Especially in service organisations, productivity is usually quite low due to a lack of efficiency caused by a missing focus on the process.
We often accept Rework as Normal Part of the Process.…
“We need to increase productivity!” What sounds very reasonable on a country scale could be damaging on a company level.
Now, after nearly two years of recession the economy is back on track, i.e. companies of all sectors sell more. This is good news, isn’t it? It brings our productivity to new heights, meeting and even surpassing the levels we had seen before the recession. Stop! This is not really good news. This is expected news. Every company – well managed or not – will be able to show these figures. The question is: have companies used the time of low productivity to expand the productivity potential in preparation for the future?
To find the most valuable Six Sigma projects – ones with the highest system-level leverage – can require systems thinking and tools like the causal loop diagram, which supplies much more information than the usual cause-and-effect analysis.
Well-focused improvements done in the right place can lead to significant system-wide results for an organisation. In simple terms, it is a matter of choosing the right Six Sigma projects. But the problem is that it is not always easy to know which projects will produce the highest system-level leverage.
Often Green Belts and Black Belts are left to their own devices to find projects. Because the locus of high-leverage changes is normally not located in close proximity, either in time or space, to the symptoms of the problem, it is often not obvious to participants in the system. The result is: the “right” projects may not be selected.
Besides business and functional know-how, a successful leader must have competencies in leading change and improving, designing and managing processes. A Six Sigma program helps prepare leaders by providing on-the-job training through project work.
A recent survey by iSixSigma Magazine of more than 1,300 business professionals whose companies are using Six Sigma revealed that leadership development programs which involve Six Sigma training are six times more likely to be called “highly successful” than those without. Many of these leadership development programs involve a Black Belt track for future leaders. Thus, the obvious question is, What skills and know-how do Six Sigma professionals acquire that gives them an edge as leaders?
New undertakings or experiences are always challenging at first. This is no different when Schenker Singapore (Pte) Ltd, a transportation & logistics company, decides to embark on something new like Lean Six Sigma. It might seem to be even more demanding at the outset since the number of 3rd party logistics providers rising to this challenge is very limited. Best practices in this industry are not widely spread and hard to come by.
A typical Friday evening starts with a family dinner in a nice atmosphere. This time we decide to visit one of our favourite restaurants for a light dinner with Sushi. Upon arrival we are amazed.
Usually, this place is packed on a Friday evening. Today, more than half of the seats are empty. Therefore, going in and taking a seat at the conveyor belt is very easy. Before the waitress has a chance to approach us we have taken some plates with Sushi already. …
A couple of months ago, I was having lunch with the Chairman of a medium-sized contract manufacturing company in Singapore. When we made the appointment, we agreed to meet at a posh club in the centre of the city-state. After arriving there I found myself in the middle of his management team. He brought MD and CFO along.
Six Sigma has been developed decades ago and fine-tuned by many companies since then. However, there is no ISO standard or something similar guiding the deployment or regulating the certification of the key players, Green Belts or Black Belts. There is only one key requirement that helps distinguish between success and failure: business results.
The easiest task in the journey to deploying Six Sigma or similarly Lean Six Sigma is the training of Green Belts and Black Belts. Many training companies have discovered this gold mine and produce hundreds of Belts every year. For small money, nearly everyone can attend twenty 3-hour evening sessions led by trainers who have hardly run any projects to become a Green Belt including certificate. Taking this certificate, attaching it to the CV and going for the next job application is a question of days.
The job of purchasing is obviously to source for reliable suppliers who deliver products conforming to specification on time within a certain price range. The more data is available about potential suppliers the better the decision will be. However, how shall the data be analysed?
FridgeMaker used to get supplies of a very crucial part, the Spacer, from Supplier X. Unfortunately, over the last months Supplier X has been struggling with waves of reorganisation resulting in unreliable deliveries and hence line stoppages for FridgeMaker.
FridgeMaker is looking for new suppliers for all parts coming from Supplier X. Purchasing has already started the supplier qualification process for the Spacer (10.5 +/-0.3) and has received parts from suppliers A, B and C. The data are shown here. Following this data purchasing can make their decision on price. All of the suppliers meet the requirements set out in the tender document. …
A couple of years ago, I was meeting the President of an Asian multi-national mid-sized service company for a Six Sigma Training on Saipan, a nice sunny pacific island south-east of Japan. Together with a colleague we were sitting at the beach, wearing swimming suits and preparing the next days session whilst getting sun-tanned. When the President arrived – he was in shorts and ugly slippers! – we had a casual briefing for the Leadership Team session and the Staff Awareness Sessions we were about to run during that week.
Some well-known companies have been “doing Six Sigma” for years. They keep doing improvement projects in all kinds of business and support processes, rolling it out in Sales and R&D. They are extending the application of Six Sigma to the entire value chain – suppliers and customers – in their drive for sustained performance improvement. They are successful in building the Six Sigma principles into their daily business life and using this powerful approach as a vehicle to drive cultural change.
Other companies pilot improvement initiatives like Six Sigma by running a couple of improvement projects, then recognise that the journey toward improved business results will be a long and difficult one that requires a turn-around in the mindset of managers. A post-mortem analysis of a failed Six Sigma effort usually points to the lack of management commitment and lack of attention to the business and cultural investment needed to reach and sustain new levels of performance. What practical steps can be taken to maintain the focus and drive needed to reap the full benefits that Six Sigma offers?
Globalisation and instant access to information, products and services continue to change the way our customers conduct business.
Today’s competitive environment leaves no room for error. We must delight our customers and relentlessly look for new ways to exceed their expectations. This is why Six Sigma Quality has become a part of our culture. Jack Welch, GE
First, what it is not. It is not a secret society, a slogan or a cliche. Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps all kinds of companies focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.
OurBank is an American international bank with 50 branches in Germany and approximately 300 employees working either in the headquarter office or in one of the branches.
In 2003, the senior management of OurBank decided to adopt and implement Six Sigma as their business management tool across all business units in the Europe region.
According to the OurBank business strategy, the car loan business was identified as one of the business priorities in the next 12 months. The strategy was to significantly grow the car loan business market share within the region in two years time, by 100% in the first year, and by another 70% in the second year.
OurBank is a small German bank with branches in Germany and approximately 300 employees working either in the headquarter office or in one of the branches. OurBank went through an acquisition, i.e. we became part of a large American multi-national enterprise focussing on financial services.
Due to the acquisition and the resulting uncertainty, staff turnover was sky-high, morale was down and performance was unsatisfactory. All communication activities nicely drafted in the 100-day M&A plan were not able to make the turn-around. Further talking about “Change Management” would have been devastating. Surveying employee satisfaction every quarter only reemphasised the problem for the management and sent the wrong signal to the staff. So, what happens next?
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