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Basic Of Lean Six Sigma Training
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Six sigma has been a game changer for many organizations in the area of quality improvement and operational excellence. With its emphasis on linking improvements to the Voice of the Customer and the Voice of the Business in terms of bottom line improvements (reported savings running into millions of dollars) six sigma has managed to hold the unswerving attention of the leadership teams. Six sigma has undergone significant changes from the time it was first introduced to the world by Motorola.
It comes as a surprise to many six sigma practitioners that the initial version of Six Sigma process improvement DMAIC framework did not have the Define phase.
The evolution of six sigma into Lean Six Sigma and beyond has been triggered by several factors. Insufficient amount of data for effective data analysis, is one of the factors wherein even with sophisticated software applications at enterprise level it’s not uncommon to find that the applications do not capture data for all variables required for effective data analysis. The systems have been designed to facilitate the workflow and not from the viewpoint of the problem solver. This constrains the problem solver in their ability to objectively understand the sources of variation.
Another factor that has triggered the evolution of six sigma to Lean Six Sigma is that the quality of data collected and effort required in collecting the data of sufficient sample size within a short time frame. Many projects get delayed inordinately at the Measure phase in their effort to obtain data points of sufficient sample size. It is not uncommon to face resistance from project teams to collect data if not readily available. Given the fast pace of the industry, by the time the data is analyzed, the underlying variables have changed and the problem solver ends up viewing the past.
Lean Six Sigma provided a framework for initiating process improvement even in the presence of all the constraints. Lean Six Sigma also provided a language that was easy to communicate and intuitive for managers to relate to. It is not a common practice in lean six sigma programs to evaluate how close the process has reached to the desired end state as articulated at the beginning of the project. The disadvantage is that many times improvements may actually take the process away from the desired end state. One of the limitations of conventional Lean Six Sigma programs is that they do not cover explicitly tools that can help problem solvers generate strong solutions.
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