Is your organization ready for Six Sigma?

Recently multiple enterprises have impulsively applied the Six Sigma methodology expecting phenomenal success like GE, Motorola, and AlliedSignal. Implementing Six Sigma might appear to be a lucrative proposition for many, but it has its own set of challenges and pre-requisites. When the required factors are not in place, Six Sigma cannot deliver best results for your organization.

Hence, prior to implementing Six Sigma, it is useful to assess whether your company is ready for this advanced quality management process. Some of the crucial factors that decide your company’s readiness for Six Sigma are discussed below:

Availability of dedicated resources

If you want  Six Sigma to work for you, then your management should ensure the presence of qualified professionals taking charge of projects as well as mentoring others working towards process enhancements. Though this is apparent, but still today there are organizations who are attempting to implement Six Sigma on a “part-time” basis. This means that management is utilizing the existing resources under the title of “Black Belts”.  Hence, if a certain professional is responsible for an operational job and functions as a Black Belt, Six Sigma will not realize its complete potential. With two varying assignments, the employee is most likely to focus on everyday activities than the process enhancement projects. This means, until your company has dedicated resources for process improvement activities implementing Six Sigma will be unyielding.

The business aptitude

Six Sigma processes and tools are sure to work for your company. The question of what speed at which the process is absorbed and comprehended by an enterprise is what decides the success ratio. Manufacturing firms were the first ones to have adopted the Six Sigma process followed by other industry verticals. Manufacturing companies with their past quality practices, such as Total Quality Management, Statistical Process Control and Mathematical modelling has been able to integrate Six Sigma to their business processes seamlessly. Similarly, multiple service-based companies have also assimilated the process. Thus, successful Six Sigma implementation depends on the business aptitude of the company. A transactional firm however should avert deploying a generic training program if it does not address the business requirements.

Alignment with the project

Once the Six Sigma process gets commenced and the professionals are trained, then multiple ideas for projects should be generated. The count of projects that are launched holds less significance than their influence on the bottom-line. There are times, when several completed projects have unending work in progress. Increasing the involvement of the Black Belt and Green Belt projects might primarily assist in promoting a culture change within the organization, if the company can steer clear from the following two pitfalls:

  • When the employees find themselves in multiple project groups they can find it complicated to manage time. This leads to a Six Sigma overload and also results in unfulfilled project deliverables

  • When the projects are chosen without any key-stakeholder assistance or any buy-in from the enterprise’s leadership that negatively impacts the project

Hence, prior to launching Six Sigma it is crucial to evaluate on how the projects gets chosen. It is essential to tie the projects into the key business indicators and the metrics. Assignments that appears to be the “Feel good projects” will result in eroding Six Sigma as it does not add any real value to an enterprise.

Importance of the communication processes

Companies need to exercise accuracy in the internal communication processes that needs to convey the way Six Sigma projects are progressing along with the crucial results and lessons derived. Here you ought to address or consider a set of questions such as:

  • How frequently do various parts of your company communicate with one another?

  • Is your company communicating well with regards to other business practices?

  • Does your every vertical in your company function in a separate silo

  • Does your company have an effective medium to broadcast your project success?

When your company maintains an efficient internal communication process it will promote Six Sigma and will also speed up enhancements through benchmarking and sharing of best practices.

Companies must realize that deploying Six Sigma in an ambitious spree will not offer much result. To ensure success it is essential to focus into above mentioned factors to assess whether a company is all set to integrate Six Sigma and transform operations.

Author : Shweita Dey

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Shweita Dey