Monday, January 14, 2013

One Size Fits All

Recently I've been asked to teach some Six Sigma classes. I was asked if Six Sigma could be used for: logistics, transportation planning, airlines, oil/gas drilling and marketing.

Six Sigma is a disciplined methodology for anyone who wants to get away from trial-and-error problem-solving. It can work in any industry or business process that has inputs and outputs. Any organization will benefit from the use of Six Sigma tools if there isn't in making tomorrow better than today or yesterday.

Sound like your company?

Some people also ask if Six Sigma education is tailored to their industry. Some instructors probably do that, but most will have examples from a variety of industries.

Just don't apply Six Sigma where it shouldn't be used: making processes more Lean; on problems where you already know the solution (how to fix a flat tire, e.g.), or problems that aren't going to increase profits if solved (streamlining the vacation request process, e.g.). Six Sigma will not cure all of the issues that ail your organization. It won't solve communication issues or trust problems. It won't cut down on ambiguity of mission or vision or standards of excellence. It won't necessarily cut down on bureaucracy or problems caused by people who think their job goal is to get promoted. It won't diminish management's desire to control and micro-manage. If your group suffers from these dysfunctions, Six Sigma or any continuous improvement effort may fail.

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