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  • #34238

    Herodotous
    Participant

    My company has decided, albeit informally, to pursue a continous improvement program tailored after Six Sigma, TQM, Problem Analysis/Decision Making, etc. approaches.  The CEO wants this new initiative to be different and his legacy once he is gone.
    I am a Six Sigma Black Belt and have tried to convince him of the advantages of this approach to no avail, so I now must come up with a brand new approach to quality, however, I can’t scape the hold that Six Sigma has on me.
    It is still very early in the game so the plan can be shape in any way we want, but I still insist in that the framework has to be based on Six Sigma and that we can’t completely disassociate the new approach from existing ones, even if the ultimate goal is to leave a legacy.
    Any suggestions to this very broad position?

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    #94016

    Divdar
    Participant

    Wow, good question.  The first thing that pops into mind is to look at LEAN manufacturing.  Six Sigma is tied to this closely and might have the right message for the legacy.  If not, the six sigma tools can work well with any continuous improvement program.  Good luck.

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    #94019

    Arend
    Participant

    Dear Herodotus,
    After giving it some thought, I think your situation is really not a problem but a unique opportunity. What you have on hand is a CEO who wants to implement a quality program, and has a very high identification level with it. Clearly he needs it to be a big succes. His key interest wouldn’t be to create a legacy that becomes a hopeless failure. This is a great opportunity for you to come in with your knowledge, as long as you manage to put aside your dislike about the possible ego-inflation part of it. More often than not, implementing a quality program is an uphill battle, but in your case it is not. Even better, you might just be the guy to realize his ‘ultimate personal goal’, which puts you in a perfect position to also realize yours if you are smart. I couldn’t think of a better possible win-win situation.
    I agree with you that it might not be such a good idea to come up with a shiny new approach that nobody ever thought of before. Apart from being unrealisticly hard to achieve that, you probably bump into  acceptance problems, maybe even with the same CEO, because of a total lack of previous sucesses.
    My advise would be to check carefully what the CEO’s dislikes about existing quality programs really are, so you can tailor the “new” program to overcome these objections and at the mean time keep all the good stuff from 6Sigma and other approaches. This goes much deeper than it might seem at first. A tailor-made program might just achieve more buy-in and support in the company than a standard program.
    Even if it really is just ego inflation, so be it. As long as it helps in getting a good quality program that the CEO actively supports to be implemented, you are also a winner. Remember that a 6Sigma program will never ever work without top-level support.
    kind regards,
    Arend

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    #94028

    Michael Schlueter
    Participant

    Arend,
    Good idea.
     
    Herodotus,
    Arend’s idea is called “creating a towing bi-system” in TRIZ (Tactics to Resolve Inventive Zituations; from Russia).
    System 1 comprises everything which your CEO will support, to achieve his goal. System 2 is your Six Sigma knowledge.
    So think of ways to turn your CEO’s system 1 into reality (so far it’s effectively working in his mind) – and add doses of Six Sigma in a way that people will want Six Sigma more and more.
    In inventive situations sytem 1 many times is the old system, which means the known and accepted one. E.g. centuries ago sails were accepted to be appropriate to propel ships. System 2 is the new one, the unkonwn and suspected one. E.g. using motors to propel a ship were thought to be inappropriate or ‘demonic’ at that time.
    What happend is this: a class of ships appeared, which combined both systems. Sails dominated, while motors were also on board. The accepted system 1 “sails” towed the suspicious system 2 “motor” into design, making motors more acceptable.
    As a result the combination of both systems became more powerful. Over time sails more and more disappeared and motors more and more dominated. You still can see niche products of sails on ships: tiny flags.

    The sails function (to propel, i.e to convert [wind-] energy into motion energy) was transferred to another resource (to propel, i.e. converting [fuel] energy into motion energy). – While the sails auxilliary function (movement of sail in wind) was mantained and converted into a main function of the niche flags (movement of flag in wind).
    BTW, the first towing bi-systems for ships already appeared which combine diesel motors with jet-fan engines … So will your towing bi-system for Six Sigma.
    Best regards, Michael Schlueter

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    #94054

    DaveG
    Participant

    If you decide to bail because you can’t think outside DMAIC, please give me your CEO’s name and phone number.

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    #94055

    Herodotous
    Participant

    Arend — Thank you for your input.  Yes, I agree that one of my first tasks is to find out exactly what the CEO likes and dislikes about existing systems.  I know that part of his apprehension with 6Sigma is the possible conflict with cGMPs as dictated by the FDA (we are a pharmaceutical company), but I also think it goes beyond this.
    One thing is clear, he wants something done to address quality beyond that addressed by cGMPs.  Even though I praised the advantages of 6Sigma to him, his response was “Everyone is doing it.  I want something different that people can identify with me.”  Wow, what an ego trip!  Anyway, I also agreed with your assessment that I am now in a unique situation, abel to mold this new initiative in most any shape I want but been careful not to disguise 6Sigma with another name.
    Regards, Herodotous

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    #94057

    Herodotous
    Participant

    Michael — Thank you for the information of TRIZ (never heard of it!) and the analogy/sample presented with the sails and engines.  As previously posted in my reply to Arend, I just need to be careful and not disguise 6Sigma with another name as the CEO will obviously detect this.  Regards, Herodotous

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    #94058

    Herodotous
    Participant

    Dave — Is not a matter of not been able to think outside DMAIC, or more appropiately, DFSS, but to be disciplined enough to avoid resorting back to 6Sigma and its tools during the development of this “new” approach.  Thinking outside the box (6Sigma) is not a problem.  Thinking outside the box creatively and come up with a “new” approach is a challenge.  Herodotous

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    #94060

    Mike Allen
    Participant

    Hero,
    Why worry about what you call it?  A similar approach was used in Japan long before the term Six Sigma was coined.  Six Sigma provides a structured toolset, with a method of using the tools as part of a process.  As you may know, you won’t always use the same tools (i.e., a DOE may not be feasible, so you may have to settle for regression analysis to identify key factors, set the factors at optimal levels and implement appropriate process controls, and continue to monitor the process).  The key thing is: did you identify the key factors, improve the situation, and did it stick?  Was it well thought out, and could you or someone else do it again?  By going through Six Sigma training, you’ve added to your toolset, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only tools you’ll use.  You may still be able to develop a viable system, depending on your CEO’s preferences (just don’t tell him that some of it is from Six Sigma).  Unlike in many companies, you at least have his support (not just lip service).  Maybe he’s doing the right things for some of the wrong reasons, but at least he’s doing them, and with time, he may come around (he’s also paying you!).  As a change agent, you have to be flexible (know the difference between rigor and rigidity!).  My father always told me “Remember the Golden Rule – the one who has the gold makes the rules!” (very appropo to many situations)
    Good luck, and keep us posted.

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    #94065

    Michael Schlueter
    Participant

    “Thinking outside the box creatively and come up with a “new” approach is a challenge.”
    Herodotous,
    Then you should spend some effort on TRIZ-thinking, I suggest. TRIZ gives you success strategies to

    resolve contradictions (tradeoffs)
    eliminate harm (e.g. 6Sigma harms CEO-quality-approach)
    introduce new concepts
    etc.
    It helps you to convert concepts with limited capabilities (e.g. a quality approach with shortcomings [form your CEO’s perspective]) into more capable concepts.
    I will show you a powerful box-breaker and re-builder from the TRIZ toolset, below. It deals with the IFR (Ideal Final Result). You can apply it to your situation again and again, until your desired new approach is born.
    Best regards, Michael Schlueter
    Example:
    A) Initial situation (inventive situation):

    good:   existing quality program (useful function)
    bad:     people do not relate it to your CEO (harmful function)

    Something has to be done. But what should be done?
     
    B) Stating the Ideal Final Result  (your mental beacon):

    You successfully will have identified a resource X, which was hidden so far. X has the following properties:

    The X-resource ITSELF (nothing else)
    eliminates “that people do not relate the program to your CEO”
    AND guarantees “using the existing quality program”.
    Comment:
    This analysis is not very sharp at the moment. However this is a pattern how succesfull inventions were made. The X-resource can be anything: e.g. it can be people, oppinions, machines, newsletters, money, cars, …
    How to find the right one? How to find THAT resource(s) which will help you making progress?
    TRIZniks do it by “finger-printing” the Ideal Final Result. It’s a way of stating the result without knowing the concrete result beforehand. What we do know are the required properties, so we can state the exact properties X need to provide. This makes finding X more easy to do.
    Whatever people suggest or comes into your mind, X has to

    eliminate ignorance w.r.t your CEO (“they don’t relate it to me”)
    AND
    it has to provide the successful quality program
    All suggestions, which do not fulfill this “equation” will not help you along (I assume, as I said, that my analysis is not too wrong; but you can correct it yourself ;-)
    Next, just check.
    C) Identifying the yet hidden X-resource:

    Make a list of available resources (people, activities, space, time, etc.).
    Expand the list by resources you can modify easily.
    Expand the list by resources available from your environment; they may be for free, like air is for free.
    Expand the list by resources available from your subsystems (departments, sub groups, etc.)
    Expand the list by resources available (or modifyable) from your super-system (those thingies, where your CEO is just a component from it)
    and so on.
    Identify X from this list. E.g.:

    X may be the CEO himself.
    Does this make sense? When, under which conditions will it make sense?

    The CEO HIMSELF (nothing else)
    eliminates “that people do not relate the program to your CEO”
    and guarantees “using the existing quality program”
    X may be the your companies bulletin.
    Does this make sense? When, under which conditions will it make sense?

    The bulletin ITSELF (nothing else)
    eliminates “that people do not relate the program to your CEO”
    and guarantees “using the existing quality program”.
    X may be money.
    Does this make sense? When, under which conditions will it make sense?

    The money ITSELF (nothing else)
    eliminates “that people do not relate the program to your CEO”
    and guarantees “using the existing quality program”.
    and so on. Get, find it. You know, what you are looking for by following the IFR ;-)
    D) Get inspired, stand the brain-storm

    your CEO will certainly talk about the new approach at any occasion, ones it’s worked out; so keep in touch with his intentions, as you mentioned yourself. If he doesn’t, make him talk (encourage him to talk about it).{so people can’t ignore the intimate relationship between the new approach and your CEO}
    you find a way to turn your CEO’s ego into a more fruitful direction, and the problem withdraws itself. -> why is he wanting the new approach? what’s behind? can this ‘behind’ be tackled? and so on{a possible solution; but it doesn’t fulfill the IFR stated above}
    an article or a series of articels in your companies bulletin views the new approach from various perspectives.{so people can’t ignore the intimate relationship between the new approach and your CEO}
    some extra bonus is payed for employees using the new approach; this way everybody knows “this program is from my CEO” {same}
    you find a headbunter who can offer your CEO a much better job with higher salery.{a possible solution; but it doesn’t fulfill the IFR stated above}
    and so on. I think you got the idea of the IFR. It increase your focus considerably and guides your brain-storm.
    Michael Schlueter

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    #94066

    Michael Schlueter
    Participant

    Heredotus,
    I relate to my other post a minute ago. I read an other inventive situation from your reply:

    bad:    disguising 6Sigma
    good:  you are still in the game
    IFR:

    The X-resource ITSELF (nothing else)
    eliminates “disguising the new approach as 6Sigma”
    AND guarantees “you are still in the game”
     
    Possible Resources:

    you yourself
    your CEO
    colleagues
    your CEO’s friends or partners
    his bos
    and so on
    Checks:
    X: you yourself

    You YOURSELF(nothing else)
    eliminates “disguising the new approach as 6Sigma”
    AND guarantees “you are still in the game”
    {ok, your idea}
    X: your CEO

    Your CEO HIMSELF(nothing else)
    eliminates “disguising the new approach as 6Sigma”
    AND guarantees “you are still in the game”
    {worth a thought: under which conditions could you make this happen?}
    X: colleagues

    colleagues  THEMSELF(nothing else)
    eliminate “disguising the new approach as 6Sigma”
    AND guarantee “you are still in the game”
    {worth a thought: under which conditions could you make this happen?}
    And so on.
    Best regards, Michael Schlueter

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    #94069

    DaveG
    Participant

    First, recognize there is nothing new under the sun.
    My company has decided, albeit informally, to pursue a continous improvement program tailored after Six Sigma, TQM, Problem Analysis/Decision Making, etc. approaches.  The CEO wants this new initiative to be different and his legacy once he is gone.  If it is modelled on previous approaches, what will be different?

    I am a Six Sigma Black Belt and have tried to convince him of the advantages of this approach to no avail, so I now must come up with a brand new approach to quality, however, I can’t scape the hold that Six Sigma has on me.  Don’t be a tool zombie;  find out what your CEO’s operational goals are, then help develop a plan to meet them.  Select the appropriate tools to support the process changes.  Six Sigma is not a tool, it is at best a program and at worst a cancer.  Call your program MYCVEP:  My CEO’s Vanity Exit Project.

    It is still very early in the game so the plan can be shape in any way we want, but I still insist in that the framework has to be based on Six Sigma (again, not true:  if logic leads you to conclude that certain tools are appropriate, use them.  If this is truly an impossible vanity project, you should consider choosing between your CEO and reality) and that we can’t completely disassociate the new approach from existing ones, even if the ultimate goal is to leave a legacy (again, if your boss expects you to abandon logic, watch out).

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    #94070

    DaveG
    Participant

    Please excuse the cynicism – you appear to be in a tough spot.  It may be dangerous for you to pour too much logic on your boss’ agenda.
    I suspect your boss is extremely knowledgeable, and wants to avoid the potential failures of 6S, or extremely ignorant, and would not know whether a tool was new or used.  If it is the former, address the concerns.  If it is the latter, find a way to do it the “right” way and make him/her think it is new and his/her idea.  Be careful, though:  if you do the latter, the rank and file can smell BS a mile away.

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    #94071

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    As a Six Sigma Black Belt, apparently with a DFSS background, wouldn’t the logical approach be to run a DFSS project to design the new system?
    –McD
     

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    #94072

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    As a Six Sigma Black Belt, apparently with a DFSS background, wouldn’t the logical approach be to run a DFSS project to design the new system?
    –McD
     

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    #94080

    Herodotous
    Participant

    John — You are correct and I am planning to use DFSS even though the end result will not be a 6Sigma initiative.  Kind of oxymoronic.  Herodotous

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    #94089

    Arend
    Participant

    Dear Herodotus,
    Lets see if we can go a step further than disguising 6Sigma under a different name. You mention something very interesting, namely that you are in a pharmaceutical company that is quite heavily bound by dictated cGMP’s. This gives some things to think about. In most other industries we are much less limited in our way-of-working, other than by general safety issues and limitations by physics, chemistry and so on. It puts the Pharamceutical Industry in a special position. And that gives a good opportunity to make a system that works especially well in your industry.
    It could be usefull to make a clear distinction between the tools, framework and the cult of 6Sigma. I tend to think of 6Sigma as a framework more than a toolbox. The majority of the tools already existed long before 6Sigma, and a 6Sigma project is still a 6Sigma project if you use the DMAIC / DMADV / DIDOV /….. frameworks with different tools. On top of that, 6Sigma also has its cult aspects like the belt status. It is important to have these, but the exact shape of these cult issues is irrelevant for the content of the work.
    I think the key point of interest to adress is the framework of 6Sigma. I would try to think of a new framework that takes the limitations of the cGMP’s much better into account than the standard DMAIC/DMADV approach. For example, an FMEA could have extra columns for compliance to cGMP’s. Also, the control / validation steps might need to be beefed-up because an improved product / process would have to go through a much heavier validation process than what is pre-conceived in the standard approach. Just some controll charts don’t do the trick I think. You’re the expert in this case, so I am sure you can think of many more opportunities yourself.
    You don’t seem to be able to get over the ego-inflation part of it yet, am I right? I think it really, really, really is a blessing if you know how to use it. Step 1: stop praising 6Sigma because it will do you and 6Sigma more harm than good. Step 2: recognize that 6Sigma is good but not invented with your industry in mind, so therefore also 6Sigma is open for improvement. Step 3: improve it to fit your industry’s needs and circumstances better. The more you have managed to tailorize it to your industry, the more good reasons you have for giving it a different name. Also, you could change the cult issues to something more specific for your industry. Step 4: collect the reward by being allowed to bask in the sun of your CEO’s ego (just a joke).
    kind regards,
    Arend

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    #94094

    Helper
    Participant

    Herodotous,
     
    Take your CEO and his executive team though a visioning exercise.  Have them begin to bluesky the image and likeness of what they want to accomplish and how they see themselves going about it.  Identify a concensus around the do’s and don’ts.  Please feel free to use the outline below. 
     
    Hope this helps…. 
     
     
    Take a moment to imagine what your company will look like 12 – 18 months from now as a result of your Company’s performance improvement efforts.
     
    1.      How do you envision the working environment?
    (Procedures, Productivity, Product Performance, Service Delivery)
     
     
     
     
     
    2.      What are people doing differently than what they are doing today?
    (Individual Work, Communication, Team Work, Planning, Goal Setting)
     
     
     
     
     
    3.      What are your customers be saying about you?
     
     
     
     
     
     
    4.      How different will your business results be from where they are today?
     
     
     
     
     
    5.      What will your stakeholders be saying about you?
     
     
     
     
     
    6.      What will the financial community be saying about you?
     
     
     
     

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    #94131

    PB
    Participant

    Herodotous,
    It was interesting to read through the posts of all the individuals. The challenge you are facing is unique in the sense that you have to give a new name to tried and true practices. As DaveG suggested, nothing in this is new. In one of the posts I saw the word LEAN mentioned. I would suggest something like ‘LEAN QUALITY PROGRAM’ or ‘LEAN QUALITY INITIATIVES’.
    Hopefully I am echoing Statman’s opinion that Six Sigma should be not made the only thing but should be used as a supporting tool. I see that you would be in a quandry as you are gung-ho about SS and your CEO wants to have quality initiatives. I have worked in a medical device company, so I know how the quality system (and cGMP’s) dominate while the SS program supports the Continuous Improvement role.
    In my current workplace, we have started a combination of quality intiatives in Lean and SS (DMAIC and DFSS). I have been asked to lead the SS efforts and I keep holding the rein on the speed of SS deployment. I know how the SS can stretch resources and ultimately lead to results that are not conducive to the SS program. I would rather see effective training and judicious use of each tool.
    Hope this helps in some shape or form.
    Good Luck!
    PB

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    #94186

    Herodotous
    Participant

    PB — Thanks for your input.  I have taken some of the suggestions given.  One of my first priorities is trying to find out exactly what is on the CEO’s mind regarding quality and a new quality initiative and drill down the ideal outcome.  Kind of “this is where we are; this is where we would like to be,” but in concrete terms while at the same time overcoming the objections of the CEO about SS and its possible interference with cGMPs. — Herodotous

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