Use Defined Criteria to Select Your Lean Six Sigma Projects

Posted by on May 19, 2019 in Customer Satisfaction, Lean Six Sigma, Project Selection Criteria | 0 comments

Organizations seem to struggle when it comes to identifying Lean Six Sigma or continuous improvement projects.  Sometimes they may be so overwhelmed with issues that it’s hard to know where to start.  When faced with this dilemma, the last thing you want to do is to select the project that is most obvious or let your Lean Six Sigma teams determine their own projects.  Instead, you want to bring discipline to the way you select projects.

Projects selection is the responsibility of top management and must be linked directly to the strategies, goals, and objectives of the organization.  Before starting a project a key question is “What key business objective will this project impact?”  The task of project selection should fall on your Deployment Champion working with the program steering committee and the leaders of the different functional areas.  At a minimum, the Deployment Champion should document the guidelines for project selection and obtain agreement within the organization.

Next, projects must be measurable.  Determine the current level of errors, defects and mistakes and state it in terms of defects per million opportunities (DPMO) or process sigma levels.

Your projects must contribute financially to the organization.  A rule of thumb for your Lean Six Sigma initiative is to be 2% of gross sales annually.  For the Lean Six Sigma initiative to be viable and sustainable it must be challenged and expected to produce results.

Try to step back and ask yourself what concerns or issues do customers have with the products or services you provide and what as a business will allow us to be more competitive and profitable. Think about the products or services you provide that are plagued with errors, defects, or mistakes.  Would your customer be happy that you chose to work on that product or service?  Would it make you more competitive or profitable? What about products or services where you struggle to make delivery?  Again, would the customer be happy that you’re working on that problem?  Or is there a product or service where you need to reduce cost? Is there some advantage to the business that can be gained?

When you decide on the product, service, or process you want to improve there are a few things to keep in mind.  The more broken a process is, the easier it is to improve.  So choosing projects that have poor performance and high impact to the organization is critical.

These criteria ensure that the Lean Six Sigma project addresses a strategic process that improves the company’s quality and profitability as well as the satisfaction of its customers.



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