Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Evolution of Six Sigma

In the beginning, there were no colored belts and we focused only on the end customer, reducing warranty costs and getting it right the first time. It was named six sigma and it was good.

Over time, we added black belts and increased the use of advanced statistical tools. This called the six sigma way and it was better.

Soon we saw the need for more definition and including others to help the black belts in their quality quest so we added green belts. This made the black belts happy.

Eventually, the black belts grew numerous by order of the King. These black belts expanded their search for variation reduction to all corners of the kingdom including even processes in the Human Resources Department but still lacked direction. So we added Master Black Belts to lead them.

As we look across the kingdom today, we can now see yellow belts, gold belts, white belts, master black belts and even Grand Master Black Belts added to the royal order of belts. Everyone must have a colored belt to save the kingdom money regardless if it actually helps the end customer. And the only way to fix a problem is through a black belt project, green belt project or even a lime green project (in between a green belt level project and a yellow belt level project). I guess calling it a lime green project is better then calling it a pea green project.

But is this good? Maybe we should go back to the basics and focus on the customer, reduce warranty cost and getting it right the first time.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, the belts thing is ridiculous. Muda.

Anonymous said...

So well put!

I think more people go through the training just to get the Green or Black Belt on their resume's than to actually apply and use what they have learned. Knowledge is truly power if you first choose to use it then focus and harness that power in the right place at the right time with the right intention.

Robert Yokl
Vice President

Anonymous said...

So true. Right now, I'm certifying Green Belts because it's a corporate edict. It doesn't matter if the project is valid and helps anything anywhere in any process. Just as long as the Green Belts are certified prior X date.

It's Green Belt for the sake of Green Belt instead of being for the sake of the customers.

Anonymous said...

This is a perfect example of the people who need the re-assurance of hierarchy, but as you read in the Porsche case study, its all about breaking down those barriers and opening the organisation up, some of your smartest thinkers are in the most manual and menial jobs, this is a lesson we must learn before eliminating the MUDA !! Ray, Scotland