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Pitching Six Sigma to Management

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  • #42033

    Jeremy
    Participant

    I recently joined a company which states is customer focused, however has no quality initiatives in place.  One of my first tasks was to compile data and report on last quarters defects.  The results yeilded detailed information on where our problematic areas are, and my action plan called for creating a quality control task force to investigate the areas further to define process measurments, KPI’s, etc.  Management was impressed with the report, however is more concerned with pointing the finger, assigning blame, rather than really addressing the issue from a quality control perspective – a Six Sigma perspective. 
    My challenge now is figuring out how pitch the concept of a Six Sigma quality approach and get total management buy in.  Any suggestions?

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    #132492

    Texgal
    Member

    Jeremy,
    How long do you have?  hahaha.  There are as many answers to this question as there are people on this forum!
    However, here is my two cents.  As you may have read in this forum already, the problem with buy in usually comes from middle management (top management is funding Six Sigma so they are “for” it and management nearest to the work is often eager to change things they have seen for a long time not working). 
    One way to approach this would be to tell top management to sell this as a step toward business process management across the company.  This would involve identifying all of the core business processes and setting metrics to baseline performance and then set goals.  This approach does not single out any particular process as being defective at this point.  Once the data starts coming in, it will be obvious what processes are not performing and since all process owners would have to report their numbers to management, it does not point the finger at any one area.  Tie performance goals to these metrics and everyone is on the same basis of scrutiny.
    Meanwhile, have the task force ready to jump in when the data starts coming in to analyze the processes not performing.  Make the team available to process owners so that they will contact them themselves for assistance (then it is THEIR idea!).

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    #132495

    thevillageidiot
    Member

    Forget about the reason codes for now.  They may or may not be valuable to you.  Management talks in dollars.  Understand, whenever you plan a new product or service (ie quality program), your first efforts should be VOC based, followed by a characterization of those requirements if applicable(see kano, etc).   Identify your constituents, starting with upper leadership and ask them the following questions in the following areas – Financial and Customer/Product (market VOC)

    How are you defining success?
    What are you measuring so you know when you are successful?
    What are your current operational targets?
    What activities support target acquisition?
    Once you determine how the organization is defining financial success and what that means in terms of customer requirements, identify the plants and processes where the quality of these product lines and their features are formed
    Meet with the plant managers and ask them the same questions about their finanical metrics and processes.  Find out how they are incented and where in their processes money is made or lost.  Make sure their is solid alignment between the plant metrics and corporate strategy. If there is a disconnect, start here.  Plant managers (manufacturing) are the guys that make or brake you. If they don’t play ball, you are in trouble, so make them your end user.  This is basic Scorecard stuff, but I think it is highly useful…it gets you from upper management finanical concerns  to process level value-adding activities where your skill set can be put to use.  Just my opinion. 

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    #132497

    Jeremy
    Participant

    Thanks for the timely feedback!  Believe it or not, top management is where I am running into challenges, although there are a few advocates, the key decision makers are still on the fence.  I do like your recommendation to identify the core business processes, set metrics to baseline performance and then set our goals.  Have a virtual beer on me – Cheers!

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    #132499

    Jeremy
    Participant

    Thank you thevillageidiot – this is very usefull information!  I have been struggling to come up with a financial approach.

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    #132500

    Andejrad Ich
    Participant

    In my experience, the ONLY time anything has management’s total buy-in is when it was their idea — when somebody already there has pitched some useless, hair-brained program intended to gain favor from their superiors.  So either make them think Six Sigma was their idea or be prepared to find yourself forever pushing a rope called Six Sigma (while your leaders continually undermine your work, knowledge, efforts, and good intentions). 
    Andejrad Ich

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    #132502

    Undermining Leader
    Member

    Are you, as you have frequently appeared to be, merely a disgruntled employee?  

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    #132677

    Yadav
    Participant

    Jeremy,
    As is true for any organization-wide initiative, it is true for implementing Six Sigma as well. It is a “CHANGE MANAGEMENT” initiative and the successful way of managing change is get people involved: TRAINING and COMMUNICATION. So start with training and adopt a Top down approach by starting with top management. Once people start talking the common Six Sigma language, most of your issues will be taken care of;  people will start owning the problems and improvement ideas.
    Cheers!

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    #132678

    Jamal
    Participant

    You are fortunate that you have all the data stacked behind you. One thing is clear you want to institute a quality assurance system and the way you have in mind is the Six Sigma approach. As normal, finger pointing will be the reflex reaction to your detail findings report. The thinks is that by knowing who did it – they will know how to correct it!As we all know it does not work that way. Its not always the who but the whats and the whys? Especially, with system problems. 
    You are fortunate in that the management, by having you do the study, wants to have a change, an improvement. Now your job is to show them why Six Sigma will help them achieve their goal sand objectives. Be it financial, market share, less wastage, increase profitability, etc…
    You need to identify what’s important to them and work the argument for Six Sigma from those angles. You may want to propose a trial first project to proof the case for Six Sigma.
     

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    #132708

    malverson
    Participant

    Just do it.
    Use the Six Sigma methodology to solve the biggest problem you identified. Don’t tell em’ it’s Six Sigma until your done.
    With Six Sigma, what you have is a very structured, disciplined way to solve just about any problem … so go do it! Get the green light and go … you’ll look like a hero if you walk in with a project plan based on DMAIC.

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