Thoughts on Deploying Lean Six Sigma

Posted by on May 27, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There are basically four phases to the deployment of Six Sigma.  They are:  Launching the Initiative, Managing the Effort, Sustaining Momentum and Growing, and finally making it The Way We Work.  In this posting, I will discuss Launching the Initiative and will discuss the other phases in subsequent postings. 

Launching the Initiative

When launching Lean Six Sigma, it is imperative that the company leadership be fully committed, because it is leadership that makes the process work.  Without top management commitment, employees will think Lean Six Sigma is just another program.  Lean Six Sigma is a business strategy that must be managed to be successful.  It is the process of management involvement, project selection, and project reviews that make it a success.  Lean Six Sigma is not a silver bullet that’s going to cure all the organization’s problems. 

There must be a clear vision of where you want the company to be in say four to five years.  How many Black Belts and Master Black Belts will be required to support the operations?  How should Lean and Six Sigma be linked so that you maximize the potential from each discipline?  My experience is that there be at least one MBB, and one or two BB’s in each facility or functional area.   Lean and Six Sigma tools and techniques should be used by these individuals to improve processes and eliminate waste.

There must be clear direction.  Middle management is the toughest to get on board and usually is the most resistant to change.  Lean and Six Sigma are both about change.  Change in processes, how work is done, how projects are selected, conducted, analyzed, and documented.

In order to provide the vision and direction, I propose a Lean Six Sigma Council be formed by top management and the deployment champions of Lean and Six Sigma.  This council should meet quarterly to review the direction and strategies, project selection process, people selection, results, and general deployment. 

Like any other strategy, Lean Six Sigma goals and objectives need to be tracked, monitored, and communicated so that everyone understands what needs to be done and whether the objectives are being met.

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