MacSigma - McDonald?s To Adopt Six Sigma - Do you want fries with that?


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Marc said:
I would like to see some good six sigma discussions here. I'd like to see what believers have to say. But I fear this forum is an enclave of pragmatists who see six sigma as more hype than substance (myself included) and we chase believers away. I don't know if that's good or bad.

Yeah, I'd like to be able to see good discussions here about sick er, six sigma myself, but after seeing where our management went with the program they just had to have (kind of like your "We're gonna do six sig-mah! We're gonna do six sig-mah!" statement...) it makes it really hard for me to get excited about it. Send a person to be a black belt, send a bunch of people to be green belts, then ridicule every effort they make to improve our processes until they either stop trying, or grab the first transfer out they can find even if it is not a "six sigma" job. and they wonder why I don't want to be the chief cook and bottle washer in the analysis of data diner?


Fully vaccinated are you?
I typically call it 'Bad (vs. Good) Personality' management - Same thing though.

Bob Ablondi

Six Sigma can be applied to any measurables that can effect product quality and most important, a company's bottom line. Examples: jobs quoted vs lost; quotng errors; print errors; failure to follow procedures; Return on investment to name a few.
You need to use paredo, Who sez you need green and black belts? Small Ma and Pa companies who spent thousands because their customer has their belted personnel creating problems when they can,t find them. The small companies have closed their doors because they could not increase the :nopity: cost of doing business to off-set their ROI.
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Notice that McD Supplier won the NQA in '04

Thought you guys may want to bite on this. McD's pie and biscuit supplier, The Bama Companies is my former employer. They won the Malcolm Baldrige in 2004!

Consistently delicious!

Bama has been using Six Sigma with excellent results. They never looked at removing deodorant cubes that I can recall - but they looked extensively at hand sanitizing solutions. Sorry - cant go there - proprietary! ;)

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Mike F

Six Sigma Doesn't Suck, Folks

I will take the bait offered up by sulkinsf. First, the disclaimer - I work for The Bama Companies. We have been implementing Six Sigma since late 2000 because it was driven and personally supported by the CEO. I cannot imagine that it would have been successful without that level of support. Hard dollar project savings (the kind that a Financial Controller would sign off on) have amounted to over $18 million. Soft savings and capacity gains far exceed that amount. We followed the TQM line for many years, but without a major focus on improving customer satisfaction, product quality, efficiency and operating cost reduction we realized limited benefit. TQM was a great vehicle for emphasizing that everyone is responsible for quality and changing the culture of the organization. However, without the project focus that we now have with Six Sigma, TQM and its tools were relegated to the handful of quality practitioners - of which I was one. In the TQM days, I personally trained hundreds of people in the use of Deming's PDSA cycle and basic quality tools - with only limited application after the learners left the training sessions.

With Six Sigma, there is a completely different environment. We have 11 Black Belts, and upwards of 75 Green Belts (out of about 1000 employees). Needless to say, we constantly have many projects going - all of which are important enough to have resources dedicated to them. Potential projects are reviewed and must be championed by the owner of the resources. Progress towards completion is tracked for each project. In ISO 9000 language, we have a thoroughly deployed corrective AND preventive action process. What is comes down to is that we are getting better at many things much faster these days.

I will add that our implementation of Six Sigma is being constantly improved - in training methods, selection of training candidates, project selection and execution, coaching of less experience practitioners, progress tracking, communication, integration of Lean concepts.... Six Sigma is so important here that 2 of the top 5 measures in our Balanced Scorecard are directly linked to it. If you don't measure it, you can't possibly know how you are doing.

The bottom line is that Six Sigma works for us. It is not the hammer we apply to every situation - a lesson we have learned only through the experience of trying to make it useful for us.

I read with amused interest the preponderance of writers who relish the act of Six Sigma Bashing. Sure, Six Sigma has some squirrelly stuff with the 1.5 sigma shift. My response? Just quick debating it and talk in the language people understand - dollars, percents, failure rates and so on. Quit wringing your hands and bemoaning your lot in life and DO something that is intensely focused on fixing something that is broken - and that is also important to the business. If your current employer is the problem, change. If you are the problem, change. I am more interested in what I can do to make things better. If this forum is for the exchange of ideas that can help us make that happen, great. If not have a happy Dilbert-style life that is filled with little rays of bitter sunshine.

In my opinion, those who prefer to bash Six Sigma have either:
1) had an unpleasant experience with a Six Sigma implementation that has gone bad,
2) have not yet become proficient practioners of making things better faster through the wise application of the Six Sigma process and tools,
3) already work in an environment where MANY processes are being radically improved quickly and they do not need the structure that Six Sigma provides,
4) work in a frustrating environment that is common among us quality professionals - where it is a continuous battle to not only get other leaders to understand the exorbitant waste of time, money and customer goodwill associated with poorly designed and run processes, but to also make the "constancy of purpose" commitment to changing how to run the organization, or
5) find it easier to take potshots than to get off the pot and be the change agent you should be.

I am confident that I have ruffled group 5's feathers. You're welcome.


Craig H.


A few questions - and I really want to know because I don't have any experience with six sigma except for reading a few articles.

What, exactly, is in Bama's six sigma tool kit, in other words what do your BBs learn?

Is your training internal or external?

How many of your BBs and GBs are full time?

Was it initiated by the top manager/executive?

Are you one of the Black Belts?

How much resistance was there by process owners when someone tried to get them to accept a project?

Well, I said finally, but your answers may provoke more questions from me. Thanks!


Brought a tear to my eye

After reading the last few posts I had a look at the Bama web site.

I was impressed with the whole tone of the site.

My cynicism regarding six sigma is that many organisations embark on these sorts of programs without the right "culture".

If you have the right people leading then anythings possible.


Fully vaccinated are you?
sulkinsf said:
Thought you guys may want to bite on this. McD's pie and biscuit supplier, The Bama Companies is my former employer. They won the Malcolm Baldrige in 2004!

Consistently delicious!

Bama has been using Six Sigma with excellent results. They never looked at removing deodorant cubes that I can recall - but they looked extensively at hand sanitizing solutions. Sorry - cant go there - proprietary! ;)
Great to hear. Can you tell us a few measureables you used or other info on how six sigma is used in Bama?

Sounds to me like the 'Bama' company has a 'Good Personality" culture. That said, I'm not convinced Six Sigma is the reason Bama produces excellent products.

Lindsay R.

I would like to see what they pick for their six sigma projects, six sigma projects are to improve the company's bottom line AND benefit the customer.......this should be interesting. :confused:
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