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Let's fix Six Sigma!

T

Tom Slack

#1
The belted ones at Six Sigma consult in the area of data driven change. The data in this forum, however demonstrates that major changes are needed at Six Sigma.

WARNING !!! WARNING !!!! WARNING!!!

No one at Six Sigma has asked for our advice. In order for our recommendations to effective, we will probably want to use tactful language.

I have a few suggestions of my own, but I have to catch a plane. I will try post via Wi-Fi when available.

Best wishes,

Tom
 
#2
I've been in quality for a long time and I'm new to quality at the same time. You people know my story.

I entered quality when TQM was the big thing. I went through much TQM training and I had TOPS 8-D training with Ford Motor Company. I learned all about quality tools and then I learned more, as much as I could. Then I left quality for a while.

When I returned to quality I was desperate to learn what this new thing "Six Sigma" was all about. I mean, I knew in a statistical sense the significance of six sigma, but I did not know what "Six Sigma" meant. I did internet searches, I read trade journals, and I read about it in books. I still has not been proven to me that all of the old tools that have been around for decades have not been bundled together in a neat little package, tied up with a shiny new bow, and sold to a bunch of new managers as the answer to all of their problems.

In the end I quote: "That which has been, shall be. That which has been done, shall be done. And there is no new thing under the sun."

Someone, please prove to me otherwise.:2cents:
 
#3
I've been in quality for a long time and I'm new to quality at the same time. You people know my story.

I entered quality when TQM was the big thing. I went through much TQM training and I had TOPS 8-D training with Ford Motor Company. I learned all about quality tools and then I learned more, as much as I could. Then I left quality for a while.

When I returned to quality I was desperate to learn what this new thing "Six Sigma" was all about. I mean, I knew in a statistical sense the significance of six sigma, but I did not know what "Six Sigma" meant. I did internet searches, I read trade journals, and I read about it in books. I still has not been proven to me that all of the old tools that have been around for decades have not been bundled together in a neat little package, tied up with a shiny new bow, and sold to a bunch of new managers as the answer to all of their problems.

In the end I quote: "That which has been, shall be. That which has been done, shall be done. And there is no new thing under the sun."

Someone, please prove to me otherwise.:2cents:
Actually, the PRIMARY virtue of SS is precisely that it has spurred some managers to look at the Quality function of an organization in an economic light - as something that HELPS an organization versus creating a drag on profits.

In terms of the "tools of SS," I doubt there is any Quality professional worthy of the name who does not recognize the tools are really repackaged from previous generations, enhanced by the ease of computers to do the heavy lifting on the statistical calculations which were a real choke point back in Shewhart's days at Western Electric.
 
D

D.Scott

#5
When I returned to quality I was desperate to learn what this new thing "Six Sigma" was all about. I mean, I knew in a statistical sense the significance of six sigma, but I did not know what "Six Sigma" meant. I did internet searches, I read trade journals, and I read about it in books. I still has not been proven to me that all of the old tools that have been around for decades have not been bundled together in a neat little package, tied up with a shiny new bow, and sold to a bunch of new managers as the answer to all of their problems.
Adding to Wes' comments - I would agree there is no re-invention of the wheel. The same old tools are used in SS.

The wheel is still the same but how it is put on the car has changed. One of the beauties of SS is the discipline of a defined and planned project. It is one thing to have all the tools but another to know how and when to use them. SS is not so much about the tools as about what you do with them. The planning, coordination of team members, documentation and analysis of data and systematic drive to the next level of the project is, for me, the advantage of SS.

When I think of "fixing six sigma" I think not of the program itself but of the misuse of the program. I would venture to say, as with any discipline, Six Sigma has been beaten up so badly in some cases it wouldn't be recognizable.

As Wes pointed out management is spurred by the bottom line of economics however when SS is misused they see only the cost and a drag on their profits.

Yes, Six Sigma needs fixing. My observation is it isn't the system that is broken.

Dave
 

Jim Wynne

Super Moderator
#6
The belted ones at Six Sigma consult in the area of data driven change. The data in this forum, however demonstrates that major changes are needed at Six Sigma.

WARNING !!! WARNING !!!! WARNING!!!

No one at Six Sigma has asked for our advice. In order for our recommendations to effective, we will probably want to use tactful language.

I have a few suggestions of my own, but I have to catch a plane. I will try post via Wi-Fi when available.

Best wishes,

Tom
At this point SS is a runaway train. Given enough time, it'll run out of fuel and slow to a stop on its own, and its passengers will sheepishly disembark and go find another ill-fated mode of transportation.
 
J

John Nabors - 2009

#7
At this point SS is a runaway train. Given enough time, it'll run out of fuel and slow to a stop on its own, and its passengers will sheepishly disembark and go find another ill-fated mode of transportation.
At the current price of diesel it might be sooner than we think...
 
J

justncredible

#8
I do not think so, the tools are very well proven, and as a packadge they without doubt work. For some places that have problems SS will be awesome, some places that have had a decent QE for years will not see much of a gain.

I think like TQM, it is very good, I also think SS is the natural progression of quality. With that I think the next level will be even more intensive, includeing more expanded toolsets to tackle more devirse problems.

The detractors, and that 4% who will never support or be happy with changes.
 
B

Bob Bonville

#9
Having been around since "Zero Defects", actually even before that, I have seen all and used many of the concepts personally. Each tool has an application and each can and has been effective. I cannot argue with SS as a tool box of great concepts.

What I do have major heartburn with is when the company demands its use in every segment of the business regardless of the effectiveness of an operation, department or function which is exactly what Honeywell (errrr, I mean Allied Signal) did when they took Honeywell over.
 
#10
FWIW:
Many of the quality professionals who have a bad taste about SS are really fighting on TWO fronts:

  1. Mikel Harry, the fellow who first exploited SS for personal financial gain, reminds a lot of folks of the failed Presidential candidate who went around with charts, declaiming to all and sundry, "It's just this easy!" (The plain fact is most quality initiatives take a lot of focus and attention, SS or not, to be successful.)
  2. Johnny Come-Lately types who seize on some miniscule aspect of SS and, like a five-year-old with a hammer, they think everything looks like a nail. There are a lot of tools out there, but these JCLs never make the effort to learn how to use them, but nevertheless proclaim themselves SS experts.
 
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