An Organizational Roadmap For Lean Six Sigma Deployment

Posted by on Jul 6, 2019 in Lean Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma Deployment | 0 comments

Just as project teams use DMAIC as their improvement roadmap, organizations must use a roadmap to build the essential foundation that will support and sustain their Lean Six Sigma deployment.  A simple five step roadmap was developed by Pande, Neuman and Cavanagh and discussed in their book The Six Sigma Way, How GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies are Honing Their Performance, McGraw-Hill, 2000.  These five steps they say are the “core competencies” for a successful 21st century organization and include:

  1. Identify core processes and key customers.
  2. Define customer requirements.
  3. Measure current performance.
  4. Prioritize, analyze, and implement improvements.
  5. Expand and integrate the Six Sigma system.

Just as everyone begins a journey by identifying alternate routes, an organization should not start down the path to Lean Six Sigma without laying out the roadmap they want to follow. And as everyone is aware, there are multiple roadmaps that will get you to the same destination. Advantages of using this roadmap are the following:

  • A better understanding of the business as an interconnected system of processes and customers.
  • Better decision making and utilization of resources to get the greatest benefit out of your Lean Six Sigma effort.
  • Faster improvement times due to better upfront data and project selection.
  • More accurate validation of Lean Six Sigma gains.
  • A stronger infrastructure to support change and sustain results.

Roadmap Objectives and Deliverables

The objective of step 1, “identify core processes and key customers” is to create a “big-picture” understanding of the most critical cross-functional activities and how they interface with external customers.  The deliverable of this step is an inventory of the value-added activities in your organization.  In developing this inventory, you should ask the following three questions:

  1. What are the organization’s core or value-adding processes?
  2. What are the products and services we provide to our customers?
  3. How do these processes “flow” across the organization?

The objective of step 2, “define customer requirements” is to establish standards for performance based on customer input.  Soliciting and obtaining customer input is an on-going activity, but we need this information to constantly access and evaluate our process effectiveness and capability.  The deliverable of this step is a clear description of the factors that drive customer satisfaction for each process output.

The objective of step 3 is to understand how well the organization is delivering on those requirements and how well you’ll be able to do so in the future.  Many organizations start by creating a measurement infrastructure to establish a system for measuring key outputs and service features.  These measures help set priorities and focus resources.  The deliverables for this step are baseline measures that quantify process performance, capability measures that assess the ability fo the process to deliver on requirements and measurement systems for on-going measurements against customer-focused performance standards.

In step 4, “prioritize, analyze, and implement improvements,” we identify high potential improvement opportunities and develop process-oriented solutions supported by factual analysis.  The deliverables include:

  • Potential Lean Six Sigma projects assessed on their impact and feasibility.
  • Process improvements and solutions targeted to specific root causes.
  • New and redesigned processes created to meet new demands or achieve increases in speed, accuracy, and cost.

The objective of step 5 is to initiate ongoing business practices that drive improved performance.  It is the step where the organization works hard to achieve it’s vision of a Lean Six Sigma organization.  Deliverables for this step are the following:

  • Implement process controls and measures to monitor and sustain performance.
  • Process ownership and management with cross-functional oversight of support processes.
  • Response plans with mechanisms to act based on key information.
  • Lean Six Sigma culture that has the organization positioned for continuous renewal.

As Pande, Neuman and Cavanagh say in their book, “real Lean Six Sigma performance doesn’t happen by going through a wave of improvement projects.  It can only be achieved through a long-term commitment to the core themes and methods of Lean Six Sigma.”

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