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Why So Much Hatred Toward Six Sigma?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Why So Much Hatred Toward Six Sigma?

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  • #45562

    Dave K
    Participant

    I’ve been reading posts for the past several weeks to decide if Six Sigma is a system that I can employ at my company to reduce product variation and waste.  I don’t understand why there is such polarity on this issue.  To all the posters with negative comments: is there something wrong with a detailed plan to use tools, many statistical, to understand your process to a level that will enable reduction of variation?  What in Six Sigma will not work if used by a talented person in an open-minded organization?  If I track my product performace with an SPC chart and am alerted when there is deviation, am I an idiot?  Do I lack common sense?  Will that tool hurt my production?  Right now we don’t use SPC and production variation is through the roof.  Should I just keep doing things the same way and keep throwing “common sense” solutions to it?  Too often I hear people say all you need is common sense to fix a problem.   How many people have “Common sense”?  How common is it really?  So everything in the world boils down to common sense, there are no mysteries or unexplained occurances.  In a process to make a widget that takes 14 raw materials, 5 technicians, three ovens, two rinsing stations, two sifts, and a QA department what do you do when a product fails?  Throw in common sense?  Where would common sense direct your efforts.  “Nothing” in the process has changed so common sense would tell you to change nothing.  But still we have failures?  Remember, time is money and the problem needs to be fixed by the time second shift rolls in.  I’ve watched “common sense” fail for a decade.  It’s a giant cop-out for people that don’t want to learn something new and challenge themselves.
    So what in Six Sigma will not work?  Don’t get me wrong, consultants may over-hype and under sell, but am I missing something?  People don’t like the name or the reference to karate, but can I go wrong following a detailed plan of attack against variation?
    Sounds pretty darn good to me even if there are charlatans parading the methodology around.
    -Dave

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    #149201

    BTDT
    Participant

    Dave K:You have made some good points. I must agree that:- common sense is uncommon.- a systematic approach to solving business problems is a welcome addition to any business model.The VP of Six Sigma at GE ance remarked that projects were poorly done in all phases of DMAIC, EXCEPT I. Well meaning, intelligent people have been making, and will continue to make improvements in processes. What was a bit lacking was the project approach to identifying and fixing problems.The tools are only useful in that they help to focus the team in a certain aspect. I often say that you can use The Cosmic Psychic Alliance to improve a process if you wish, but you should still have the rest of the components of financial tracking, stakeholder analysis, communication plan, control plan, etc., etc.Cheers, BTDT

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    #149202

    Robert Dunne
    Member

    Dave,
    There is a great deal of emotion against SS because of the way it has been sold and the outrageous claims that have been made for it.  At the same time there is a vast amount technically and socially wrong with it.  With regard to the latter, you might start by reading the articles here:
    http://users.bigpond.net.au/SixSigmaFallacies/
    You should expect that the SS consultants here who are making lots of money from SS will claim these articles are the work of the devil, but make up your own mind.

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    #149206

    Adam
    Participant

    The biggest complaint you will hear is the 1.5 sigma shift.  If you call a 4.5 process good or a 6 sigma process good, it’s still the same process.  The tools will improve a process if used the right way by the right people.  Most companies half ass it and don’t get good results.  In regards to the shift, it’s a preference call.  Just like a difference in farenheit or celcius.  They both measure temperature and will give you the same temperature according to their scales.  If you’re going to implement six sigma, make sure you’re at the top and make it a way of life, not a half ass tool to change some processes that don’t contribute to the goals of the organization.

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    #149207

    Waste
    Member

    Dave,
    The first thing that you have to keep in mind is that the level of experience on this site ranges from Undergraduates who have a desire to complete assignments to GBs/BBs and a few stragglers who have never worked in this field to professionals who have been involved with Six Sigma at all levels for the past 15 + years. There are three layers of debates within Six Sigma:
    1. Sigma calculation: For the most part, I think, that the criticisms are valid. However, they are blown out of proportion typically by those who have a very narrow view of six sigma and have never been at the organizational level to implement an operational or strategic change management initiatiative. In my opinion, the sigma calculation was a very clever marketing tool to sell the model in terms of a measurement that would allow a CEO to compare any process with any other process. With the success of six sigma, this “marketing tool” has become deemphasized as it became clear that the calculations are questionable and don’t hold up to empirical test. Some others really bought into it and have a desire to defend it all costs. Big Deal … you can have “six sigma” as a change management initiative with simple control charts calculation, without a big loss to your business. The validity for transactional processes is still outstanding as the measure was implemented for manufacturing processes (I am sure there will be a heated debate over that issue some time … e-mails come flying very quickly here:-).
    2. The methodology (ies). Here you have the question what is new? Really, not much. DMAIC stems from PDCA, and the basic tools have been around for 50 or so years. The philosophy of TQM and Six Sigma are not fundamentally different. As a result, I would be careful if anyone told you that Six Sigma is the strategic initiative! Strategy and Six Sigma are two different things even though Jack Welsh was very clever at linking the two at GE. Lately two additional discussions have surfaced: Should experimental designs based on “classical” DOE or Taguchi design. Robert Butler, who is one of the few trained statisticians on this site recently gave an excellent summary.  As a six sigma leader, I leave it up to my MBBs or engineers to decide which methodology to utilize. I have very different headaches to deal with. The second line of discussion revolves around lean. Clearly, lean is not new and we have seen an importing of the Toyota production system in the forms of two books (Womack and Lieckert) who uses elements of the TPS and market it as “Lean”. The George Group has made it its mission to create a Lean Six Sigma methodology for transactional processes. Again, do I care as a change management leader how you call the package? I have very different headaches to deal with.
    3. Organizational structure: Interestingly, here is the least debate, even though it is hear that I see the biggest challenges. This directly impacts the deployment plan and the probability of success of the initiative. Do I mandate a percentage of FTEs to be G/B or Y certified? If so, do I mandate a certain amount of projects? If so, do I mandate a certain amount of savings? What I typically see is that depending on the organization, this top-down approach can be benefitial or detrimental. Here is where your true questions should come into play. How do I make it work? And this is where we have no clear answer because every organization is different (I know that’s a platitude, but the matter of fact is that it may or may not work. And if it works, for how long? 3 years, 5 years? There is a limitation to any change management inititiative. The question is: How much can you get out of it for your organization.
    What I have done in the past in order to decide on a change management initiative and launch it is to get a core team of excecutives (CEO, CFO, COO etc.) together and have various consulting groups come in and present their approach. You’ll be surprised how much discussion this will stir in terms of what the organization truly needs to be successful. Six Sigma is not always the answer. And if it is, there needs to be a vast amount of fine-tuning in the implementation and strategic deployment of the program.
     
     

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    #149209

    Lebowski
    Participant

    Dave K,
    You won’t go wrong following a detailed plan of attack. The battles that go on are basic stupidity. They argue over pointless issues that do not affect the outcome of projects. If you have ever attended an ASQ meeting you can see this behavior live. Someone presents a case study and then the audience comes up with idiotic liitle issues when the person is standing there presenting the results.
    Common sense won’t get you there. There is no such thing as common sense. The only way to have common sense is to have common experience with a common interpretation of the event. What is common sense to one person is not common sense to another.
    Consultants are not the root of all that is wrong. There is nobody that ever convinced Bossidy or Welch to do something they did not want to do. You can’t even get an appointment with either one of them unless someone helps. They have a ton of brain power around them so nobody sells them something without intense examination.
    I learned Six Sigma from a person who sold no expectations other than if I wanted to do it I would have to work my a_s off assuming I wanted anything positive to come out of it. I was also taught that I didn’t need a special brand for healthcare, small businesses, transactions etc. We follow data and just go where the data leads. The data defines the tools or the question that needs to answered defines the tools. On my first deployment if we would have stopped after the first year there would have been about a 10:1 payback. If it shut down tomorrow it would have been a worthwhile investment. The problem would be some idiot would see it shut down and claim it was a failure.
    Do we care what Wheeler, Harry, or anyone else says. Of course we read but it doesn’t create boundaries for what we allow ourselves to believe. That are concepts and they can build on what you already know and what is working. Some of it is self promotion but you read past that. Unfortunately with Harry it is primarily self promotion and the effort to dig through his material leaves you holding some less than interesting information on a shift that doesn’t have any effect on a project.
    Darth’s idea of sending Dr ? whatever his name was and Harry off to have a debate was great. Let them take Monk and his idiot friend Marlon Brando. That would be Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest and Dumb Beyond All Belief but they would believe they were relevant. That gives each of the Dr’s someone to worship them and the rest of us can focus on improving our business.
    Lebowski

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    #149213

    Dave K
    Participant

    To the previous 5 posts….thanks for the input and I agree with much of what is said.  I personally do not care about a 1.5 sigma discrepency, my company is at 1 Sigma!!!!  If I could even get to 2 or 3 std then hundreds of thousands would be saved. 
    We all seem to agree there is no common sense.  Aristotle had common sense.  It was common sense that heavier objects fall faster then lighter ones.  It took 1000 years to prove him wrong with a very simple experiment (or so the story goes) 
    And to “Waste” post #3 – Organizational structure, I whole heartedly agree.  I am a physical chemist by training and believe entropy is always working against us.  I believe that without paying too much attention (i.e. use only common sense) you get 1 sigma (60-70% yield).  Pay so many FTE’s or other metrics and you get to 2 sigma.  Pay the same amount or even more and you get to 3.  But you must pay that same amount or more to get to 4.  There’s no cheating entropy.  And you must stay vigilent and keep paying or you slip back in 3 to 5 years as people come and go and they no longer follow the system, whether it’s TQM or Lean or Six Sigma or whatever.  Stop maintaining your car and see how long it lasts.  I believe this is the crux of the problem.
    We used to say in thermodynamics, the first law is “you don’t get something for nothing” and the second law (entropy) is “you don’t even get what you pay for”
    Thanks, -Dave

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    #149216

    Waste
    Member

    Dave,
    Even though I only get very little information out your 2 posts in regards to the constraints that you are operating under, you may want to seriously look into the Goldratt Institute and TOC as an alternative to Six Sigma. While in the literature it is still being published as an appendix to operations management, it has morphed into quite an impressive change management approach that may leap frog your company without the unnecessary “systems constraints” that Six Sigma imposes on an organization through its mechanical implementation rituals. Their logic may also be more cogent to your own type of thinking (which is very refreshing on a site that has become as ossified and as self-referenced as this one).

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    #149217

    Schuette
    Participant

    Here’s a thought … rather than taking the opinions of a bunch of anonymous anybodies like us, why not write a short note to a few of the world’s leaders in quality.
    Dr Wheeler should be first on the list:
    [email protected]
    Any additions to the list ?

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    #149218

    Dale
    Participant

    I agree there has been more polarization – but it’s about topics that I consider marginal to process improvement – in any method.  Six Sigma, Sigma, DPMO, etc.  – no one can manage or improve their process using those metrics.  And where I was trained it was just used for a swag.
    I looked at the site Robert gave and, again, I see no one specifically addressing the SS tools and basic processes.  I guess to someone who has only done SS in their career it could lead them down the wrong path, but they’d probably get there anyway – just riding a different pony.
    To keep my sanity, whenever I see another post about the 1.5 shift I just start singing Let’s do the time warp again.  (For those that have never seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show:
    The Time Warp

    Riff Raff

    It’s astoundingTime is fleetingMadness takes its tollBut listen closely

    Magenta

    Not for very much longer

    Riff Raff

    I’ve got to keep controlI remember doing the Time WarpDrinking those moments whenThe blackness would hit me

    Riff and Magenta

    And the void would be calling

    Chorus

    Let’s do the Time Warp againLet’s do the Time Warp again

    Criminologist

    It’s just a jump to the left

    Chorus

    And then a step to the right

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    #149220

    Mikel
    Member

    Wheeler is as much a spin doctor as Harry. Anyone seeing him in person or reading his stuff has been subjected to being told how his way is superior. Yet, I have never seen a business leader say Don led them out of the wilderness. I have only seen a bunch of mid to low level engineering types chanting his mantra (and mostly not accomplishing much).
    Put someone out there that is recognized as transforming a business.

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    #149226

    Darth
    Participant

    Dave,
    Good insight.  I have been in the quality business over 30 years and have had the good fortune to work with hundreds of companies in their quest to get better.  The recent threads, frankly, are emotional and full of crap.  If you fixate on any one element and make a decision as to the validity and usefulness of the SS approach then you have indeed missed the point.  Yes, there are some questionable aspects such as the 1.5 shift but who cares????  A systematic data driven approach to analyzing and improving what an organization does is the core of what SS is all about.  It draws on a number of tools both statistical and Lean and can be applied to any part of an organization.  It is poor foolishness to focus in on the name or one little aspect of the methodology.  Call it Dave and forget about the shift.  Who cares who developed it, it’s here and it works.  Maybe you need a Guide to help you through the mine fields, maybe you don’t.  Lots of sound and fury lately, signifying nothing.  Dave, stop reading the Forum and get started on applying the approach to your business.

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    #149227

    Marlon Brando
    Participant

    Juran,Kano,Mikel Harry,….etc

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    #149229

    systhinc
    Member

    Dave,
    with a company at 1 Sigma, you need to investigate first, a Quality System. I do not mean certification. I mean a system of planning for quality by understanding customer requirements and how to get to them (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis->Control Planning->Corrective and Preventive Actions). I have done this first in companies, teaching the tools and theory to a core team and then rolled it out to the rest of the company AFTER identifying and fool-proofing the key value destroyers. If you’d like to discuss this off line, without all of the egos and fanatics involved, email me.

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    #149244

    Lebowski
    Participant

    Let’s translate that into common language.
    Your God (Wheeler) is the only true god and anyone who does not believe as you believe is evil and wrong. Guess what? You sound just like Reigle. You just worship at a different alter.
    Try a new church. The church of freedom of thought where you don’t need to find something written by someone else before you alow yourself to believe it.
    Lebowski

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    #149276

    Dave K
    Participant

    Thanks for the information.  I’m always looking for better ways to operate the business.  My company is struggling with adopting Six Sigma.  The owner uses it as a buzz word and his minions pay it lip service to look like they are on board and get big bonuses, but they don’t have the ability to drive it home.  We in the trenches are trying to improve production but get our hands tied by upper management to not change a thing because they say it all used to work.  But when you show them historical data (SPC charts) and say the process never worked, they want to dispell it and fondly remember the past that they want to remember.  So as you can see I’m more frustrated with the organization than the abilities of the tool.  I wish my biggest problem was the technicality of a 1.5sigma shift!
    -Dave 

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    #149280

    Deming Student
    Participant

    People dislike six sigma because management is using this 4th generation knowledge and tool set in their third generation management system.  Third generation is all about #’s, blame, abuse, and chaos.  They don’t think process, process control, variation reduction or system thinking & cause and effect.

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    #149283

    Dave K
    Participant

    FANTASTIC!  What a great statement.  It may become my next mantra.  “A 4th generation tool in a 3rd generation management system.”  I think this really says it all!
    -DAve

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