really help motivating the teams.
    If you want to incentivize the BB, don’t forget the back bone of project is the team and you have to do some thing for the team. So it is always better to avoid talking incentives. ESOPs may be one good option, provided you maintain the confidentiality!
    Good luck!!!


    Ravi Bagaitkar

    I think key to successful rollout of six sigma is proper selection of projects. If the BB/GB projects selected, are completely aligned with the short & long term business objectives then they are successful. Such projects get management attention & focus. Also the department heads & managers help in providing history data and deployment of control plan. Further, Training, Measurement, Reward/Recognition and Communication are important for deployment.



    GE used performance appraisals to push their Six Sigma system.  One had to become a Green Belt to maintain your employment.  This leads to fudging on the system but most Six Sigma system depnd on this kind of activity.



    As far as implementing six sigma is concerned, the depth is in identifying Rewards and Recognition’s for people. This can be done by implementing the concept of target and achievement. For example the target sigma to be performed is 4.5 and the person is at 6.0 sigma consistently he would be entitled for a reward which might in cash or thru a certificate of appreciation having the six sigma logo in it.



    Without the backing and 100% support of your top management , then six sigma will be virtually impossible to implement effectivly. Top management is needed to ensure that all aspects and people of the company are involved and all aspects used in six sigma are applied correctly and without bias also. I just dont see how any part of six sigma is capable of being effective without 100% backing and suppost of top management.



    You are exactly right.  Also, the Black Belts need to be impowered to review, approve and manage the implementation of the process improvements that the data reveals are required for Six Sigma.   My company recently implemented Six Sigma, but they are not empowering the Black Belt.  Only the Master Black Belts and the Six Sigma Program Implementation Manager can.  

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