In the 1980s, Motorola made waves in the business world with the development of its process improvement strategy Six Sigma. Today, Lean Six Sigma is a widely-upheld methodology and tool used to reduce variation in a business process by using a statistical process control to measure variance and standard deviation.
More and more organizations are adopting Lean Six Sigma methodologies to help cut costs and improve services. Every company might take a slightly different approach, but some fundamentals are necessary for a process to gain momentum and Manoj Patel, Founder and CEO of Beyondlean, highlights his top ten tips to enable lean six sigma deployment.
1. KEEP THE CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION OPEN
• Talk and inform often
• Educate and empower, knowledge, skill, practice and competence, on-going mastery and teaching others
• Trust, honesty and information = transparency
• Give everyone a head start, a common language, goal and purpose and unleash the power of Lean Six Sigma on your organization.
2. GIVE OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYONE FOR INPUT AND FEEDBACK
• Get everyone engaged, excited and hands-on, involved and aboard with your Lean Six Sigma initiative and plans
• Introduce feedback and coaching, establishing communication channels where before there might have been none
3. CREATE AND CULTIVATE THE RIGHT WORKING CONTEXT AND ENVIRONMENT WHERE HONESTY IS ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY!
• Set communication and information sharing, learning and openness (transparency) as an organizational priority
• Less people will feel threatened and insecure about speaking up, hiding errors for fear of embarrassment or consequences (like being held accountable or losing their jobs or face in front of others)
• Treat each other with respect and share ideas, issues openly, always keeping in mind the overall benefit (or detriment) for all if closer attention are paid to certain issues or challenges at hand.
4. TAKE NOTICE, REWARD, ENCOURAGE AND CELEBRATE!
• Select examples of great achievements within Lean Six Sigma, samples, project studies, specifics, general, share and celebrate them all-round. Give credit and recognition to the team where it is due, even for accomplishments that made a great difference for the company, a specific area or problem that was solved. It is highly motivational and quite an incentive for many to keep trying and even do more!
5. Implement a system and metrics and monitor process BUT ALSO PROGRESS!!
• Formalized record and tracking is essential for these Lean Six Sigma processes and initiative to WORK and LAST! Ensure they are streamlines and purposeful, organized and regularly occur.
6. STICK TO THE BASICS and KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!
• It sounds easy enough, but believe me, we get sidetracked so easily in the intricacies of calculations, metrics and spreadsheets, that we often forget the pleasantries and clarity that simplicity brings.
• Making things easy to follow and stick to, will help that they do exactly that!
7. STAY POSITIVE AND KEEP AT IT!
8. ACHIEVE and TAP INTO YOUR RESOURCES
• Be always focusing on needs, wants, desires and motivations, to mobilize and sustain momentum and change.
• Make the stake and reward personal for participating and applying the principles of Lean Six Sigma.
• Make it the way that you do business – WITHOUT COMPROMISE!
• Set the bar and standards high, keeping on reaching higher.
9. DISCIPLINED PRACTICE
• Consistent, persistent, determined, dedicated to make things work better and last! Low cost, no waste, effective and efficient!
10. A CONTINUING JOURNEY (not only a destination)
• Ongoing Learning is essential and learning from our mistakes, oversights, challenges and achievements are important.
• Always ask what we learned, what went well, what did not work and how can we make it all better next time round, should be part of normal conversation and routine.
You will discover more secrets and revelations, unearth more truths about Lean Six Sigma as you go along. Be sure to pass on the wisdom to others. Always remember, despite what you read or hear from consultants, there is NO ONE-SIZE FITS ALL Lean Six Sigma deployment that works and fits for everyone. It depends on the organization, leadership, process etc.