With the implosion of Toyota, Six Sigma has gotten a bad rap in the in the business community. Companies are questioning the effectiveness of the method and if whether it has run its course in the business world. Often expensive and time consuming, companies looking for a reason not to use it hit the jackpot with the Toyota debacle. Six Sigma is a quality program, but let me tell you why it’s not working for you.
1. It is not a band aid solution– If your company is hemorrhaging in any way, Six Sigma will not provide an instant solution. Six Sigma is a long-term solution and needs to be incorporated into your company’s way of life. The benefits of Six Sigma occur beneath the surface within the foundation of your company and you have to be willing to invest the time and resources for a successful program.
2. This is not a part-time function– Whomever you chose to be the Six Sigma Champion in your organization has to be full- time; this is not a part-time commitment. You cannot take your Operations Manager and make them your champion. Six Sigma duties cannot be managed in addition to your primary duties. In order for the Six Sigma program to be successful and create long lasting effects, it needs to be the central focus of the champion.
3. Six Sigma requires you to build and effectively manage a team– you will hear many people testify to various situations and examples of how Six Sigma doesn’t address people and the ‘soft issues’ within an organization as proof that the method is outdated. The truth is the method is hugely misunderstood by consultants, efficiency experts and companies. Six Sigma focuses on making your business process more efficient and quality based; to achieve this all Six Sigma processes hinge on understanding staff and customer relationships. Management is trained to study and identify staff values and expectations, while staff is taught to understand and react to customer value and requirements. Both Staff and management are required to understand how needs and requirements affect quality and how they can be used to create a more effective work environment.
4. Six Sigma will not fix poor management– If your organization has weak or tyrannical leadership, Six Sigma will not work for you. Six Sigma requires a fundamental team atmosphere, where decisions are made openly and with input from all team members. Staff and management accountability are major foundations of Six Sigma, if you are running a company with a blame atmosphere Six Sigma is not a wise investment.
5. Six Sigma requires a total commitment– as with all serious relationships, Six Sigma requires that you commit all or nothing. As a long-term solution the amount of focus and energy you put into the program directly correlates with the amount of success the program will bring your company.
Business is no different from any other situation and understanding the solution you are trying to implement will significantly increase your success. Six Sigma is a set of tools that can bring your company an immense amount of success if understood. No tool will be effective without proactive management and staff participation; once those areas are addressed, Six Sigma can create some of the most profound and positive changes your company will see.