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Unknown Factors Lessens Six Sigma Impact

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  • #44467

    Matthew
    Participant

    Hello All,
    My company is currently in the middle of changing one of our departments to become more efficient using Six Sigma processes. One major concern is that a large part of our job depends on outside parties not under our control responding to us and providing information.
    My question is this: Is Six Sigma successful or useful in a situation where multiple steps of the work flow are dependent on variables that cannot be controlled?
    Please let me know what you think. Thank you for your time.

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    #142474

    Adam
    Participant

    Do yourΒ interdependancies have a six sigma program?

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    #142475

    Brit
    Participant

    I assume if someone is delivering something for you and you are reliant on that, then yo uare a customer of the supplier.Β  The relationship between the two can only get better if it is first measured and you understand the effects of a defective supply.Β  Six Sigma can help you identify and improve this relationship.

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    #142476

    Matthew
    Participant

    They may or may not, I’m not sure. But these entities aren’t under our control. They are departments within all the major banks, and as such, get backed up fairly easily, which means that our needs are shuttled to the bottom of the stack. There isn’t any communication between us and them with regards to the efficiency of how we work together.

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    #142481

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    VoC/QFD and a SIPOC are in order.

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    #142746

    Pavan Kishore K. S.
    Participant

    Hi Matthew,
    Your situation seems to be a perfet case where we need to do a lot of change management even before we can start making improvements.
    I have personally seen that until and unless you get the other departments as participants into the six-sigma project, it is not going to succeed. To get them in is a big challenge no doubt. There are multiple ways of doing it, some of whichΒ I am listing down here:
    1) Making a business case for other dept. headsSounds simple. We make a business case and talk to the department heads about this. Obisouly we dont do the talking with the department heads. We have our department head do the talking with other dpeartment heads. This ensures that no ego issues comes up. We try and get their buy-in and involve them in the project. Once they have their equity in the project, they will get involved
    2) Top-down approachSound easy. Talk to the CIO/CEO, present the business case and what to expect at the end. Tell him that it is critical to have other involved. Get the buy in and ask him to push for it. Get a 30 min. slot every month to present progress from everyone. This keeps the pressure on. This approach might result in other dept. heads having an ego issue.
    3) bottom-up approachCollect metrics on how many defects/delays/costΒ variancesΒ were because of your dept. and how many were due to other depts. Show the data to dept. heads and superiors and push them to get involved. This way you can build a very good case.
    Hope this helps. Looks forward to some more suggestions from others.
    Best regards,Pavan Kishore K. S.

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    #142775

    Matthew
    Participant

    Hi Pavan,
    Thanks for your input in this. They are all good suggestions, but it seems like they would only succeed if the inter-related entities are governed by one business. But our work depends on collaboration between similar groups in approximately a dozen different large corporations that have no interaction with us besides requests for information. Different companies, different CEO’s, different goals, etc. It just seems like our management is attempting to streamline our business unit when the bottleneck exists in the areas where we need to have cross-business collaboration, and we are powerless as a unit or as a business to promote that more effectively.

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    #142780

    Romesh
    Member

    It seems, you may need to revisit the scope of your project. To know that something is truly “uncontrollable” is of benefit. Work on the controllable variables and gain as many efficiencies as as you can.
    Romesh

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    #142826

    Pavan Kishore K. S.
    Participant

    Interesting situation Matthew,
    In this situation, I would take two approaches:
    1) Change the scope of the project as suggested by Romesh
    2) If we still feel that it is critical to change the way things are happening, i would start tracking the no. of defects due to other departments/companies (a defect could be delay w.r.t a SLA, etc.) and create trend charts over a period of time. Then start reporting these graphs to other departments and their CEO’s to make them realize things are not moving.
    You might even consider publishing these reports to a larger group of people, to build the pressure on them. Out of the many groups i am sure atleast one will start showing an inclination to improving and then you can use peer pressure to force others to join in. This is definitely going to be a painful process which will take time, but I have seen it work in a number of cases. You will definitely have to maintain a lot of patience.
    Best regards,
    Pavan Kishore K. S.

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    #142828

    Simon W
    Member

    Do agree with Pavan. This is also the means I use in my work, you know, the pressure is the weapon! But at same time, be careful.
    Good luck,
    Simon

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