Setting up SixSigma

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Setting up SixSigma

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    Been asked to set-up Six Sigma program for my division.  Any thoughts on firms to help out with the kick-off, training, etc.  I’m in a service company if that matters.



    Try Smarter Solutions – Dr. Breyfogle’s Company. He is not your typical consultant brimming with charisma, but he is certainly the real deal. There is a link to the firm on the home page of this site.


    MBB Person

    Check out George Group.  They are the largest and most experienced of the Six Sigma consulting groups.



    NEVER EVER go for Six sigma Academy for help!!!!
    Thats where i got my training from. HorribleDeep



    We used Sigma Business Solutions for our training and are using one of the trainers as a MBB consultant until we hire one. 



    A thought for the future:  There are consultants out there who have a solid background and who are tired of consulting (there are some real wannabees out there too).  Even though the pay may be less, you might be able to lure a consultant away by hiring and having them help you as a part of their new job.  It happened to me and I could not be happier.  It may be cheaper and more valuable for you in the long run as well.  They will have a vested interest in seeing you succeed.  A consultant will as well, but not as much.
    In any event, if yo ugo the consultant route – make sure the event is through implementation of ideas and system set-up, not just for the training portion.
    My 2 cents



    Your first step should be to read the ten papers listed here:



    First of all, as most everybody on this site may agree the range of quality of Six Sigma Consulting is from outstanding to poor. Two companies that I had very good success with in the past are:
    George Group (Strong in strategy, flexible in the adaptation of the program to the needs of your organization, good mix of six sigma and lean, developed its own focusing mechanisms to optimize the benefits of six sigma, excellent staff, easy to deal with, strong transactional background).
    Rath and Strong (Solid consulting provider, les experienced with strategy, lean and focusing mechanisms to optimize the benefits, staff may vary, good follow up, strong transactional background).
    In general, ask for the consulting’s transactional track record because there are differences with manufacturing that are critical to understand (some professionals will disagree with me on this point).
    I would like to make two additional points to consider:
    1. After identifying the potential consultants I would suggest to the leadership team the following approach to selection:
    1. Develop the list of consultants and narrow it down to 4 – 6.
    2. Establish a committee whose goal is to make a recommendation to the CEO about the consultant. The committe should include players like the COO, CFO, Human Resources, IT, Quality (if there is an existing company-wide program), Sales/Marketing and the CEO if he/she is available.
    3. In addition to reviewing the consultants based on your current research, I would spend the time and have the consultants present their approaches to you in front of the selection committee in something like a one or two day setting. Give each consultant the same alotment of time to present their approach. Give them general guidelines as to what you want them to present. Internally develop key criteria that you will evaluate them on and have the committee members evaluate the consultant based on key criteria such as: cost structure, fit with organizational goals, culture, strategy, etc. This approach accomplishes the following:
    1. It develops a consensus by the leadership team on what is important for a successful program (criteria and weight) 
    2. Give you a feel for how you can work with consultants.
    3. Allows you to gage, how the company is in terms of organization and approach (you set the same limits in terms of times, guidelines etc.). Thus you can gage some interindiviual differences between consultants. The idea generated in the general approach of identifying interindividual differences by holding situational constants equal (as much as possible).
    In the past, this has worked very well for some companies. In some cases, consulting companies with impressive proposals and credentials faltered in their actual first interaction with the client and were thus eliminated. It is not fool-proof, but an additional tool you could use to assess the future performance, interaction style, cultural fit etc. with the consultant.
    2. One additional thing that I would like to suggest is to consider is to also include “Theory of Constraints” as a valid option and as an alternative to a full Six Sigma program (Of course many practicioners will now disagree with me). The Goldratt Institute also provides operations improvement services with excellent results that focus on key bottlenecks and a holistic view on the system. It does not require the investment in infrastructure, but may give you the results you are looking for.  If you need information about this option, I can get you a key contact. (There is no need to comment on this point as I know that this is a point of contestion in the Six Sigma community, so it does not need rehashing).
    Finally, Snee and Hoerl (2003) provide a very solid discussion of the things to consider when implementing Six Sigma.
    Good luck with your challenging assignment.



    Some additional food for thought.
    Whether you are looking for a firm to bring Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, or a combination of the above; find a consultant that will effect knowledge transfer and assist in growing your internal expertise.  You do NOT want someone that leads all of your improvement activities for you but rather someone that stands back and guides you along the way.  I.E: The are willing to work themselves out of a job before the end of the contract.  I am aware of the Air Force using one firm that lead everything.  Hence, no one knows how to lead a kaizen event or improvement activity.  That is great for the consutling firm; that you are their cash-cow but not so great for the Air Force.
    There are a number of great companies mentioned in the previous posts; just make sure you do some investigation (checking with previous clients) to ensure that you are purchasing what you (and your company) is looking for.
    Good luck…



    Hi GWG …
    I believe there’ve been many suggestions given on how to start setting-up Six Sigma, which consulting company to use, tips to do once a consulting company is selected, etc …
    However; I’m wondering whether it is really the answer you are looking for.
    Coz i have a feeling that you may have been trained Six Sigma before, and you are now asked to start setting it up in the company with you as the only resource … Hope I’m wrong, just a thought though …


    Mike Carnell

    Ed and Hans gave you some very good advice. I want to add one thing. Before you engage any consultants you need to have some internal discussions around why you want to do Six Sigma and what you need to accomplish. If you allow a consulting firm to establish that you are assuming they know as much about your business as you do which they will not. Not every deployment is a cost reduction deployment. There are times when cost reduction is an absolutely stupid way to deploy i.e using Hans’ TOC in a capacity constrained company in a shortage market. Becareful to enroll the accounting/finacial people before it even begins if you are going to do anything except cost reduction – they struggle with throughput improvements. if you refer to the benefits of the program from the beginning as benefits rather than savings you can change the view of what the output of a project should be.
    Once you have that in mind I would sit back and see who presents an exit strategy (similar to what Ed has proposed). If you allow they to be the ones to lead everything you will get one of two things 1. they will be there forever 2. the program will leave when they do. If they have no exit strategy without you prompting one they they either do not understand the ownership turnover or they do not plan to leave.
    In regards to what Hans said the design of the deployment needs to be a combination of your company and the consultants. They need to work with a team (not just people assigned to the Six Sigma program) and the effort needs to be a colaboration of what they know about deployments and what you know about your business. You hire them for their expertice in Six Sigma not your industry but be open to seeing your industry from a different perspective.
    You will find very quickly that people want to just train and do projects. The success of the deployment is how well you manage the deployment not how well you do projects. Doing projects is simple. There is a huge difference. If your design does not create a supportive environment for the Belts to run projects you will be back on this forum in 12 months complaining about top managaement support.There needs to be very clear expectations of you, belts, top management and most importantly how you will enroll middle management. As much whinning as you hear about top management on this forum it is middle management that will cause you more issues.
    Send me an email and I will send you a generic flow chart of setting up a deployment. [email protected]
    Good luck

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