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When mgmt says there are no just do its!

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General When mgmt says there are no just do its!

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  • #35249

    pessimist
    Participant

    I work for a very large corporation that implemented Six Sigma a few years ago. I have no beef with six sigma per se: it’s a fine tool for process improvement.The problem is the management policies that have been implemented regarding six sigma. Six Sigma has become and end in itself. It’s as if management has lost site of the fact that six sigma is only means of improving our business and profits.Some departments have been told that there are no more just do its – ANY cost saving or improvement plan must be a six sigma project. Managers are evaluated, in part, by how many projects they sponsor. You actually get in trouble for saving money by doing obvious things. For example.One employee used to work at a plant that did a lot of web handling (winding and unwinding of rolls). He switched jobs and moved to another plant. The new plant he moved to had only one small web handling line. This line was having some problems. This guy, having a lot of web handling experience, noticed immediately that the web steering unit was acting strangely. So he downloaded the manufacturers information from the Internet adjusted the steering unit as recommended by the manufacturer and it made an immediate and measurable improvement in the lines performance. He asked the maintenance supervisor to add this simple procedure to the month maintenance schedule.He got in trouble – because he did not start a six-sigma project to do this. Management was not able to include it in the SS project count, nor the savings it created as SS savings. Management would have preferred to delay the benefits for several months and to invest thousands of dollars in time to reaching the obvious answer.What can you do when management goes crazy?

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    #98676

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    pessimist,
    Have you asked them why?
    We have groups that have made the same decision. The reason they have done that is because they wanted to get control of change or the lack of permenant change. They looked at JDI’s and found that overall the changes did not last. Now a project goes through D,M, & C if it is considered a JDI. That doesn’t even sound like English.
    People do things for a reason. They usually tell you if you ask.
    Good luck.

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    #98680

    pessimist
    Participant

    Yes, I have asked, and there is no valid answer. And then they say, “I’m sorry, I know this sucks, but we just have to do it.” I do not believe our CEO wanted six sigma to be managed in this way. When we were GB trained, the training started out explaining that SS is not the best tool for every problem – don’t make just do its into SS projects.I believe the problem is that there is no politically viable way for the message to get from my level up to the CEO. A VP or some such upper mid-manager is creating an atmosphere or fear. I believe the problem is a few incompetent managers.The solution has been know in advance to all of the SS projects I’ve worked on – all the team members, the champion, everyone agreed on the best course of action.I feel that there is a real reluctance to use SS on the difficult problems where you can’t see what the right answer might be. If the project gives an answer that goes against conventional wisdom (less inventory is always better) it might cause problems.I am considering writing an anonymous but constructive letter to the CEO, members of the board explaining how managing SS in a different way could yield better short-term and long-term financial results for our stock holders.

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    #98681

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    pessimist,
    Why would you do an anonymous letter. You have to make a decision and be responsible for whether or not you ride in First Class or Coach. You should be able to go see the CEO (take a copy of Deming’s 14 Points with you and highlight the one on driving out fear). If the CEO does not fire you there is a good chance no one else will either (assuming you make your point to the CEO).
    You hear all the stories about how tough it is at GE. Ask them how many people have a hand written response in black felt tip pen (in the margin) from Jack Welch.
    If that does not work for you and participation is voluntary – back out of the program and get the others to do it as well. Sooner or later someone will come to ask why nobody wants to participate.
    Good luck.

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    #98689

    Howard Miller
    Participant

    Hi Pessimist,
    I agree with Mike’s last statement, however I would like to add that you have something missing in your company, and that is the fundimentals of Kaizen / Lean. So far everything in my SSBB training and experience seems geared towards singular project improvements. The basis of change within a company needs to be in the mindsets of everyone in the company. Also there needs to be a freedom to improve from upper mgt. If you do not have this make your point known and sign it with your name. I have done something like this 4 times in the last 8 years, every time I have either been promoted, or at least listened to.
    Please see posting 44243 for something that you may be interested, also one up and one down.
    H.

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    #98720

    aBBinMN
    Participant

    Define: web handling line, steering unit
    Measure: acting strangely true or false? TRUE
    Analyze: compare unit current state to manufacturer’s information
    Improve: adjust
    Control: add procedure to monthly maintenance schedule
    It’s just as valid as insisting you need a 3-6 month project to correct every little thing. If management wasn’t getting paid because someone in payroll was sorting an Excel sheet wrong, would they want to wait for a bb project to fix the problem?
    JDIs can have unintended consequences, but in general you don’t need DMAIC before you can get people to follow procedures they should already be following, or to reduce variation in your process, unless significant expense is involved. Full-blown DMAIC works best when people already follow directions (including manufacturers’ instructions) and the process is under some semblence of control.

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    #99408

    Baez
    Participant

    Our organization went down the same path.  We thought Six Sigma was a silver bullet, and we had an edict from a highly placed former GE star.  Well, that star crashed and burned and we learned there are no silver bullets.  Now our organization is left struggling with steering a maintenance culture to a growth culture.  The legacy of this struggle, is the reluctance of the organization to embrace anything.  The experience has fostered change resistance to ideas like project managment, continuous improvement and change itself.  Lesson learned:  One Size Does Not Fit All.

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    #99410

    domino
    Participant

    How about this suggestion.  Do a project to improve the performance of the line.  X1 may be follow procedures.  Are there any other improvements that can be made?  You will find out if you put a team together and go through the Analyze phase.  How hard is it to put together a team, set up a baseline, Analyze the problem, implement some solutions and then set up a control plan (maybe even a control chart of the performance). And if done right the improvement will remain for years to come rather than for a few months.  It shouldn’t take several months and thousands of dollars.  I have done several projects where we implement the low hanging fruit ASAP and then as other improvements are identified we work on them.  Yes MBBs and managers get graded on the number of projects and the dollars saved.  Don’t you want to be recognized for your hard work and dollar savings.  Use Six Sigma to get recognized in your company.  Don’t fight the system, use it to your advantage. 

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    #99411

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Now can some explain to me why there needs to be a difference between a JDI and a DMAIC ‘project’. There are no JDI’s because they should all be DMAIC’s (6S). The king is dead long live the king so to speak.
    DMAIC is pretty fundamental and most of us do part of it when solving any problem. Even a JDI must include, however informal, a D M, A and an I thought process.. If all that is taken to make it a 6S project is a C (which incidentally should be done anyway) document it and track the savings then there is hardly any difference…the latter is a better situation to have.
    I think what CEO’s want is that DMAIC becomes established as an everyday approach for every person in every department. The whole thing should be JDI but JDI using DMAIC. I have no problem with retrospectively adding a completed project to my 6S list as long as it could show that DMAIC had been followed and the benefit was real and being tracked…..who can argue against the data after all. 
    I would challenge anyone to tell me that that was not a correct implementation of the purpose of 6S.
    You still need some form of project selection and prioritization to make sure that you’re working on the biggest benefits but that should not stop the JDI’s and you should be able to claim any genuine, permanent improvement that you can define.
    Sadly you’re right that many executives, manager’s and practitioners have got caught up in the machinery of 6S and forgotten what it’s purpose is.
    Mia

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    #99604

    cespa
    Participant

    pessimist,
    I think you have pointed out a common management problem, where the management may sometimes seem too inflexible and not making good common business sense. It is happening everywhere at every second. By saying that, however, let’s get ourselves impartial to the situation and try to understand from the management point of view, as well as the spirits of 6 sigma.
    First, to management, one of their CTQs of their job is the number of 6 sigma projects. And if that is the defined CTQ, no matter how insane it may sound, they just have to deliver it. Sames as when a CTQ may not make sense to your business, but as long as it is important to customers, your business should simply deliver, or risk being left chasing in the competition. So, I can understand why the management behave in that way, and I assume it is the way of life.
    Now, to come back to the spirits of 6 sigma which is a data-driven methodology for process improvement, I think it makes some sense to deal with issues (any issues) in a more data driven and systematic way. Not coming from an industry that has to do any web handling, I cannot speak for you if the solution is just as straight forward as it sounds. If I were to put my 6 sigma consultant hat on, however, I would ask whether the solution has eliminated the root cause of the problem? Is there an even better way to do it? Is there a smiliar problem else where too? etc. A quick study doesn’t take long, but it can help to verify the extend of the problem. Not all the 6 sigma projects have to be 3-6 months.
    So, you can probably answer of these questions yourself. My point is: Sometimes, it may seem straight forward to solve a problem. However, it could only be a work-around for the time being. We may have neglected the root cause and/or missed a bigger improvement opportunity if we don’t look deeper and further.

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    #99614

    Jonathon L. Andell
    Participant

    As usual, I agree with Mike. This comment is meant to build on that. Here are two situations that could motivate managers to call everything a Six Sigma project:

    A desire to avoid the hassle of thinking a little bit.
    A bonus based on counting total nnumbers of projects completed – in which case they’d call it a Six sigma project if more than one person changed a light bulb.
    Yes it happens. I’ve seen it, even at supposedly “illustrious” companies.

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    #99651

    pessimist
    Participant

    Why should “number of six sigma projects” be important?  What is the entitlement for number of projects?  Why should I believe this variable is a good indicator of the status of the organization?  Management fails to use any sort of data driven approach in setting goals for the six sigma program itself.
     If you want to know how well manufacturing is doing, then look at hourly rate, waste, unit cost, number of safety incidents, number of defects, etc.

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    #99654

    pessimist
    Participant

    Most corporations have many college educated professionals, some with many years of experience: business majors, engineers, accountants, scientists, attorneys, etc.  These professionals are capable of independently tackling a class of problems that fall within their expertise.  Think about how your doctor and auto mechanic would operate if there were no JDIs.  (Curiously, spell check wanted to change JDIs to “Judas”!)What if you went to the doctor with an ear infection, and the doctor had to get authorization to form a team with other medical professionals to review your case before he could act.  You might be deaf before you ever got treatment, and you’d get a $20,000 medial bill.Your family doctor is qualified to solve basic medical problems on his own.  He can prescribe antibiotics for your ear infection.  Most of the time this will result in a quick and (reasonably) permanent cure at a low cost.  But it’s not guaranteed – the infection might be resistant to the antibiotic that was prescribed, or it might be a symptom of a larger problem.  But the benefits of the doctor prescribing antibiotics during your office visit far outweigh the risks of a lengthy and expensive battery of tests to collect data about every possible cause.>”Don’t you want to be recognized for your hard work and dollar savings.”You are mistaken if you assume that everyone thrives from public recognition.  I would prefer to work quietly on a meaningful project that lets me use my time very efficiently.  You may have assumed that I am a BB.  I’m not – I’m a GB.

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    #99658

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Pessimist,
    When you have a metric on number of projects you are not answering the question:
    If you want to know how well manufacturing is doing, then look at hourly rate, waste, unit cost, number of safety incidents, number of defects, etc.
    Your Management team is trying to get Six Sigma institutionalized and want to know how Six Sigma is doing. It is not uncommon , in the beginning of a program to do something like this. The problem is that if the program has been in place for a while and it is still running like this then there is a problem – quick way to tell is if they are doing project selection off that 3X3 matric with different size dots – if they are then nobody is steering the boat. The problem most likely is that whomever is running the deployment is not providing any options. If you want to get away from management by fiat then you need to collect data and build a plan around project stratification, cycle times by project types, queue size (for projects), etc.
    You have been taught the SS system (I am assuming that from previous posts). SS is data driven. That means there should be metrics and those should correlate to results. Right now they see correlation between “do more projects – get more money.” Nobody has shown them that if you characterize your projects like this and this group gives you this average savings but they take longer option. Offer an option/solution or both.
    Good luck

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    #99669

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Hi Pessimist,
    I’m with you. the point of being a trained professional is that you can proactice what you are trained to do. Sometimes that needs a team (for many reasons) sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it needs a project, sometimes it just needs doing and sometimes it needs a long term committment to a continued effort.
    I prefer to see a job well done, happy employees, the occasional pat on the back.
    Certified BB, no direct financial gain from being so….but that’s not why I took it on anyway.
    Mia

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    #99671

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Pessismist,
    Absolutely!! the only people worse than senior managers for not using sound data for setting the goals for Six Sigma are the consultants who sell it to them!!!!!! now that’s contentious for this forum.
    Mia

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    #99970

    chhabra
    Participant

    Hello,
    lets Try to see problem technically.
    Do you have Tollgates in place in your Organisation. Because the project which has cause/solution already known come in low hanging fruit category . You can put such projects in these category and still show it in six sigma value.
    Amit

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    #101078

    Ang
    Participant

    Good day everyone and great discussion.
    We are at a crossroad in our continuous improvment effort, which includes Action Workouts/Kaizen Events/Blitzes, Six Sigma, and what has been classified to date as Just Do It’s.  I recently became aware of some of these JDI’s and found them to be, in my opinion, not JDI’s.  They were assigned that acronym because the solution was known.  Is that truly the only criteria for a JDI.  I see that criteria referenced many places on this site and haven’t come across a sound ‘definition’ of a JDI.  In prior companies, JDI’s were something you did that if it didn’t work out, the ‘pain’ (i.e. $$ loss) was not excessive.  For instance, people could do JDI’s if implementation costs were under $50 (and there manager agreed there was a benefit, hopefully greater than $50).
    Some will say JDI is what you call it, but I am posting to get other professional opinions to see what other successful companies have done.  I appreciate your feedback and have a great day.
    Peter

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