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System Thinking vs Six sigma

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  • #33718

    Tracey Smith
    Member

    One of the key criticisms of Six sigma by systems thinkers is that six sigma does not challenge the way managers think, it designed to appeal to command and control managers and allows managers to maintain the status quo. Whereas systems thinking suggests that organisation sshould change current thinking and practices and instead of focussing on improving the 5% of problems the people they should focus on the 95% the work.
    I would be interested to know if people see this as a genuine criticism of six sigma or does six sigma enable a change in management thinking- a move away from command and control?

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    #91747

    Mikel
    Member

    Sounds like BS opinions from a bunch of academics.

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    #91758

    Tracey Smith
    Member

    I am interested know what justifies making such a comment, what examples are there in six sigma which proved that the critcisms are just academic theory?

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    #91760

    Mikel
    Member

    You said – “Whereas systems thinking suggests that organisation sshould change current thinking and practices and instead of focussing on improving the 5% of problems the people they should focus on the 95% the work.”

    That what I was calling BS. Six Sigma implementers (there are not many of them, but there are lots of fans of Six Sigma – kind of like football) don’t suggest anything, they change the system. And yes, we have read Deming (your reference to the 95%), Senge (Systems Thinking), …
    To come on here with such a pompous proposal is stupid. Go learn Six Sigma from a competent provider (ther are not many of them), work a few projects, pay attention to what is happening with the others in training, and then come back on here with your questions. It will not be the same stupid question you started this thread with.

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    #91768

    Tracey Smith
    Member

    I am currently working in an organisation that is implementing a systems thinking programme and therefore see my question as neither pompous nor academic. I am presently working on looking at the differences betwen six sigma and system/lean thinking to see if there is any areas in six sigma that we can be utilised. What I am trying to work out is if the differences are merely semantics and it is possible to combine the two or if they involve completely different mind sets and therfore can’t be combined. One of the key problems I am finding in my research is over coming the hype of six sigma and finding out what it is truly about partly my reason for asking my question. I have entered my research with an open mind and I was trying to find out what peoples peceptions of the critcism I mentioned were. It would not be logical for me or my organisation to spend lots of money in training me on in six sigma when they have already chosen system thinking. However I need to discover what six sigma is all about by asking the peole that use it (not the sales people!) The reply to my question by not answering it is common of the information I have found so far which is a lot of words and not a great deal of answers.

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    #91769

    Ren
    Participant

    Tracey,
    I tend to agree with Stan on his point of views, but not necessarily that your question was stupid. What you are asking is “is six sigma just hype, and if not, how can I integrate it with systems thinking (if at all).” I find it funny that you would come to a discussion forum for the answers to these questions, since forums are typically about people’s opinions on subjects. Some may say yes, others may say no, all probably have data to back up their opinions. The only data that matters is your data — go get some.
    Training you in six sigma will cost your company a few thousand dollars and a few weeks of your time. If that is too much investment to determine if six sigma is hype or not (which it isn’t), and how it integrates with your systems thinking process, then you’ve got bigger fish to fry then trying to get your question answered.
    You’re helping your organization make decisions about how it will run for years to come. Get trained, do a project so you see how the tools work, figure out if and how it integrates with whatever you’re currently doing, get the data to prove it, and move forward. It’s pretty plain and simple. Nothing worth having is handed to you on a silver platter.
    Ren

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    #91771

    Ron
    Member

    I hear your type of comment often especially after someone has visited a seminar or conference that is frequented by consultants.
    God Bless them everyone needs to earn a living… Six Sigma is a problem solving methodology. Most 21st century six sigma program have adopted the lean toolkit into the six sigma toolkit and any other toolkit that has proven value.
    Six Sigma when done properly is all about a cultural change within an organization. I do not frequent the consultant bars and as such am unfamilar with whatever it is they are selling today. When you peel the skin off the banana of most consultants you wiull find a six sigma methodology buried cleverlt beneath. The genius of the six sigma methodology is to absorb anything that works into your tool kit and apply it as required.
    This is contrary to the way most consultants work.. that a popular methodology changes a few terms around and hocus pocus you have “system thinking” or the Red X etc. etc.
     
    If you want know more about six sigma try attending a greenbelt training and see what you think.
    Cheers,

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    #91774

    DaveG
    Participant

    Tracey,
    Every “buzzword” brings assumptions and limitations, and must be adapted to the user, so I find it best to ask “what do we need to do” then “what tools best suit our agenda”.  Then you can compare tools / programs rather than contrast them – it does not have to be either A (ST) or B (SS).
    I have seen little evidence that SS, as generally deployed, is more than a glorified Corrective Action program which enriches consultants who trap you with the mystique of their high price tags.  So my answer is that Six Sigma does not enable a change in management thinking unless your organization chooses to;  in other words, your System Thinkers are probably right – but so what?  pick the tool that suits your agenda.
    I advise you save your money and ignore consultants.  [email protected] if you want more detail.

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    #91800

    Mikel
    Member

    Tracey,
    Pardon my cynical attitude, but I can’t help but laugh at the thought of an organization implementing systems thinking. How do you measure the results and what are the results to date? Sounds like an academic exercise to me and I’ll bet the data is not there to show that your organization has improved.

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    #91810

    DaveG
    Participant

    Tracey,
    Don’t let Stan get to you.  I don’t know the tenets of Systems Thinking, but I’ve created many systems where none existed and seen the benefits.  Just be sure to have a Strategic Plan with measurable outputs, then design your systems to support the plan.

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    #91814

    faceman
    Participant

    Tracey,
    I think this is a reasonable question.  Take my opinions for what they are worth, I am not a ST expert but our company teaches it and we try to do it.  Your comments in quotes below:
    “I am presently working on looking at the differences betwen six sigma and system/lean thinking to see if there is any areas in six sigma that we can be utilised.”
    I think that six sigma can reinforce systems thinking.  Six sigma, through the use of very multidisciplinary teams, and consequential metrics attempts to encompass ‘the big picture’ when well executed.
    “What I am trying to work out is if the differences are merely semantics and it is possible to combine the two or if they involve completely different mind sets and therfore can’t be combined.”
    As you research SS, think of it as a process and a set of tools for improving product and /or process performance within a systems thinking culture.  Consider them as non-mutually exclusive.  I don’t think that you have to choose between the two.  Fanatics on both sides may try to tell you that they are diametrically opposed (especially those who want to sell you as one or the other).
    My theory — if an organization has a significant portion of its decision makers thinking ST, it will provide leverage to the six sigma process.  I believe, based on experience, that system thinkers tend to select better six sigma projects.  Consider six sigma as a method of elevating process performance.  If the system thinker has selected the appropriate process for improvement, i.e. they have causal loop modeling (or dynamic modelling or whatever ST concept) at a very high level and therefore really understand which processes have big impacts on ‘the big picture’, then six sigma can provide a method for elevating the status quo of those processes.
    My experience with systems thinking was that the ST ‘trained’ didn’t necessarily have the improvement skills to improve the areas that they now (after adopting ST) understood to be constraints on business performance.  Maybe the flaw was deficiencies in or ST implementation.  I don’t know.  What I do believe is that our systems thinking managers tend to get better results from their black/green belts.
    The way we implemented ST it came across as a ‘way of thinking’ about the business.  The way we implemented SS it came across as way of improving process performance, something much more specific than ST which taught us a better way of cenceptualizing the business.  These beliefs are the basis of opinions above.  If I am wrong about ST then disregard my advice.
    Food for thought.  Good luck.

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    #91820

    JPMBB
    Participant

    Hi Tracey
     
    You’ve asked a good question and it’s a shame that some of your responses have lacked maturity.
    I’ve been doing some work redesigning service organisations and have recently become a huge fan of the systems thinking approach because Six Sigma DMAIC/ improve methodologies and DFSS/ design methodologies – in my opinion – are not extensive enough to cope with changing multiple processes and improving an entire system in one programme. So the approaches are very complimentary.  The systems thinking apporoach has been a fantastic top down approach to identify all the design elements of our new system.  Six Sigma tools have been a great enabler of this.
    Also you will find many books are now available which incorporate Six Sigma and lean.
    Six Sigma/ Systems thinking are really complimentary… the challenge as always is to find the people with the competence and experience to bring them together so as you can do great things for your clients.

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    #91822

    abasu
    Participant

    Suggest that 1st you create a value stream map of the current state.  This will hi-light the processes that need improvement.  If the problem is too much variation use six sigma methodologies, if the process is capable and there is still too much waste, use lean principles. 
    It is not matter of six sigma vs. lean, but rather one of using the right tool to work on the issues that increase overall value to the customer.

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    #91824

    Mark Jannone
    Participant

    I really don’t think you actually know what Six Sigma is.  The ultimate goal of six sigma is to ingrain a culture of meeting customer’s expectations.  Customers not only reflect external but internal as well.  A common customer in my organization is the CFO who demands increases in revenue or cost abatements.  Six Sigma not only helps us achieve these goals by determining statistically significant factors that leads to desired outcomes but address the acceptance pieice of any change managment ideology.  If you have a good solution but nobody buys into it, you have nothing which is one of the downfalls of system thinkers.

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    #91832

    TomK
    Member

     This message thread with the original request of what seemed like a very legitimate request and some of the responses did stir up my thoughts of some very narrow thinking and sometime ‘cult’ type that tends to prevail with any specific technique or tool or approach.  Just a thought – may be folks who are so enamored and passionate about a specific technique (including six sigma) should apply some the principles of systems thinking and get the big picture!!
     I am not for or against any technique but read on –
     Over the past 20 years of my professional career I have seen and applied several techniques, tools and approaches. Like everybody I have some great successes and some not so great but have gained a lot from this.  Techniques and ‘buzzwords’ have come and gone like the ‘flavor of the month’.  They include – Theory of Constraints, System Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Thinking, Business Process Re-engineering (and now Business process management!), and Balanced scorecard, Six Sigma etc.  Many of them compliment each other and concepts encompassed within each can be leveraged depending on your knowledge and situation.  I have also gained sufficient maturity (and continue to be challenged in this regard) to assess any opinion or thinking when it comes a passionate individual married to any technique or thinking. Such opinions reflect where that person has been including his/her background and experience and thus may not apply to where you are going.  Sounds all too much like common sense!! – I guess that’s my mood today!!
      In my quest to meet the company / program/ project goals and what my organization wants I might switch to whatever ‘term’ or program the company wants and still meet the desired results. After all it is the ultimate goal and direction that matters it is not so much about how you get there on the long term.  If your leadership and the people around are on a Six Sigma ‘bandwagon’ today, just get going on it. Likewise if they are on Systems Thinking get on it.   If you are the leader yourself or have some influence in setting the direction you then have to do what makes most sense to you and of course, start reading!
     I think you are in the right direction by posing your question here!  Get the opinion of the Six Sigma believers, which I expect many are on this board!!  It sure would be helpful to get some first hand interaction with some experts and for sure,  include the ‘players’, but also don’t exclude those who watch the game (sometimes those or the ones who see the big picture!).  If a technique is so complex that you really cannot get it from reading yourself or chance running into the ‘competent’ ones, may be you need to rethink about using it!!!
     The bottom line – it is clearly up to you to make an assessment of the people, process, systems and environment and leverage your background and experience- but start the journey!!

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    #91841

    Mikel
    Member

    Tracey,
    Do let Stan get to you, you will be better for it.
    Go back and look at your question – I am a system thinker and I know nothing but opinions about Six Sigma is what your message says.
    “Don’t go buying anyone’s answers if your question was for free” – Goose Creek Symphony
    What this means is that if you really haven’t spent any time thinking – don’t ask the question. Your lack of thought (from a systems thinker!) is obvious.
    Cheers.

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    #91845

    DaveG
    Participant

    Tom,
    Your approach is tremendously insightful and valid, and threatens those who believe Six Sigma is a Grapefruit among tangerines, which is why your message is largely ignored – the majority likes a “magic pill” which does not require thought.

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    #91847

    Statman
    Member

    Yea yea yea….
    …but six sigma is still the best because it has a greek letter in the name and the consultants cost more.
    I wonder if “Constrant thinking six lean re-engineering kazain Shainin sigma” would sell?  It could be the program of all things

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    #91849

    DaveG
    Participant

    How about an acronym:  BOWISYUTA?  It describes the standard consultant / client relationship.

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    #91854

    dk
    Participant

    Tracey
     
    I use a systems approach for implementing Six Sigma/lean in my organization.  For more information e-mail me at ‘[email protected]
     
     

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    #91888

    DaveG
    Participant

    DK,
    I could not reach you by email.  I may be tasked with developing a “Six-Sigma friendly” Quality System.  Please send me your information, and of course let me know if I can return the favor.
    [email protected]

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    #92315

    Philip Whateley
    Participant

    Some emotive thoughts;

    “95% of the numbers you need to run a company are unknown and unknowable.” (Deming)
    “If you optimise the components of a system, you will suboptimise the whole system, if you optimise the whole system, the components will not be optimised.” (Profit beyond measure – Tom Johnson et al)
    Management by results optimises the components of a system at the expense of the system as a whole.
    6 sigma is an attempt to convert the systemic approach of Deming into a MBR (6 sigma “projects” etc) approach.
    In order to do this, 6 sigma theory needs to be able to utilise “measures of success”. The metrics used are, at best statistically dubious. For example, it is stretching probability theory beyond credibility to suggest that there is any practical relationship between z-score and proportion defective for any real process beyond about 3 sigma from the mean. There is no such thing as a normal distribution in practice.
    The reported savings from individual projects seldom add up to overall savings for the organisation, as each project has the potential to create even more expensive problems elsewhere in the system (“Today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions”)
    I have discussed 6 sigma with engineers at GE and Allied Signal, (now Honeywell), and their expressed opinion is that the reported savings from 6 sigma (even from their own projects) are in fact a result of creative accounting.
    In general, I think it’s about time someone said “the emperor has no clothes”
    P.S To forstall any talk of “you won’t understand unless you have been through 6 sigma training” I have been trained as a 6 sigma black belt!

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    #92317

    Dean B
    Participant

    Tracy,
    While attending an executive forum at the ASQ-Six-Sigma Conference a preponderance of senior executives, whose organizations had been doing 6s for several years, indicated they were moving away from 6s as a full time job and towards 6s as a competency. One of the reasons cited for this was the need to get away from the “them and us” stigma, and integrate the capabilities into the “working environment” or culture. Sure, there were a few hard cores who insisted 6s needed to be a separate job, but these tended to be a select few who were “pushing” 6s, whereas the rest had been on the receiving end of 6s.
    Sometimes the angle or one’s perspective needs to change to enable us to see something of value. Perhaps a better indication for your analysis of how 6s works in building culture and systems thinkling would be to elicit comments  from those who have been on the receiving end of 6s projects, not just by those trying to push the projects at you. You may have to go beyond this thread to get these opinions.
    Six sigma is one decision system, not the only one by any means, and not a perfectly universally applicable one either. I see it working the best where it is heavily adapted to organization’s quality journey and cultural circumstances. What is left after this is done may or may not resemble the 6s originally pushed in the training. All decision systems must be continuously fused with relevent applications to maintain its own relevance. Sometimes I think the best training a Black Belt can have is to have been on the receiving end of another Black Belt’s projects, and to have learned some appreciation of what this perspective is like. Good luck.

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    #92324

    Gabriel
    Participant

    Tracey, it’s a little bit late, but if you are still around maybe this can help.
    First of all, I want to make clear that I am NOT a “formal” six sigma practitioner. I have worked in improvement projects (and still do), but not within a six sigma programme yet. And I am not an expert in System Thinking either, but I try to think allways in terms of the system.
    From my perspective, six sigma’s DMAIC is a problem solving methodology, which looks very much like PDCA. And a six sigma programme is a frame to manage the projects.
    As you said, if this management is not correctly done, an isolated six sigma project can serve for a loocal improvement with nor significant impact (or even zero or negative impact) on the organization as a whole.
    When I found this forum, about two years ago, my first question was “How do TOC and Six Sigma interrelate?”. As you may know, TOC (Theory of Constraints, by Dr Goldratt) is a system approach to improvement. It’s basis is that eny system has a desired output, and that if it is not delivering more of that output it is because there is at least one constraint that limits it. Some phrases like “The cost of a minute lost by the constraint is the cost of a minute lost in the whole organization”, “making the not weakest links stronger will make no improvement in  the strength of the chain” or “The constraints govern the output of your system, wehter you manage them or not” became popular after TOC (well, may be they were popular before too).
    TOC has 5 steps for improvement:
    1) Identify the constraint.
    2) Sqweeze the constraint.
    3) Subordinate the whole organization to the constraint.
    4) Improve the constraint.
    5) If in the process the constraint becomes no longer a constraint, go to point 1. But be careful! It is not just a new constraint. It is a new system! So you must start from scratch again. Do not let Inertia become the constraint.
    Another interesting thing to note is that the goal is not to improve one by one the constraints, so you are changing constraints all the time. The goal is to put the constraint where you want, keep it there, and manage it. Swtiching constraints is switching systems, and it is not a good thoing to swithc systems all tha time.
    However, TOC does not tell how to do each of these steps. You can use six sigma for that. Imagine a project to “Sqweeze the constraint” or “Subordinate the whole organization to the constraint”. Sonds great, doesn’t it?
    Maybe six sigma inside TOC is a good choice if you are implementing ystem Thinking. But it’s just an idea. I don’t know if there are organizations working with such an approach.

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    #92331

    DaveG
    Participant

    Some emotive thoughts:…
    Amen!
    I have been trained as a 6 sigma black belt!
    Me, too!
    My pet phrase is “Six Sigma is whatever the organization decides it is”.  During deployment, establish controls to prevent the failures you listed.
    As I see it, only 3 types of improvements are possible:
    1.       increasing the enterprise-wide output of delivered value per unit resource consumed
    2.       increasing customer actualization while doing #1 (I need a better word than actualization;  I don’t say “satisfaction” because that is aiming low (delight is better), but satisfaction and delight don’t show evidence of discovering what the customers’ goals are)
    3.       implement controls to ensure outcomes or remove known constraints or failure modes without adding new ones (i.e. supply chain management, setup reduction, FMEA, poka-yoke) to enable #1 and 2

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    #92343

    Mikel
    Member

    Philip Whateley has no clothes

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    #92345

    Rog
    Member

    Hi Tracey
    I’ve pondered this myself and came to this conclusion. Six Sigma and Lean (systems thinking) are different problem solving tools. Each has it’s strengths and weaknesses.
    Lean is a great tool for co-ordinating different processes and optimizing them. It’s generally more intuitive and easy for the workforce to understand than Six Sigma. It gets good visible returns at many levels. 
    If you really want to get the best from a single process then Six Sigma is the better tool. It may be much more specific to your organization that the outcome of your lean events.
    They both have their applications and can co-exist quite happily within a business. They don’t compete and in fact do complement each other. Which is more appropriate for your organization depends very much on the type of organization you have and the maturity of it’s quality and technical systems.
    My word of warning about either……If you get too hung up on monitoring and justifying savings you may stop doing some important things that make perfect sense. I believe that both ways of thinking can easily prevent companies from doing those activities which actually generate business opportunities. Make sure that there is still some innovative thinking alive and well in your company.
    Good luck..we all started somewhere and learned from experience.
     
     

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    #92359

    Ludwig
    Participant

    Gabriel.  Pretty interesting the reflections you´ve made out of this stuff.
    I recall also having taken part about thirty years ago in an analytical study to provide a variable-in-time resource to three equipments which used it as raw material for the same product, but at a different yield in time rate and with a different resource consumption also. This study  led us to apply some technique whose name we found to be “dynamic programming”(??), which although did not optimize the production of the equipments in the order of their individual levels of “productivity”, it did  it for the group as a whole,  not necessarily filling the capacities of the machines in their order of importance.  Could this example, in a certain way, be compared with the “optimization of a system” without necessarily optimizing its individual components?
    By the way, I also recall the comment of an envious pal when I was transferred from the plant office to the corporate office of  the same company :  “Ludwig”,  he told me, ” your promotion´s gonna benefit both areas,  raising the mean intellectual coefficient of them both, though the mean coefficient of the whole company´s gonna keep on bein´ the same” (You caught it?).
    Regards.      Ludwig

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    #92394

    Gabriel
    Participant

    Was it “dynamic programming” or “linear programming”? In a seminar about TOC I’ve seen how linear programming gets to the same results that the TOC approach when it’s about production planning. However, for linear programming you have to enter all the information (the capacity of every resource, etc.) and it gives you a plan that you know is optimized (not at each resource, but as a whole) but you don’t know why, wile with the TOC approach you need to focus only in the constraint, you get the same planning, and you understand why, so you understand the effects of eventuial deviation from the original plan.
    About your promotion, I’m not sure I caught it. Did you mean that you got ptommoted from an area where your IQ was below the average (so the average increased after you left) to another area where your IQ was above the average (so the average increased after you got there)? Now I understand why the persons with lower IQ are the ones that get promoted!

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    #92396

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    Did you mean that you got ptommoted from an area where your IQ was below the average (so the average increased after you left) to another area where your IQ was above the average (so the average increased after you got there)?
    I assumed that the “corporate office” was full of managers, possibly even with pointy hair, so the answer to that should be obvious.
    –McD

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    #92448

    Ludwig
    Participant

    Hi Gabriel :
    I´ve re-read your post of date 10 November 2003, that has made me think about the importance we should give the whole system as we engage in our  6 Sigma “individual” or “independent” project :
    (a)  How deeply do we assess the economic contribution of a finished 6Sigma project after we deem it over?  Shouldn´t possible (or proven) real effects be deducted which arise in other areas or projects of the company that are negatively affected?
    (b) Shouldn´t it be established (if it isn´t yet in the 6 Sigma project viability routine) that at the time a new project is proposed, its integral viability be assessed in relation to other concerns to more firmly define its attractiveness?
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Regarding the technical study related to “dynamic programming” of my 10 November 2003 post, I´m positively sure that the name was that : Dynamic Programming (DP).  I also remember having worked some other time with Linear Programming (LP) that is used when we´ve got several scarce resources that need to be distributed among various users and/or processes, to get different products, being the purpose of all this stuff to maximize an “objective function” for the solution of the whole problem.  “Simplex” was a technique of LP used to allocate the resources and perform the data processing to get the final result.
    In the case I referred to, (DP), we had three mills, each with its own total capacity (300,  500 and 1000 tons/day) of product, so that they could work within the whole range of their individual capacities, but being each of them “most productive” when working at its own full capacity.
    That is, if the raw material availbility in a certain day happened to be enough for just 400 tons of production, the ideal operation would be to make use of both Mills 1 and 2, or perhaps only Mill 2.  But if the raw material availability was for 700 tons of product, the best decision would be (proven) to work with Mill 3 at “low capacity” than try to get the production on Mills 1 and 2 working together, even if one of them worked at its full capacity and the other one just processing the “crumbs” left of the available raw material.  Of course, if the total availability of a material reached or surpassed 1800 tons of product in a certain day, to make the 3 mills work together at their full capacities, was the wisest solution.
    Hope these additional comments clarify the approach to the situation, and what would be best for all of us, participants in this Forum, contribute to the objective of this thread “Systems Thinking vs 6sigma”)
    ———————————————————————-
    Switching Channel ! !   Regarding my Plant-to-Corporate-offices promotion,  I think my old pal (who after 5 years is still stuck in the plant, with the same salary and in rotating shifts) meant exactly what you said you had caught from my former post :  That both areas  had improved their mean IQ´s out of my “contribution” whan I was promoted;  Plant benefited by dispensing with it (to their “standards”), which at the same time benefited the Corporation (also due to their “standards”).  May be you´re right (at least partially) by saying that “people with low IQ´s are often the ones that get promoted”.  Is that good?  Yes ?   Wonderful !  Ain´t it ?  No ?      What could we do to correct that if it happens to be a systemic flaw?
    By the way, to reinforce your feelings, I´ve got another situation we used to make fun of with some friends at school, as there seems to be some truth around it.  I send it so you could think it over at your  leisure, and much better if you could comment it back :
    Given :
    (a) “Time is Money”                                         T = M
    (b) “Knowledge is Power”                                K = P    and
    (c) “Power is a Work to Time ratio”                  P = W / T
    It follows from elementary high school algebra that
    M = T = W / P = W / K                                  M = W / K
    This tells us that the Money you earn is directly related to the Work you carry out in an endeavor.
    Also tells us that the Money you earn is inversely related to the Knowledge you´ve got of the situation.
    Conclusions:
    You can earn more money the harder you work on something you´re engaged in, but……
    You can also earn more money, the least you know about what you´re engaged in,….. which perhaps was my case with my old pal who´s still working in the Plant while I work in the corporate offices 5 days a week in white collar shirts.
    ———————————————————————— Finally, some verses I came across with, written on the WC door of a plane in a Japan-Indonesia flight, which might perhaps console my old pal :
    We, the willing /  working for the unknowing / are doing the impossible/ for the ungrateful. /  And have done so much, / for so long with so little/ that we are now qualified / to do anything….with nothing. /
    Perhaps this is not 6 Sigma, but it is the System.   Shall we work with the System as it is ?   Or do whatever be needed to straighten it up?
    Regards……Ludwig.
     
     

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    #92464

    Gabriel
    Participant

    Ludwig,
    As I said before, I am not an expert in six sigma. And I am not en expert in TOC, DP or LP either (wow! with all this non-expertise I should be promoted!). So I’m afraid I don’t have the right answers to your questions. However, I guess that Goldratt would answer them more or less as follows:
    b) (viability of a project): Simulate the performance of the whole system with the status quo and with the expected successful project. Measure the output of the system in both situations. Compare. For example, if you want to improve the productivity and you are assessing the viability of a project to improve the packaging operation, do not focus on the output of the packaging. Focus on how many units you would sell with or without the project implementation. I mean, work inside the black box, measure outside the balck box.
    a) (effectiveness of the project) Same as above.
    Another interesting poit about TOC: It is ussually missunderstood that, from the TOC perspective, only improvements AT the costraint are worth doing. That’s wrong. The right phrase would be that only improvements FOR the cosntraint are worth doing, AT the constraint or somewhere else. Remember. Not only sqeeze the constraint. Also subordinate the whole organization to the constraint.
    For example, a resource that is a supplier of the constraint should be a zero defects supplier. Every product that reaches deffective at the constraint and is processed there is a waste of time for the whole organization. Also the customer of the constraint shuld be a zero defect customer. Every unit that managed to go through the constraint is too valuable to destroy it later. In the book “The haystack syndrome” (By Goldratt) there is avry nice eample of how a process change that INCREASE the whole processing (dock to dock) lead time of a product can actually increase the productivity of the system. Just remove some work from the constrain and do it in another non-botleneck operation, even if that non-bottelneck will do it slower more parts will go through the constriant.
    There is a good site for TOC. http://www.rogo.com. Go to CAC (crazy about constraints). In particular, go to the “links” part and look for the link to the DOE section of the Iowa State University. There you will find what is, as far as I’ve seen, the best 10 minutes presentation to learn what is TOC.

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    #92502

    Vek
    Member

    Well, Six Sigma does propogate the current system and its repeatbility even if it is not the right one.  Six Sigma is not a good tool for processes that need a radical redesign.  For a good critique read the dissenting opinion in the Oct issue of Mfg Eng. Magazine.
    http://www.sme.org/cgi-bin/get-mag.pl?&&03ocm009&000007&2003/03ocm009&ARTME&SME

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    #92503

    Sigmordial
    Member

    Vek,
    I honestly hope you are not the author of that article for 2 reasons — 1) if so, this self-aggrandized approach is rather bad form and 2) Sigma bashing is rather passe. I am not certain if you really understand Six Sigma as a methodology.  Six Sigma as a methodology does not claim to have invented new tools.  Rather, Six Sigma is a methodology that has orchestrated the effective and efficient use of these tools. 
    In your article, you mention Six Sigma’s reliance upon control charts (and associated theory) and with a rather blatant sense declared that the control limits are bassed on “Three Sigma limits.” In the same blatant sense, you could not be farther than the truth if you tried. First, contril limits are based on plus or minus three standard errors, not Sigmas or standard deviations (plum the depths of your alleged statistical prowess to find the differences between the 3).  Second, the purpose of control charts is to assess stability, not capability. In fact, as a huge prerequisite for capability analysis, the process MUST be in control.  These are the things that Six Sigma programs (okay, I have to qualify this with good Six Sigma programs) impart.  It is a methodology, mapping these individual tools into a whole solution.
    In your posting, you state, “Six Sigma is not a good tool for processes that need a radical redesign.” Again, not sure about your understanding of the Six Sigma methodology.  Over time, this need was recognized, and Design for Six Sigma came about.
    Now, I do agree with your concern about the surgence of the consultants — these folks know a good gig when they see one, and they flock like vultures to consume the opportunity.  These false prophets actually do more harm than good.
    Vek, if you are not the author, then no harm, no foul. If you are, take the time and really see what Six Sigma is all about — look at how the tools map together in the methodology. Most important, do not view Six Sigma as a threat.  If you really do not buy into this, this too is good for me and my Associates in Six Sigma — inevitably, we will have to clean up the messes that you and your like-minded folks have a tendency to make.

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    #92518

    Mikel
    Member

    Nothing like a little self promotion.
    Your facts are wrong about a lot. Just start with the simple fact that DOE had been around for a half century before you claim it was. Do all of your certifications and degrees give you the right to pass off opinion (and poorly informed at that) as fact?
    Yes, there is nothing new to Six Sigma. I think if you take the time to read, most competent practioners will say that. What is real is a handful of folks really know how to use and connect the tools. Most are self promoters (you too have the potential) or tool zoombies like my new friend David in this thread.
    Go write about something you actually know about.

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    #92519

    walden
    Participant

    This article is a pedantic summary from an ignorant person. Some areas are true, but the base of the article is so incorrect that it invalidates anything else the author has to say. I challenge the author of the article to actually complete Six Sigma training, complete a real Six Sigma project (that delivers significant business results) and then rewrite the article. It will be a different story.

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    #92529

    DaveG
    Participant

    …tool zoombies like my new friend David in this thread.
    Please let me know why you think I’m a tool zombie, along with whatever other constructive insights you can provide.
    [email protected] if you prefer.

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    #92533

    Mikel
    Member

    Sorry Dave, I don’t think that about you at all. I’m trying to be a smart a** in to many threads at once. I was talking about Dave over in the thread  Transactional-Long Vs. Short Term Sigma.Sorry, I’ll try to keep my Dave’s straight.

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    #92534

    DaveG
    Participant

    As Gabriel and Mario would say, “¡No problema!”
    Constructive criticism still welcome.

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    #92535

    PB
    Participant

    One of the key criticisms of Six sigma by systems thinkers is that six sigma does not challenge the way managers think, it designed to appeal to command and control managers and allows managers to maintain the status quo. Whereas systems thinking suggests that organisation should change current thinking and practices and instead of focussing on improving the 5% of problems the people they should focus on the 95% the work.

    I would be interested to know if people see this as a genuine criticism of six sigma or does six sigma enable a change in management thinking- a move away from command and control?
    Tracey,
    I hope I am understanding your post correctly ..
    The goal of the quality system is Assurance of Quality. The Six Sigma program aims at Quality Control (improvement in process making the product, indicates which factors are critical to the outgoing quality of the product, etc.)
    Quality System establishes the requirements that guide the day to day activity of the organization – example : Identification and Traceability of product, Specifications, CAPA, Document and Record Control, etc. Six Sigma requires you to have a structured approach to problem solving – DMAIC. Some organizations may require that you use all tools learned for belt certification.
    Having said that – Any organization starting Six Sigma program should  require that the Managers play a key role in this. They should want the managers to undergo belt training or provide a Sponsor training at the very least to them. Most of the Six Sigma projects should be sponsored by these managers and belts should be accountable to these managers at each stage of completion. Todays’ organization can not hold status quo as a good part of the profit may come from cost improvements and not increase in product prices. Todays’ organization needs to be a Customer Centric Continually Improving company. Within this framework, a Six Sigma program can coexist with a TOC, Lean, etc.  helping the continual improvement of the product quality and the Quality System. Bottomline – $$ 
    I firmly believe that those days of the Command and Control management styles are behind us. Management needs an empowered workforce and focus on 100% quality. If getting that done requires to be on the band wagon called ‘Six Sigma’ – even better.
    Good luck.
    PB

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    #100156

    the quality Catalyst
    Member

    Change “Vs” to “and”.

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    #173553

    kkanguatenge
    Participant

    I got introduced to six sigma and highly recommend this honey.It sweetens perfectly and heals naturaly.Six sigma is one of the best change management domains available to man that has potential for universal applications.Inherent in six  sigma is system thinking principles and plenty of quantitative analysis ,if not calculus.
    Since this domain is under constraction,there is differences of opinion.Like they say Do a project and let the Data do the talking.You are an inspiration person,thats your worth.

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    #173555

    Brandon
    Participant

    You replied to a FIVE YEAR OLD post….do you really think you’ve made a contribution….your “honey” has turned to vinegar.

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    #173557

    Stanly
    Member

    Brandon
    Stop your nonsense and your silly comments,please
    Where are your A/V comments in all that? 

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    #182842

    marie
    Participant

    Stan,
    Before using a statement like (B.S.) please use your thesaurus before using profanity. 
     
    Thanks
    Marie

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    #182846

    Mikel
    Member

    Maria,You win the dufus of the day award. Replying to a 5 1/2 year old post!I went back and reviewed the string of posts and the comment stands
    as accurate. And I was nicer than I should have been to that Philip
    Whateley guy.Come on back when you have something to contribute.

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    #182853

    Mikel
    Member

    http://www.countrysideinfo.co.uk/alcoa/cheque_p.JPGThe esteemed Dr Philip Whateley is second from the left.I hear he is the inventor of Six Sigma and in the back pocket of Dr.
    Wheeler.

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    #182857

    Taylor
    Participant

    Easy to tell who is getting the check and who is giving the check………Priceless
     

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