How Consultants Help Companies with their Lean Six Sigma Roll out

This serves as an overview of what consulting and advisory services are being offered by consultant to the clients who have an identified need for process improvements using Lean Six Sigma methodology.

Description of Lean Six Sigma
Six Sigma is a process improvement project-based methodology that uses the widely known DMAIC project steps.  It focuses on identifying and solving the root causes that results to process performance variations/inconsistencies, complaints, errors or reworks.
“Lean” is a process improvement technique which originated from Toyota Production Systems which focuses on the speed and velocity of the process to make it capable of delivering the right number of throughput to the customers or meet the requirements earlier than the target deadline.
In most service industries, what delights the customers is usually getting what they need on or before the agreed turn around time.  Thus, the Six Sigma experts proposed combining the 2 techniques – Lean and Six Sigma.  Then, Lean Six Sigma came about.
In effect, using DMAIC steps a process improvement project manager identifies and solves the root causes of delays and the process constraints where the end result is generally a reduction in the processing or servicing turn around time.
To date, Lean Six Sigma has been widely applied for process intensive industries like banking, BPOs, customer service (end to end) and of course manufacturing.

Benefits from Lean Six Sigma Roll out
With the increase in process velocity and elimination of process constraints, many businesses have financially benefited but not limited in the following ways:
a.) Reduced overtime
b.) Increase in throughput or manpower productivity
c.) Less scrap, returns or customer complaints
d.) Right sizing of manpower
e.) Increase in Customer satisfaction or Customer retention

High Level Roll Out Plan
Depending on the timeframe of the client company, maximum benefit comes from a full blown enterprise-wide implementation but it takes 5 to 10 years.  But if the client company wants to see results fast, a pilot program approach can also be implemented to focus on specific areas or special processes which are deemed critical to the company’s business performance.
A typical roll-out master plan conforms to some sort of organizational change management framework and is adjustable according to the timelines and budget.  The master plan usually contains the following major efforts.
a.) Awareness campaign through enterprise-wide training for appreciating what Lean Six Sigma is and what it can do
b.) Training for the executives who will steer and direct the projects to the right direction
c.) Training, project coaching and belt certification for the employees who will do hands-on work in driving process improvement efforts
d.) Rewards and recognition system setup
e.) Project benefits valuation and reporting system setup
f.) Program for communicating the program successes

Usually Offered Services by a Consultant
Training – consultant provides training White Belt (8 hours), Green Belt (80 hours), Black Belt (100 hours)
Consulting or Project Coaching – Email, Web conference or On site
Program Management Advisory – consultant serves as the expert program manager functioning in the capacity of the high profile Master Black Belt

Business Innovation framework and Lean Six Sigma
“Where will Lean Six Sigma fit in to my company’s business innovation program?”. That is the usual question asked by a business leader who drives the business innovation and transformation.
This is where the “Innovation Funnelling” technique comes into place.  Innovation funnelling is a way of channelling the business innovation opportunities into each unique basket or pool of projects where each basket has been categorized as fit for specific implementation methodologies.  Innovation funnelling is usually done either by a Master Black Belt or the head of the business innovation program.
One company may have several baskets like Kaizen quickwins basket, Six Sigma project basket, business process reengineering basket, and IT project basket.  Each basket may be segregated according to the complexity of the change involved.

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