This is from the
Newsletter Dec 2000-Jan 2001
There have been several companies try and
fail to get a Six
Sigma program off the ground. There are several key points
to get a Six
Sigma program up and running.
1. EVERYONE MUST BE
COMMITTED TO IT
From the CEO, President, or just head
honcho, down to the least paid person in the company. If one
person isn't committed, IT WILL FAIL or at least take 10 years
to get going. Motorola had this problem in the beginning.
First off, the Semiconductor Product
Group informed me they didn't have a need for Six Sigma their
products were good enough. So I told my boss, who told his
boss, who called Bill Smith and the next thing I knew they
were onboard. Now of course they preach it.
Right after that there was a
reorganization of the quality and purchasing departments in
the Communication Sector. My boss, I got a new boss, this guy
wanted to implement the Taguchi's System. So him and I crossed
swords right away. I was trying to implement what corporate
wanted and he was trying to convince them he was right. So he
transferred me out of where I was, which was helping the suppliers
get onboard with six sigma. Well, needless to say, he doesn't
work there anymore.
Reasons like these are why Motorola
had a hard time defining Six Sigma, but as they worked through
it, it came together. Sometimes there are no choices. If the
people will not accept it, then you have to get rid of them.
2. YOU MUST BRING YOUR
SUPPLIERS ONBOARD AS WELL.
Do not forget them. You must be
partners with them to make it work. This may mean helping them
improve their processes or other issues. Remember they may not
have the resources of a bigger company. Share your resources
with them. But do not tell them how to build their products.
They are the experts in their processes. However, if they are
not a good partner, or cannot produce Six Sigma quality, then
find one that can. This is also related to one above. This is
why Motorola had me create the software they sent to their
suppliers. So everyone was playing with the same tool and it
didn't cost the suppliers an arm and a leg to get started.
3. BOTTOM UP AND TOP
This is the concept that everyone is
a customer and you need to meet that customer's
requirements. Sometimes one plays a dual role. For
example, Motorola was a customer to their suppliers, but when
I helped the suppliers start Six Sigma, they became the
customer. My boss was a customer, he would request things
done, and go figure, I would do them. But sometimes, I would
need him to do things for me. Then the role switched and I
became the customer. This back and forth must go on from the
highest point in the organization to the lowest. This is why
number one above must work first and foremost. Otherwise you
start working against each other.
4. TEAMS MUST HAVE
The teams must have enough power to
make it work. The workplace becomes a little more democratic.
Because of this, you need to make sure that the direct manages
of the team members are not on the team. Sometimes it is the
managers that are actually causing the problems. There needs
to be a mechanism in place so that this doesn't happen or can
be identified and fixed. The more political you company is,
the less likely Six Sigma will work.
5. MAKE SURE COMMON
SENSE IS APPLIED
It is important to find people with
common sense and get them on the teams. Finding out who in
your company has common sense is another issue. But make sure
to identify these people and get them on the teams. If you
cannot identify them, then bring in a contractor. You may want
to bring in a contractor anyway. Sometimes it takes an outside
party to see the obvious. This was the point of the last
couple of articles on Six Sigma. Common Sense!