Author: Craig Calvin
Six Sigma brings operational improvement to organizations where it is implemented. However, once the project is completed, it is necessary to sustain the advancements by continually monitoring and undertaking improvement initiatives. This helps companies to stay competitive as they fine tune their processes in these tough business times. Even though appropriate steps are taken, expected results are not always achieved in terms of employee morale and customer satisfaction. This brings to light that certain issues need to be addressed in order for success to be maintained.
The support structure for Six Sigma deployment has to be extremely strong. It is necessary to study the difference in the current state of the business, and the desired state. This helps in understanding the processes that need to be changed, as well as those that need to be improved. If the Black Belts are good but the Champion is not, then the program may fail. A consultant may be of great help in such situations, as they have knowledge of similar situations faced during other project executions. A common problem of change initiatives is that improvement steps are undertaken with an aim to complete them within a particular timeframe. The fact is that the activities that need to be completed carefully and correctly may be missed. This creates an illusion of a speedy job, but without achieving the desired results. Chart a plan, sticking to it and building up momentum over time will help ensure that growth is even.
If the Six Sigma process is to be successful in a real sense, the goal should be to achieve an objective which is shared by all team members. Change doesn't happen overnight, and a team must be able to communicate well in order to get the support of all involved. As well, if the old procedures and controls which restricted progress in the former system aren't eliminated, then the new techniques and tools will prove to be ineffective. These are issues which need to be addressed in the beginning of the project. By doing this, morale will be boosted and momentum will be achieved to help overcome hurdles in the path of success.
Successful management of large projects should allow for their division into smaller projects. This will allow team members to achieve short term goals, thus boosting their morale and confidence. Higher morale will lead to a greater chance for success and profits. Any initiative must be required to produce some measurable economic benefit, and care must be taken to assure that all processes are correlated to ultimate bottom line success.
Having lots of managers is not the answer to minimizing risk and bringing about changes in a more efficient fashion. In order to bring change about successfully, each project needs leaders who have the ability to transform cultures, as well as stimulate breakthroughs. These issues have to be understood and addressed carefully by top management, so that the expected results of change deployment are achieved to the benefit of the organization.
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