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Six Sigma and layoffs

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  • #31402

    Hetchner
    Member

    I am interested in what other companies have experienced with Six Sigma resulting in layoffs.  We are beginning a corporate wide deployment of six sigma and layoffs are a concern of employees.  I am not aware of job loss being a major issue with Six Sigma as it was in many companies with reengineering.  I expect that job reductions will be small to moderate and generally manageable.  But what have others experienced? 

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    #82781

    boettler
    Member

    You asked a pretty open ended question.  If the projects your Black and Green belts are working are focused on labor reduction, then those displaced will have to be dealt with.  My previous company had about a 20% attrition rate, so nobody was ever laid off.  That however is a decision your management will make.  Many people were displaced from jobs they had held for a long time or moved into different departments alltogether.  It was a significant emotional event for most.  The best way we came up with for dealing with this was to keep them informed of the project from the beginning, let them know their position would be eliminated so they could bid on other jobs, and keep them informed of the financial benefit associated with the project.  Rob

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    #82866

    Tuan
    Member

    I am a bit concerned with that too.
    The last time we had black belt training, we had two black belts. Then came the slow economy and one black belt was eliminated.  The thinking was if the economy goes sour again, the black belt would be the first to be eliminated.  The logic would want you to believe they would be the ones to stay since the cost savings they generate are off the bottom line.

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    #82870

    Mayes
    Participant

    Usually what I see is that companies lay off other employees before they let go BB’s. Now, I should clarify this statement, these companies are committed to Six Sigma and see the benefits and return from SS.
    My problem with our organization is that we cann’t find good candidates to apply and fit our requirements. I just think this is the market for SS. I know this will change soon as the market gets flooded with process improvement. This trend is similar to the IT professionals 2-4 years ago. Currently,  I get applicants that are very strong with IT and some PM experience.

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    #82871

    Marc Richardson
    Participant

    William,
    No lay-off is “moderate” to the person being laid-off.
    Marc Richardson
    Sr. Q.A. Eng.

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    #82875

    Chip Hewette
    Participant

    Marc…any chance you worked at Copeland?

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    #82886

    Ren
    Participant

    You are right. The logic would say keep the black belts because they are the ones that are impacting the business by reducing costs, increasing productivity and increasing sales. By the leadership (and I use that word loosly) eliminating the Six Sigma belts, they are essentially shooting themselves in the foot. How can they make a concerted effort to improve? If the economy continues as it is heading for a while, your company will go out of business.

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    #82908

    Marc Richardson
    Participant

    No, I never worked at Copeland.
    Marc Richardson
    Sr. Q.A. Eng.

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    #83000

    Hartshorn
    Participant

    Reduction in work force can be a result of Six Sigma efforts. What is key is to identify very specific objectives of the project and as it unfolds and labor is identified as a “cost saving” take all measures of overtime reduction or reassignment before layoffs are considered. It was previously stated to inform an employee that “their job will/may be eliminated.” This may not be a good idea in fomenting team cooperation, especially when you are not sure of the recommendations.
    I imagine very few companies have the luxury of attrition openings in lieu of layoffs as the economy in anything remotely related to “hi tech” is worse than pitiful. And I sure do not know of anyone that is retiring.
    As to a “demand” for BBs, I had over 140 qualified applicants for an open position from listing solely on Monster!

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    #83054

    gt
    Participant

    I can only say that if Six Sigma and layoffs are thought of in the same notion, then the exec who is sponsoring it is killing the effort before it gets started.  Unlike re-engineering, Six Sigma efforts – in transactional environments in particular – are highly dependant on workgroup interaction and the data a workgroup can gather.  If employees feel insecure, the effort can encounter extreme political system resistance which can undermine the entire Six Sigma initiative.  It would be in the best interest of the exec addresses this issue at the outset of deploying Six Sigma, otherewise the dog may be dead before he crosses the street.

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    #84450

    Ronald
    Participant

    What I find deplorable is a company employing Six Sigma and then, without communicating to the affected departments the true reason, people are let go with very little notice. It’s just that the person happens to fit into the 10% on their team that has to go. Their performance in some cases even better than any individual on a different team.
        On top of this the company doesn’t have the stuff to admit that this is a layoff so they don’t have to pay any severance. I left my position in HR when I realized what was happening.

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    #84500

    billybob
    Participant

    Hello folks,
    If I  remember the basics of 6S its to use the tools to drive variation from the processes thus reducing costs.  And some of this variation elimination could result in having excess employees after the project is completed.  What is wrong with the top executive making a “charter” statement that 6S may require employee reassignment, but 6S won’t result in layoffs , that jobs will be eliminate through attrition only…every company has attrition.  Being up front with the labor force will quicken the 6S buy-in.
    As for other layoff of blackbelts I think everyone sees warning signs that a company is in trouble..layoff do occur, training stops, preventative maintenance stops, travel stops, top people leave for no reason, hiring stops, some of your work is transfered to other company locations leaving you with extra capacity, stare parts and tools purchases are stalled or reduced.
     
    Later,
    Billybob

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