iSixSigma

Is Six Sigma Failing?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Is Six Sigma Failing?

Viewing 62 posts - 1 through 62 (of 62 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #44514

    Annonymous
    Participant

    There is now actual evidence that many of the companies that have implemented Six Sigma have performed BELOW the Standard & Poor’s Index.  So is it really good for a business?

    0
    #142724

    mand
    Member

    I agree … evidence suggests that where it has succeeded it is the result of “The Hawthorne Effect” … More commonly it fails … from a previous thread:
    “In copiers and printers, Xerox ranks lower in quality than competitors Canon, Toshiba, and Hewlett-Packard, yet it proudly trumpets its Six Sigma legacy back to the 1980s. In wireless phones, quality varies by region, but Sprint PCS ranked highest only in the West; it tied in the Northeast with Verizon, which had “fewer problems experienced with static/interference.” Nonetheless, quality consultancy Six Sigma Systems cites Sprint as a major client.
    In boats (!), Larson Boats ranks last in a field of 11 companies that make express cruisers. It has two Six Sigma black belts on staff and boasts, “Quality isn’t something we add at the end of the line!” And in cars, Ford stayed below average in the recent Initial Quality Study, despite its companywide policy in 1999 to adopt . . . well, you-know-what. Once again, the highest quality ranking went to Toyota — a company that had to learn about Six Sigma from the CDU”

    0
    #142726

    Yoginder Parmar
    Member

    Six Sigma can not  do Magic in its own. There are lot other things that go along. Six Sigma helps you to identify the waste areas and reduce them systemetically.But if your basic business strategy is not in place and you do’nt have a vision, Six Sigma can not help this. We can not put blame on Six sigma of what mistakes companies had done in past with there basic business strategies and practices.Also if a company is doing well and they do not have six sigma practice, we can not say that six sigma is not important. rather six sigma can help that “Doing Well” company to further add some more dollars to its bottom line. Six Sigma initiative in a company can fail but a company can not go bankrupt because of Six Sigma.On the other hand, a company can be successful and profitable without six sigma (due to various factors) but six sigma can help it to do better futher
    Yoginder Parmar, MBB, SAP Labs

    0
    #142727

    zola cao
    Member

    Fully agree on Yoginder Parmar’s comment.

    0
    #142738

    Annonymous
    Participant

    Since many of the large companies that have implemented Six Sigma are below the S&P index, yet Six Sigma is known for its ability to drive verifiable cost savings, it would then appear that Six Sigma is an operational tool and not a strategic business tool. 
    This logic begs the question: “How can Six Sigma be used as an overarching business strategy to concurrently improve all the business indicators, not just one or two?”  Perhaps the answer to this question is the holy grail of business management and represents the “not guilty” verdict for Six Sigma.

    0
    #142739

    Duke Okes
    Participant

    Six Sigma (and lean) is purely an operational optimization technique.  It can help improve performance, but can’t guarantee that user companies will be topic in their industries.
    If I had to choose between having excellent operations vs. excellent strategy, I’d choose the latter.  And Six Sigma has nothing to do with strategy.

    0
    #142740

    Ajay Anand
    Participant

    Mr Parmar, I agree with your thoughts and vision.
    Six Sigma is a problem solving tool & Adopting six sigma can enhance your performance and can reduce the wastages but six sigma has  nothing to do with the company failure.
    Ajay Anand, BB, Samsung

    0
    #142749

    Adam
    Participant

    Although it sounds as if you have already made up your mind on Six Sigma, I thought I’d throw in my two cents for those lurkers that are looking for some insight.You stated that Toyota was doing so well, guess who originated Lean?At your company, you probably have a quality initiative in place. You may not call it Six Sigma, but I am willing to bet that most of the tools are similar. Six Sigma just packages these tools together in a nice way to have focused, customer driven, bottom line improvements. However, it’s only as good as it’s users. One of our biggest problems in the Navy is that most of our projects or events are not aligned correctly with true bottom line savings. The tools are used correctly, the process is done correctly, but the savings is all garbage funny money. Management uses it as a tool to make themselves look good, and before they even figure out what the problem is, they have the solution in mind. They just want to throw the six sigma logo on it because they know their bosses are counting on them to use the program. So what it really comes down to is this. If the Champion does not know how to align the projects correctly, or whoever makes the project decisions, then the program will go in every direction. Sometimes there will be a true cost savings, but most times the tools are being used to either save funny money, or for someone to implement an idea that they have been having based on gut feeling, or people just want to make their portion of a job better.I am pretty sure I haven’t changed your mind about anything. After all, you came onto a Six Sigma forum trying to tell us that it doesn’t really work. It’s pretty close to going to church and telling everyone there is no God. But anyway, good luck.

    0
    #142750

    Duke Okes
    Participant

    Your comment: You stated that Toyota was doing so well, guess who originated Lean?
    My reply:  Henry Ford was the first to initiate lean, and Japanese/Toyota learned much of it by studying U.S. companies (manufacturing, distribution).  And Toyota’s TPS is much more than lean, it’s a management philosophy that underpins everything they do.  For example, they will not make a significant number of design changes to an auto at the same time, whereas U.S. companies will create a totally different design (with increased risks of unintended consequences due to system complexity).
     
    Your comment: After all, you came onto a Six Sigma forum trying to tell us that it doesn’t really work.
    My reply:  Absolutely not.  I totally believe in Six Sigma as a process improvement tool.  I was doing the same thing with TRW back before Motorola even developed it (we called them task forces, and I was the project leader, not a glorified title such as Black Belt).  However, Six Sigma itself is not enough to guarantee that a firm will be a better performer than the S&P 500.  There are many complex relationships that impact overall business performance (e.g., strategy, operations, competitors, buyers, regulators, financial markets, commodity prices …), and I just think that too many people promote Six Sigma as being a holy grail.  It’s just a good organization of tools for process improvement.  Belts don’t make the difference.

    0
    #142751

    Duke,
    I don’t believe Ford invented Lean .. Here is a quote from the internet:
    —————————————————————-
    ” While Ford was first to introduce mass production in recent times, the idea was first developed in Venice several hundred years earlier, where ships were mass-produced using pre-manufactured parts, and assembly lines.
    The Venice Arsenal apparently produced nearly one ship every day, in what was effectively the world’s first factory that, at its height, employed 16,000 people.
    Books were already mass produced since Johannes Gutenberg’s Bible was published in the mid-1400s.
    During the American Civil War, the Springfield Armoury started to mass produce guns, using interchangeable parts on a large scale. For this reason, even to this day the term ‘Armoury Practice’ is used in the USA to refer to mass production.
    During the Industrial Revolution simple mass production techniques were used at the Portsmouth Block Mills to manufacture ships’ pulley blocks for the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. It was also used in the manufacture of clocks and watches, and in the manufacture of small arms”
    ———————————————————
    Regards,
    Andy
     
     

    0
    #142752

    Adam
    Participant

    Taiichi Ohno developed Lean by studying Henry Ford’s mass production system. I wouldn’t credit Henry Ford for the foundation of Lean, but I would consider it a contribution. My statement was made because of what Sam had quoted form a previous thread:”And in cars, Ford stayed below average in the recent Initial Quality Study, despite its companywide policy in 1999 to adopt . . . well, you-know-what. Once again, the highest quality ranking went to Toyota — a company that had to learn about Six Sigma from the CDU”As far as Six Sigma being the holy grail, I agree with you to an extent. Six Sigma is not THE answer for everyone. Although, all of the tools encompased in the Six Sigma package can really be applied anywhere in an organization and create improvements. Aligning those improvements to the overall business goals, and creating a true and complete process improvement culture are keys to success and failure of the Six Sigma program.

    0
    #142753

    Hans
    Participant

    Let’s take a look at the original thread, i.e. the poorly worded proposition, the flawed logic of supporting the argument and the poverty of the empirical evidence to support the “claim”.
    1. There is no clearly stated researchable proposition (What claim does the author wants to substantiate?). Six Sigma doesn’t work? Is worse than TPS? …
    2. There are no clearly defined constructs that could be related to each other: How is Six Sigma defined? What is the criterion of success vs. failure of the initiative?
    3. There is no null and alternative hypothesis (surprise, surprise as there are implications than explications of propositions, no construct definitions …)
    4. The evidence to support the “claim” is at best best on “casual observations”, i.e. three case studies. How they relate to the claim is totally open.
    5. The criterion measurement “success” is not defined. (Standard & Poor is a contaminated measurement (what if a company generates 80% of its business overseas, improves its processes via Six Sigma with a bottom line impact, but the conversion back into the homeland wipes out these benefits due to exchange rate issues?)).
    6. The model itself is oversimplistic because it does not even consider the effect of moderating or mediating effects in the causal relationship of the two poorly defined constructs. Six Sigma -> Success/Failue?
    In summary, the author of the original thread still has to go a long way to go between posting a note on an internet blog and publishing in a peer-reviewed article. The claim is equivalent to the poorly worded questions that some of the posters get chided for so rightfully.
    As Wittgenstein said: Be silent of what you cannot talk about.

    0
    #142757

    Roy Hickman
    Member

    Hans has a good point. Don’t people write awful trash when given a forum!
    The pre-eminence in consistent quality attainmment by Japanese manufacturers goes back to two elements:
    1. Japanese business has proven adept at working seriously on unexciting matters like quality when they are signposted that way (Deming’s work in Japan). They are not good at innovating, but they are darned good copiers, and improvers.
    2. Social interaction in business. Japanese workers believe that they have a stake in the company and it’s performance through their daily work. Jack Welch would be an unnecessary overhead in Japan, because people work with honour and committment  there.
    The west needs to understand that 6Sigma success hinges on the attitude of employees, and not on a “program”. To plagerise and adapt Kennedy: “Ask not what your Company can do for you, but rather what you can do for your Company” 

    0
    #142762

    Eric Maass
    Participant

    Hans,
    You make some very good points!
    Thanks – I really enjoy reading your posts!
    Best regards,Eric MaassMotorola

    0
    #142768

    Peppe
    Participant

    Hans,   It’s quite strange that you quote Wittgenstein and wrote that things. The original poster simply highlighted sixsigma as one (not the only) contributors that is common to companies that not achieved S&P rate (S&P is like a ‘stantard’ widely recognized). Can you say  it isn’t true ? Are that companies using sixsigma or not ?  Which is the probability that it’s due just a case or it is a real cause ? You didn’t explaned which  are the real causes of companies lower rate, so your ‘logical analisys’ no make sense and have nothing to do with Wittgenstein. 
    Rgs, Peppe

    0
    #142772

    vikkee
    Member

    This is indeed a touchy subject.Six Sigma has been known to be a spectacular success someplaces and an abrupt failure elsewhere.As has been pointed out by many previous posters, Six Sigma envisaged stategically and executed operationally will bring in the results. If control charts are used to decorate your desktops or please the bosses ….. we know what happens.
    I am not an advocate of using stock market indices to either glorify ( I read a book somewhere) or villify a quality improvement program.Stock market indices are always macroeconomic indicators; there are far too many factors at play. A better indicator of the performance of these so-called “Six Sigma” companies would be their QoQ results. If the trend of the results stagnates or drops off.. .yes, I would agree that there is something wrong, not with Six Sigma, but the people handling it.

    0
    #142774

    Julian
    Participant

    I have seen a number of studies up to the end of 1990s which show how Six Sigma improved stock value, earnings per share etc. And when this was the case, every 6 Sigma guru was happy to use this evidence.
    I truly believe that great 6 Sigma companies can still outperform the indeces in troubled times and we, in the 6 Sigma profession, shouldn’t explain away data we don’t like with ‘unexplained market influences’.
    Six Sigma has been poorly implemented in many companies – which may have a negative impact when analysing the whole market
    Every company is trying to improve and although they may not be 6 sigma companies, they are probably still improving at an equivalent rate.
    I do believe that 6 Sigma has some advantages but it is impossible to prove what I describe as the ‘incremental value add’ of the programme i.e. what would the improvements have been if we had done the same things without Six Sigma.  Until we can prove this, we’ll never really understand it’s impact
    Julian

    0
    #142777

    EdG
    Participant

    Peppe,
    The original poster made a vague statement as fact but did not include reference, any companies as a “for example”, nor justification.  Hans appeared to only be pointing this out.  Your response to Hans then asks him to justify his identification of this.
    I could just as easily state, “studies have shown that companies that consistently performed well vs the S&P have their walls painted blue.”  Is the onus on everyone to prove me wrong or me to provide facts and data to substantiate the claim?  Or at least reference the studies I state as gospel so that others can review and come to their own conclusion?
    Just food for thought…

    0
    #142779

    Brit
    Participant

    Julian:
    “Every company is trying to improve and although they may not be 6 sigma companies, they are probably still improving at an equivalent rate.”
    You don’t really believe this, do you? Every company does not try to improve – some are very complacent and rest on whatever invention-driven laurels they started with.  My humble opinion – if companies don’t focus on some improvement methodology, they won’t improve at an equivalent rate.  For mine, lean six sigma has worked nicely.  For others, toc, tqm, iso, etc. might be the means to their ends.

    0
    #142783

    Elbrin
    Participant

      I am surprised everyday at the number of so called “Certified” Six Sigma Black Belts, Green Belts and Master Black Belts that don’t understand the most basic principles of Quality Improvement.  Add to that the absolutely inept leadership so prevalent in American business today, and you have the situations alluded to previously in this thread.
    Even now with American business challenged on all fronts both or culture and leadership style are abhorrent of quality improvement.  We are so quick to sacrifice what we know to be of long term benefit for immediate satisfaction.  Even though that we know that immediate satisfaction will have to be paid for three times over.
    Many of the companies I see Six Sigma being adopted in today grasp at it as a last straw attempt to curb the downward spiral of their stock price.  As if it were a life preserver only to be used in the most dire circumstances.
    If you understand nothing else about quality improvement know these:
    Continuous Improvement is not a cost cutting strategy it is a growth strategy.
    It takes bold, by example type leadership to implement.
    Stop taking common cause action on assignable cause.
    You say, “I know that, that is taught the first day of GB training,”  Yes it is.  But I see these three precepts ignored by business leaders too often, including current and former GE guys who tout their knowledge of Six Sigma to all who will listen.

    0
    #142784

    Hans
    Participant

    Peppe,
    I cannot comment on literature that someone is obviously not familiar with. In addition, I will not give a whole PhD curriculum on research desgin, measurement theory and inferential logic on a blog on the internet. You’ll have to do your own investment in time and money.
    Strange quote? That is Ludwig’s most often cited quote? And no, I have no interest in cleaning up the mess. I leave that to other academics who are interested in this field. I just read the stuff and get a big smile over the convoluted arguments, the fuzzy logic, and the insufficient research desgins to “explain which are the real causes of companies lower rate”. In regards to the S&P argument, please read Campbell and Stanley (1963). It will contain everything you will need to know about the fuzziness of the S&P issue. 
     As I said previously: Sprich klar worueber Du reden kanns, und schweige wovon Du nicht reden kann (Schopenhauer’s fourth book in “Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” may help you in understanding the hidden message in this last phrase of the Tractatus, and why Wittgenstein changed his opinion in “Philosophische Untersuchungen”.
    Regards.  

    0
    #142785

    jtomac01
    Participant

    What is interesting is this is based upon the S&P. Here is an interesting thought, maybe the S&P or the companies that are performing better on the S&P really do not know how “good or bad” they are actually doing.  During my previous stint as a consultant I have found most companies have no clue how as to the accuracy or precision of their metrics or financial numbers i.e. they can throw up what they want & hide the underlying facts & data.  So the question is maybe the Lean Six Sigma companies are underperforming because they are the only ones who have reliable gauges?
    Good question to post.

    0
    #142825

    Hans
    Participant

    Welcome, I appreciate it. Also, I saw your extremely impressive bio … even though your expert background can be gathered just from your comments on this site!

    0
    #142827

    Elvis Meng
    Participant

    It does not matter with what you call those quality improvement programs. At least Six Sigam provides a better way to improve the bottom line. You can regard Six Sigam as a framework of management. It can integrate with BSC, TRIZ, etc. It particularly emphasized on improving quality, cost, and speed to satisfy customers. Is it very simple?
    Most CEOs do not understand the spirit of Six Sigma. They could not strongly support Six Sigma activities. If a CEO has an ability to coach members, I believe that his company will be successful. He knows how to get a correct VOC and make a good decision. Six Sigma includes the leadership, isn’t it?
    Don’t blame on Six Sigma if company cannot get improved. Soft skills are also very important than those tools to make company successful.

    0
    #142830

    Peppe
    Participant

    Hans, I’m sorry and I apologies if I answered you so stupidly, but I wasn’t aware of your references and your culture. Just a courtesy from you, for the future add your titles to your posts, so that anyone is aware about your culture and can evaluate better if answer or not.  Apologies again for your time spent to answer me.
    Sincerely yours, Peppe.
    PS. I never imagine you was so confidential with Wittgenstein (you call him by name).

    0
    #142831

    Hans,
    I found your post of particular interest as I believe ‘rational argument’ seems to be in decline. During the formative years of Six Sigma, in contrary to what one actually reads, many of the engineers and managers championing Six Sigma at Motorola, Austin, were very interested in a book called “Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance.” As you’re probably aware, one of the principles in this book is “you known it when you see it.”
    More to the point, in arguments, such as the one you’re commenting on, we should ask if the use of an ‘innocent’ null hypothsis is correct.
    In my view, it would seem there is subtance on both sides of the argument, therefore we should adopt a “Fuzzy Logic” approach and havae more than bivariate logic – perhaps trivariate in this case. If we do this then surely we might consider the possibility of having a “neutral” null hypothesis rather than an “innocent” null hypothesis. In other words, we ought to consider the possibility that the argument has some merit on both sides.
    As to the argument itself, having worked for Motorola (when it was successful) and Fujifilm, I think few people understand either Six Sigma or Lean. After all when you ‘clothe’ something in scientific managment tools it doesn’t really change the nature of the edifice.
    As a ‘philosopher’ you will understand the importance of breaking each theory down into a number of ‘postulates’ or principles.
    So what are the basic principles behind Six Sigma, Lean, and TPS?
    Six Sigma seems to be predicated on the assumption of a natural, process capability.
    Lean (Womachs) seems to be predicated on value-stream optimization.
    TPS seems to be predicated on ‘one-by one confirmation, which includes process excellence (the Six Sigma principle) and Value-stream optimization due to the requirement of  ‘ikko nagashi’ for one-by-one confirmation.
    Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that TPS is out-gunning everyone, since it includes the other two :-)
    Best regards,
    Andy

    0
    #142832

    gutierrez
    Participant

    First of all: where is the data to prove that Six Sigma companies are performing below S&P 500?
    Six Sigma by itself does not change a company behaviour. The problem is that a lot of times people look to Six Sigma as an holy tool that will solve everyone problem!!!! Management is an art where you must balance strategy, innovation and operations. On the operational side, for sure Six Sigma when correctely applied and combined with Lean with a strong focus on bottom line results, is a tremendous tool. I saw it on GE. Another big mistake that some organisations apply Six Sigma only to the Quality area!!!! That narrows completely the potential impact of the initiative. 

    0
    #142850

    Adam
    Participant

    I have found in the Navy that the most common cause for any real returns with our CPI’s is poor project selection.  People use the tools and trademark to implement ideas they already have or to try and make their life better, yet they have a stovepipe perspective and have no idea what goes on through the full value stream.  Most events are pretty much a waste of time in my opinion. At first it was OK so everyone could get the hang of the improvement tools, but now it’s time to get a return for our money.  People do not see it that way though.  Projects are done to make people look good, not improve business.  It really bugs me when we get a charter without a real problem statement and a sloution written on it. 
    Is this pretty much how the civilian world is?  I’m getting out of the Navy in a few months and I was looking forward to getting away from this, but it seems like this may be a common problem.

    0
    #142852

    Hans
    Participant

    Peppe,
    Apologies fully accepted. A very “classy” response!
    As for culture, I always thought the name gave it away plus the sometimes “Germanic” grammatical and other errors. But never make assumptions.
    As for title(s): I firmly believe that it is the argument and the support of an argument (be it logical or empirical) that is important, not the title. There are more people without titles than with titles whose points of views have true merits. Also, a title only counts to the degree that it shows some level of subject-matter expertise in a specific area. There are areas where my “titles” don’t give me any authority whatsoever. I tend to treat my input on those subject-matters as “doxa” (opinion) rather than “episteme” (knowledge). And disliking “sophism” I’d rather be silent about them.
    Again, thanks for a class-act response. Warm regards.

    0
    #142853

    Monk
    Participant

    Hi,
    My experince with Six-Sigma has taught me that it is the responsibility of the top management to ensure that six-sigma is not misused.
    The culture in an organization forms the basis for initiating as well as sustaining the improvement program. A typical six-sigma program is aimed to acheive atleast 70% improvement. Now…when this expectation is set, the top management have to ensure that proper work culture is prevailing in the organization. There are times, when a organization which does not have a proper ‘Balnace score card’ also initiates the six-sigma program. So, how do u expect the six-sigma program to succeed, when employees re not able to related to their deliverables….whose fault is it …the management or the six-sigma tool.
    Ti summarise, six-sigma is a tool / approach that can help us to do things in a systematic manner. But if the use doesnot know how to use it or uses it the wrong way, we cannot blame the tool.
    Monk

    0
    #142854

    Hans
    Participant

    Andy,
    Thanks for your response. What you call “trivariate” logic actually has a name: “triangulation”. It is a research approach that was advocated by Campbell and Fiske in the 1960s and is heavily used in educational research when true experimentation is not feasible. However, there still is a difference between working within the parameters of such a softer approach to “program” evaluations, than throwing out sentences and supporting them with highly dubious empirical evidence.
    But yes, you are correct, “trivariate” logic or “triangulation” is probably the best alternative that we have to evaluate if “Six Sigma fails?”. But than again, it takes some intellectual rigor and effort to execute a research program based on this approach.
    Regards

    0
    #142856

    Hans,
    Thanks for the insights ..
    Cheers,
    Andy

    0
    #142908

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Hans,
    Sorry for coming in late on this one. Very nice response. I particularly like #2 not only for the lack of definition of success but the measurement system as well.
    #6 reminded me of a story about a person who could not understand why he was getting drunk every night. He decided to conduct an experiment. The first night he mixed bourbon and coke (that is the generic use of coke so we do not offend), drank several drinks and passed out. The second night he mixed rum and coke (for our Miami cousins), drank several drinks and passed out. The third night he mixed brandy and coke (for our South African friends), drank several drinks and passed out. On the fourth day he analized the data and determined that the coke was getting him drunk because it was common to all three nights.
    There is almost as large a gap between commonality and cause and effect as the the gap between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
    Regards

    0
    #142909

    Hans
    Participant

    Mike,
    Good to hear from you again! You second bullet is a keeper :-)))). Thanks for cheering up my day even more. Warm regards!

    0
    #142910

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Hans,
    One of our customers received recognition earlier this year and the business is getting very busy. Mixed emotions and difficult decisions.
    Glad I could cheer you up.
    Regards

    0
    #142983

    Vicki
    Member

    nothing is ever perfect. I beleive there is more to LSS than let it work magic by itself. It seems what projects are chosen and what measurements are used is crtical to its success. I do not think it is the methodolgy that is failing but our approach in certain implementations may leave open ended questions…

    0
    #142989

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Vicki,
    Six Sigma as a methodology cannot fail. When you calculate a mean, standard deviation, confidence interval, etc. it will always produce exactly what the formula is designed to produce. A hypothesis test will always provide an answer to the hypothesis. The failure in the tools will always be if the wrong tool is selected. That is a failure in the application not the methodology.
    I left Motorola in 1992 to manufacture bowling balls with about 5 other people from Motorola. We applied the same things we had done there and they worked just as well – a 33% increase in output with 25% less people. I eventually left the bowling ball company to work in an automatic transmission parts manufacturing company that had all the automotive certifications and a “mature” SPC program. SQE’s loved it because they had over 1000 automated SPC charts. Most were constantly out of control because of chart selection, sampling, etc. Does that mean that SPC fails? No the tool works as well as it always has. The implementation of SPC was horrific. Six Sigma is no different. The tools will work as long as they are the correct tools.
    The success or failure of the deployment is really the question and that has nothing to do with the methodology. A deployment is more than doing projects. It is doing the correct projects, being able to implement the solutions, quantify benefits, and communicate the results of the program to the organization so that they learn to appreciate the potential of the program and create a pull from the organization for SS trained resources. Any deployment that does not select a project that adds value to the organization or a project that does not get implemented is additional COPQ. Those are implementation issues that have nothing to do with the methodology.
    If you look at what happened to TQM it had nothing to do with the tools no longer working. It became training focused led frequently by people who chose to make it an esoteric exercise and were never getting involved and demonstrating results. There have been countless posts about people who claim they have put millions of dollars on the bottom line with TQM. If that were true would management walk away from something that was making they appear successful to implement something else that they probably did not understand? That represents a risk most managers would not take.
    Six Sigma is evloving into the same type program in many cases. We occasionally get post from an author of a book that has a non-math approach to Six Sigma! Where is the logic in that? The interesting part is there is a piece of the market that wants to say they are doing Six Sigma they just don’t want to be bothered with the hard stuff of learning tools and what to do with the output. Look at how many people busy themselves with the “we are different” and “those tolls don’t have anything to do with our type of business” rather than looking for where there is application and case studies. Lots more of those that love Deming but duck that Obstacle to Improvement thing that says case studies have no value – they teach nothing. Selectively following Deming?
    The number of posts that ask about certification are a pretty good indicator that it is taking the same turn TQM took. Gaging the success or failure of Six Sigma deployments based on GE’s current state is a pretty narrow inference band. First it was implemented originally with the intention that it faded into becoming “way we work.” That has become successful to varying degrees inside GE just as it had at Motorola.
    It is following the Watts Wacker model amazingly close as it moves to becoming social convention.
    Just my opinion.
    Good luck.
    PS: There you go Stevo another long one. This one is courtesy of antihistamine induced insomnia.

    0
    #143013

    Vicki
    Member

    to clarify what I am saying…after some research out in the field….when lss is fails in an organization it is because the BB or LSS lead has not chosed the correct tools or diagnostics accuratly not because of lss itself.

    0
    #143024

    Williams
    Member

    Here’s a good example of how it’s failing:
    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll…TO01/609040366
    Sept 04 2006Key points:- Ford Motor Co. recruits quality expert Kathi Hanley away from Toyota Motor Corp.-Trained on the vaunted Toyota quality system, Hanley pored over the Edge and found more than 70 significant issues and hundreds of minor concerns.-Her frank assessment, laid out in a detailed memo, helped set in motion an intense effort by Ford to bring the Edge up to world-class quality and still launch it on time this fallThe question might be asked how the faults occurred in a company like Ford overflowing with thousands of black belts ?  Toyota of course does not use six sigma !

    0
    #143029

    Walter,
    I tried to follow the link you provided but an error occured.
    I’m particularly interested in this subject as TPS also uses ‘process excellence: But it would seem something is missing from ‘Six Sigma.’ My guess is it a lack of consideration of bivariate and multivariate defects.
    Of course, ‘one by one’ confirmation of TPS and process self-assurance detect these types of defects rapidly using Jidoka, which is why so much emphasis is based on waste reduction, and stopping the line. Nothing focusses the mind of a production manager more than the numbers – especially at the end of the month; therefore, why not use this as a means for harnessing corrective action. At least this was my experience in a Japanese company.
    Regards,
    Andy

    0
    #146471

    Williams
    Member

    Here’s the correct link:
    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060904/AUTO01/609040366
    I’m sure Ford would not have been amused. I’ve seen a figure for Ford of a $6 million training license from Six Sigma Academy but I have no idea what it covered. Ford had a target of training 10,000 black belts. I’ve also seen lots of figures quoted for black belt training, of up to $40,000 or more. This could take Ford’s training costs for black belts alone to $400,000,000.
    … and they get a banger for their bucks !

    0
    #146487

    qualitycolorado
    Participant

    Regarding the topic “is Six Sigma failing”:  I have been working in process and quality improvement for more years than I care to admit to.  I have experienced successes, as well as a few less-than-fully-successful efforts. In my experiences with Six Sigma, Lean, simple PDCA, etc., it has not been the “technical” side of the effort that is most prone to failure; it is the people side (change management, change leadership).  Most articles that discuss the failures of Six Sigma (or Lean, or TQM, etc) tend to neglect this. Additionally, most Six Sigma training that I have seen gives very little attention to effective change leadership. I highly recommend that all Six Sigma Black Belts, Green Belts, Champions, etc. (and Lean Masters, TQM practitioners, and all our other process improvement kin) immerse themselves in the better information out there about change management / change leadership.  Several books by John Kotter are very good (“The Heart of Change” and “Leading Change”).  Additionally, the Change Management Leadership Center (http://www.change-management.com/webinars.htm) has some terrific information, including its highly-informative (and free!) webinar series.
     

    0
    #146490

    QualityMissouri
    Participant

    QualityColorado,
    I couldn’t agree more with you!!! In addition, I would like to add that once an organization has emerged, it gets a life of its own. Some organizations are more apt at adapting and changing than others. This has been variously called “Learning organization”, “Organizational Readiness” etc. In the end, it comes down to getting consensus and a shared vision. The challenge is to incorporate Six Sigma into that vision. The core challenge for Six Sigma is to bridge the gap between its very logical and data driven problem and decision-making approach, and implement it in an environment that embraces the logic of politics, group think and invidual motives. That’s where science leaves us and art becomes our best friend. Great post!

    0
    #146675

    Williams
    Member

    Here’s some more SS failures:
    From “Six Sigma Stigma”:
    “Not long ago, in its global pursuit of the Truth, the Consultant Debunking Unit (CDU) journeyed to Japan for a tour of the car-making facility in Toyota City. Guided by engineers, we heard a lot about the legendary quality of Toyota’s vehicles. Eager to show we knew a thing or two about quality ourselves, we soft-balled our hosts with the obvious question: “When did Toyota start using Six Sigma, anyway?”
    Long silence. After some awkward consultation in Japanese, the engineers asked us, “What is Six Sigma?”
    In copiers and printers, Xerox ranks lower in quality than competitors Canon, Toshiba, and Hewlett-Packard, yet it proudly trumpets its Six Sigma legacy back to the 1980s. In wireless phones, quality varies by region, but Sprint PCS ranked highest only in the West; it tied in the Northeast with Verizon, which had “fewer problems experienced with static/interference.” Nonetheless, quality consultancy Six Sigma Systems cites Sprint as a major client.
    In boats (!), Larson Boats ranks last in a field of 11 companies that make express cruisers. It has two Six Sigma black belts on staff and boasts, “Quality isn’t something we add at the end of the line!” And in cars, Ford stayed below average in the recent Initial Quality Study, despite its companywide policy in 1999 to adopt . . . well, you-know-what. Once again, the highest quality ranking went to Toyota — a company that had to learn about Six Sigma from the CDU. “

    0
    #146677

    Prabhanjan
    Participant

    Hi
    Before one really comments on six sigma one thoroughly needs to understand what six sigma is all about. You would be sub conciously using all the six sigma techniques while doing a lot of data analysis and subsequent improvements. You may either call it six sigma or by any other name. The same is the case with Toyata.In many organizations six sigma practiotioners are hesitant to use the term ” six sigma” because they forsee buy in issues and hence they come out with a different name but would still use all the techniques that a normal six sigma practioctner would use. There is no such thing as ” six sigma does not tell us to do this way”.

    0
    #146678

    Prabhanjan
    Participant

    Hi
    Needless to say Six sigma implementation is successful only if it is a top down approach. The leadership has to drive it. Otherwise instead of improving it can turn from Bad to worse. There are many companies e.g GE etc where the six sigma initiative has yeilded excellent results because it was driven by the business heads and not by some quality executive who has no say in business matters. For those of you who think that companies deploying six sigma are performing poorly, pls research on why it failed rather than drawing dumb conclusions.
     

    0
    #146680

    Williams
    Member

    GE is not a good example of a SS success.  “GE want to outsource 70% of their production to become profitable. Customer satisfaction levels have dropped since the introduction of 6 sigma”
    Good leadership is essential for any program.  Deming discussed this at great length.  The problem with six sigma is that it is built on such poor foundations.

    0
    #146683

    systhinc
    Member

    This is an important thread and we should discuss this thoroughly. It was just such questions (Is TQM Dead) that disheartened and disillusioned many quality professionals in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I was a Quality Engineer and Manager in those days, and throughout the discussions and the negative articles about how Ford and GMs quality gains were not sustainable, I repeated the Deming model with great success in a small (50M) company. I added a six sigma module (based on the early Motorala 1x 3x 10x 30x) and more success. Projects were linked to strategy and executed and tracked. We did it because we believed in our company and ourselves. TQM was working.Our success was noticed, we were purchased, and in came the consultants who began “implementing” a model which was linked to nothing but the model. In a few years, the business no longer existed.Six Sigma is not failing, but leadership is. In public companies, the key to success a combination of CAGR and attractiveness and a continuously improving RONA or ROCA or EVA. The strategy, then, can only center around growth and profitability and their enablers. In some companies, which understand the relationship between growth and employee satisfaction, leadership development becomes a strategy as well. When projects are aligned with strategy, good things happen. When the become more of a cost cutting program, bad things happen. Six Sigma is working fine in many companies, combined with Lean, and New Product Developement, and Hoshin Kanri, TQM is alive and well and producing results.

    0
    #146684

    gutierrez
    Participant

    Hi fellows,
    Even inside the same organization (GE, Toyota and others) you see good and bad examples of  aplication of Lean/Six Sigma/TQM/others tools. There is no magic. The implementation is Key and it is related with so many variables that we cannot say SS or Lean were a failure. Let me share with you one experience that I had:
    I’ve worked in a US steel processing company that decides to transfer the business from my country to Chezk Republic. It was a tough business with low margins but we were profitable mainly due to our process flow. So, strategically, they decide to make the transfer in order to save some money (main reason were the labor costs). Although, they forgot one thing which was to transfer the concept!!!! They didn’t implement the same flow!!! Result: 3 years after, they still continue to loose money in the Chezk factory.
    This is a true example that even in the same organization/businesses the implementation is KEY.
     

    0
    #146689

    Dr. Eugene Jacquescoley
    Participant

    This is an intriguing question and possibly, an interesting  assumption. Standard and Poor’s provides services in credit ratings, indices, equity research, risk solutions, funds and data servcies. So it seems formidable for one to consider this organization as the premier benchmark (in terms of quantitative and qualitative success, while examing the financial health of an organization).
    But the motivation of this question actually [in my opinion] alludes to failed deployment of Six Sigma initiatives to organizations that have never been exposed to this type of methodology before. According to Fred Mullavey of Sypris Test and Measurement, there has been a misconception that Six Sigma only belongs to the manufacturing environment and as a result, miseducation regarding the principles of Six Sigma have lead to failure at many organizations. Moreover, there is also the issue of culture change from “top” to “bottom”, which is not an easy endeavor. If leadership does not buy into a particular initiative, there is no chance of success for that organization.
    Getting back to the Standard and Poor’s: The question that should have been entertained-How does Standard & Poor’s utilize their Data Service business lines to understand the impact of Six Sigma initiatives and an organization’s bottom line. This is not an easy feat to accomplish. Standard & Poor’s has several performance indices to consider and market patterns have become too complex as of late. In this complexity, how can the Quality Improvement community be assured that Standard and Poor’s is asking the right questions, probing the right data, and making appropriate correlations as it relates to this question. In my opinion, the answer neither black or white. But, there should be considerable attention to the grey area.
     

    0
    #146693

    Adam
    Participant

    Excellent post!

    0
    #146696

    systhinc
    Member

    Eduardo makes an excellent point.  In the ’90s, when we were transferring a lot of automotive work to Mexico, we lost a lot of money because the work and the equipment were transferred, but not the knowledge.  In any outsourcing effort, the key is to have a technology transfer plan in place which includes documentation, training, and metrics to determine the effectives of the transfer.  It might help to use learning curves as well, to determine how long it might be before you get to break even!!

    0
    #157362

    Jonathon Andell
    Participant

    I think you really hit the nail on the head here. Without the change management piece, most DMAIC projects actually fizzle after DMA. Just because an organization places a bunch of “a**es in classes” doesn’t mean they have positioned themselves to improve a darn thing. Such situations provide the fodder for the Wall Street Journal author, and Dilbert, and all the other detractors.

    0
    #157364

    Gopal Ranjan
    Participant

    I completely agree with Dr Eugene’s observation. It is very difficult to seea correlation between quality of Six Sigma deployment and the prrformance. I don’t see anything wrong with the Six Sigma as a methodology, however its degree and quality of application may vary depending on who is applying it where and how. Blaming a methodology and bunking it as a failed methodology because of execution failures is unfair. It is similar to saying that the nuclear energy has failed the welfare of humankind just because someone decided to   drop two nuclear bombs on Japan.
     

    0
    #157381

    SteveJ
    Member

    Excellent points.
    I would add further that Six Sigma can do as much harm as good (think about that) if the organization is not ready culturally. Make no mistake, many companies abandon Six Sigma because it is too expensive, too complex, and not understood at one or more levels of the organization. I could cite example after example of companies where Six Sigma became either the pig with makeup on it or a walking, talking Hawthorne Effect in action. Very ugly stuff.
     

    0
    #157382

    Mikel
    Member

    Doc Jacques,Good to see you weighing in on the subject. I find your website and
    publications fascinating. The only thing I missed was your
    qualifications to be providing Six Sigma. For a person who publishes
    on such a wide range of topics – from AIDS to pmping Microsoft – I
    am impressed you had time to become a SS expert as well!
    Congratulations and I look formward to seeing your contruibution.

    0
    #187813

    Ronald
    Participant

    If six sigma does not provide value enhancing causation, then why should any company spend the time and effort?  Those that claim six sigma saved Dupont $3 billion are mis-led, are you suggesting they wouldn’t have achieved any cost reduction without six sigma and what was the ROI on that six sigma investment?   While Dupont was reducing cost by $3 billion what happend to their stock price?  Where’s the innovation and competitiveness?   Those that claim $3 billion in cost savings is somehow a justification of on-going erosion of a once great company are indeed mis-led!
    Stop the chest-beating black belts and create businesses which are sustainable and globally competitive, then you’ll deserve some credit.  Taking a 6-week on-line stats course is not worthy of accolade.  If six sigma is not related to the stock performance, profiability and value of a company, then why do it? 
     
     
     

    0
    #187814

    Taylor
    Participant

    Lee
    Sounds to me like you are the one mis-led.

    0
    #187816

    Mikel
    Member

    Chad,I have to agree with Lee about Dupont That Don Linsenmann guy out
    there taking all sorts of credit for Dupont is an empty suit.

    0
    #187820

    Severino
    Participant

    You are absolutely right.  There isn’t a single shred of value in educating your workforce, arming them with tools and knowledge to solve complicated business problems and providing a framework for identifying and executing continuous improvement activities.  It is a far better strategy to stand at the helm and yell to your crew “innovate or else!”  Thank you for setting the record straight.

    0
    #187823

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    Replying to a 3+ year old post.  Talk about being an outlier!

    0
    #187828

    Valenti
    Participant

    Lee, SS is not the end-all, be-all. It is, however, a methodology that accomplishes what it says it can accomplish when properly applied.
    That said, to run and maintain a successful business it takes a myriad of skill sets; from engineering to IT to HR to Fin & Acctg to Innovation to XXXXX. So simmer down!

    0
Viewing 62 posts - 1 through 62 (of 62 total)

The forum ‘General’ is closed to new topics and replies.