Six Sigma has different types of projects that can be conducted. Green Belts and Black Belts usually focus on process improvement projects, which are part of the five Six Sigma projects. The other types of projects are Quick Win, process design, process redesign and, of course, infrastructure implementation.
Infrastructure implementation is mostly about ensuring the proper design of organizational processes, that people adhere to them and that they are continuously improved. Let’s talk about it in a little more detail.
What is Infrastructure Implementation?
Infrastructure implementation focuses on the structured design and meticulous implementation of end-to-end processes within an organization in order to conduct process improvement in an organized manner. In an organization, a process is a series of homogenous activities that produce value for end-users.
Common examples of business processes include:
- Customer support
- Product development
- Client/employee onboarding
- Content marketing
- Order fulfillment
By homogeneous, it should be understood that the activities are grouped together and work with each other to serve the needs of the end user. This can be a customer or employee of the organization. These activities should allow people to work as a team since they contain tasks that are strongly related and non-territorial. The design of the activities should make it clear who should do them and when. Moreover, the process should be repeatable by design.
Order fulfillment is a good example of a process whose design adheres to this. In this process, activities encompass the period of time from when an order is placed by a buyer to the point the payment is made after the goods have been received. That entire process, from order placement to receiving the payment, is cross-functional. It requires the involvement of:
- Customer service
- Manufacturing (if the goods need to be manufactured)
When an organization is divided into functions, usually, activities are performed within their respective functional departments. And these departments aren’t aware of each other since they are focused on their own function-specific objectives. This scenario can lead to a lot of conflicts and waste, as well as a drop in productivity.
And since there is no one controlling the series of activities, from beginning to end, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to ensure repeatability and precision. This leads to people making things up as they go and an increase in variation (the very thing Six Sigma tries to minimize).
The context of the processes is what decides how activities are considered, designed, and implemented. This way, leadership can group activities in a manner that makes it obvious to everyone that they are part of a bigger picture aimed at benefiting the organization and its customers. This makes it clear that everyone must work together.
Also, management can undertake a systematic approach to process improvement and employees can carry out their duties in an organized and consistent manner since there is an end-to-end design inherent in the organizational processes.
Well-designed processes make process improvement a structured affair, increasing the chances of success. Infrastructure implementation is just one of the Six Sigma projects you can conduct to ensure better value for customers and efficient operation of the overall organization.
Interested in applying this to your own business? For more information on our Lean Six Sigma certification and services, please visit 6sigma.us.