In the implementation of Six Sigma, an effective infrastructure lays the foundation for success. An effective infrastructure for your Six Sigma or Lean Flow change initiative in an organization requires a clear strategy and comprehensive planning.
Strategizing and Planning
The planning stage of a Six Sigma deployment is where you can gain valuable traction. A critical factor in a successful deployment is the selection and chartering of the project that link to the strategy of their organization. Project should be selected with an understanding of what areas within the business are struggling to meet performance goals in the standard areas of cost, capacity and customer service. A deployment meeting can be called to create a prioritized project list. Once the projects are selected, project leaders are identified and readied for training. The leadership team identifies process characteristics that have the most impact on quality–separating the “vital few” from the “trivial many.” With these characteristics identified the team can create a map of the process to be improved with defined and measurable, deliverables, and goals that will guide the project deployment.
Once an organization initiates a Six Sigma program, it is very important for the organization to effectively deploy information about its target goals to employees. Involvement of top management and alignment of company leadership are critical. With the chief executive’s decision to proceed, a corporate-level deployment champion that reports directly to the chief executive should be identified. A set of policies, guidelines and rules must be developed with involvement of the deployment champion, one or more steering committees, and selected corporate departments such as finance, human resources, quality, communications and others.
Determining the current performance levels and setting goals for improvement are accomplished through an On-Site Assessment coupled with a Value Stream Assessment. The On-Site Assessment provides insight to the current directions of the business and the business metrics employed. The Value Stream Assessment provides detailed metric data for the processes within the business for use in aligning resources with projects.
Establishing and executing Six Sigma training plans are also critical. Some organizations try to cut costs by training only some members of the project team. This may seem penny-wise but ends up being pound-foolish. Implementation of significant return on investment can be realized from an orchestrated deployment over a grass-roots effort. If your organization is considering sending more than ten people through Green or Black Belt training, it is recommended that you consider a customized On-Site Deployment to maximize your return on training investment.
Organizations might insist on saving money by using Black Belts who are part-time.
However, successful completion of projects is increased when the Black Belt project leader can focus full-time on the project. It is important to get the right people involved doing the right things and the Black Belt should be available to assist everyone involved in the project. An organization will realize a much larger return on investment with dedicated resources. The Black Belt must also be a mentor to everyone on the team and develop a mentoring process. During the project, the Black Belt should continually Structure the team and its actions to best utilize the disparity in knowledge and techniques of the team members and increase project member morale. Chances of success is also improved when the Black Belt has a technical resource to review the project for use of the methods and for progress towards the desired goal. Mentoring can be accomplished through various means but should be conducted for no less than 2 hours per project per month.
An Ongoing Process
The implementation of Six Sigma must impact how people think and perform their day-to-day work. Continuous improvement processes, such as Six Sigma, means including people, gaining their involvement, and then supporting what they are trying to accomplish. Six Sigma asks for input on improvement solutions from all employees because it recognizes the value of creative solutions to problems from any and all sources. For real and lasting process improvement, that is how it should be. Thus, Six Sigma deployment is not a on-time thing; it is an ongoing activity.
Author: Peter Peterka Google