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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Someone didn’t quite do a job well, why do Six Sigma?

An executive once said,

“Someone down in the line didn’t do his/her job well and we just need to coach this person.  Why do we still need to do Six Sigma?”

Know why?  What is the value of doing Six Sigma in this situation?

Please come back and see the answers in the next update.

Thanks!

FREE Open-Source Six Sigma For Certification Books!

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LASSIB or Lean and Six Sigma International Board which is based in India is sharing their open source Six Sigma training materials.  You will be able to download it conveniently from here soon!

Please note that their training materials are under Creative Commons license.  Meaning, nobody is allowed to make profit from it and no changes is allowed in the material, thus, “share-alike”.

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After you read through and practice what you learn by completing a project, you can pursue certification with them at a certain affordable fee.  In case you need assistance please do send an inquiry email to us.

LASSIB is only one of the global certifying body based in India which we are recommending.  We also have the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) and the Six Sigma Council which are both based in U.S.A.

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Is Lean Six Sigma different from Six Sigma itself?

“Is Lean Six Sigma different from Six Sigma itself?”

There is some confusion in the minds of the many whenever they hear Lean Six Sigma after they have just finished taking up Six Sigma in their recent training.

Know more about its similarities and differences in the next update.

Please come back soon!  Thanks

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Can we send candidates to the Six Sigma training without a project?

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“Can we send candidates to the Six Sigma Green Belt training without assigned projects OR do we assign projects first before sending the candidates to the training?”  

I was once asked by a friend working in a company who is about to roll out their own Six Sigma program starting first with the first batch of Green Belt Training.

My recommendation was:  Assign first a viable project to a candidate before sending him/her to the Six Sigma training.

CONS: Project planning will have to be done with top executives which could take time before deciding what project to assign to the Green Belt Candidate.

Workaround is to ensure there is a pool of planned projects at the start of every year from which projects can be chosen and assigned to the Belt Candidate.

PRO:  First, the candidates go to the training with something to work on after every lecture.  It is likely that they will apply what they learned on the assigned projects they bring in to the training class.

Without an assigned project to work on during the Six Sigma trainings, usually ends in a scenario where the candidate completes the training and passes the exam with all knowledge based on theoretical understanding of the lessons.  Secondly, it becomes likely that the Belt candidate will forget everything without actual application thus defeating the purpose of sending him/her to the training.

So, if you’re company is currently planning to send candidates to the Six Sigma training it is recommended that a carefully selected Six Sigma project be assigned first before they attend the sessions.

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37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 7: Mass Customization

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Innovation Tip of the Day: Mass Customization

this idea suggests enabling your product to serve more types of customer needs with the cost-efficient level of customization. This may lead to product extensions or small tweaks. This can be achieved by setting a core product component from which modular tweaks can be added or applied.

But do consider the operational demands it will cause. Is your company capable of delivering or producing the tweaks for the customers? What if these customizations became to voluminous and became too confusing or counter-productive for your production operations? This is when there has to be that conscious effort on designing your product carefully and having the right components ready when certain “modular” customizations have to be made for the customers.

37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 5: Go Green

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This idea suggests that we can also design our products and services to go green.  That means to use more earthly-friendly or natural ingredients to be able to lessen  non-recyclable waste or by-product.  This attracts customers who are environmental conscious and would like to avail of the services that leaves non-recyclable wastes or carbon footprints.  Example of this is Facebook and Google who have claimed that they use energy-efficient computers to continuously serve the general public.

 This also attracts customers with sensitive needs and prefer to use products with natural ingredients.

This is same with the case of Body Shop who advocates and sells earth-friendly body care products.  Many customers buy from them because they believe that it uses natural ingredients and does not leave harmful environmental waste.

Cost-wise it may be pricier to produce in some cases but because of the Go Green advocacy certainly many customers will still buy your product and avail of your service even at a certain premium.

37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 4: Low Cost

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This idea suggests making the service or product more affordable than the competitors by lowering the cost to produce the said product. It also suggests introducing new budget offers that can WOW or delight the customers.
But to make this really happen, marketing should work work closely with operations and logistics to come up with cost-effective production costs.

Operations should apply process improvement techniques such as Six Sigma for quality and innovation. Operations can also apply Value engineering (similar to service cost analysis) to come up with cost-efficient materials to create or deliver the product.

Logistics should aim for Just-in-time (JIT) service level to production operations by looking at how to make the supply chain more streamlined and low cost in order to deliver the needed materials with the right quantity, right quality at the right time.

37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 3: Co-Branding

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37 Ways to Innovate - Idea 3: Co-Branding

This idea is about enriching your customer’s experience by tying it up with a product or service extension that comes from another business line or brand. This sort of completes the ‘experience’ when they are using or enjoying your product or service. A popular example is what we see in the fastfood chains where they offer budget meals that comes along with affordably priced softdrinks or juice drinks from a partnering brand. The “co-branding” that happens by combining the fastfood meal together with the drink from another brand completes the customers’ dining experience.

Co-branding works better if you complement your core product with the strength of the core product from another brand. So instead of the customers buying separately from your store and from the other brand’s store, we make it more convenient for the customers to just buy or avail the product in one place. Then both your business and your partnering product supplier also benefits from these extra sales coming from the co-branding.

37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 1

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One of the ways to innovate our systems, processes, products or services is to make it simpler for our customers’ use. What do they basically require? What are the basics that would delight them?
Tear down the complexities, hoola-baloohs and non-value adds.
Make it a streamlined simple clean and exciting experience for them to use or experience doing business with us or in using our products.

*echoed from the article of Marc Heleven (www.7ideas.net)

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