How Six Sigma Training Can Benefit Employees

Increasing one’s knowledge after school is one of the disciplines that most employees try to cultivate to develop their skills and knowledge in general. In most cases, that proves the right thing to do, especially in the changing business and employment environment. Six Sigma training is one of the opportunities that employees can leverage on and here is how it can benefit their lives.

Adds to their credentials

Any employee with Six Sigma qualification proves as an invaluable resource to the company, which is why it is important for such employees to attach these qualifications with their other credentials. Such qualification can either be green or black belt level certification, and any of them can land you a job because most probably, employers will give such individuals priority in the recruitment process.

Protection from layoffs

As organizations move to restructure their operations to accommodate new changes in the environment they operate in, most probably, the solution will be to lay off some workers. That is an unpleasant experience for those who lose their jobs, and there is sometimes no guarantee of securing employment elsewhere. Six Sigma qualifications can help you retain your job during such times, which means that you are an asset that the company values.

Applicable in diverse environments

The fact that you can apply Six Sigma in new environments means that if a company closes down, you will still be marketable. As a result, you will be able to transfer the same knowledge in the new job through practical applications, which also strengthens your position in the next job you secure. Contact us for more information.

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City Official Encourages Small Businesses to Implement Lean Six Sigma Initiatives

Recently, the director of the Milwaukee Department of Administration called upon small businesses to implement Lean Six Sigma to achieve cost savings and increase efficiency.

Recently, the director of the Milwaukee Department of Administration called upon small businesses to implement Lean Six Sigma to achieve cost savings and increase efficiency. In an op-ed published by the BizTimes, director Sharon Robinson stated that the city, itself, is in the process of implementing Lean Six Sigma initiatives so that, like other companies, it can improve its value to its customers with fewer resources and less cost involved.

Robinson cited the Lean Six Sigma success of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. Headquartered in Milwaukee, the organization implemented Lean Six Sigma in its Meals on Wheels program’s acceptance practice, resulting in the elimination of 60 percent of the steps involved. The time savings that came because of the elimination of these steps is the equivalent of nine workweeks that can be focused on supporting the organization’s other programs, Robinson stated.

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin is the largest of more than 165 Goodwill organizations in the world. With 90 locations in 23 counties southeastern Wisconsin and metropolitan Chicago, the organization focuses on providing training for disadvantaged and disabled individuals, supporting those who are chronically unemployed or dislocated workers, services for senior citizens including Meals on Wheels, and more.

The city of Milwaukee has been working to protect the interests of small businesses, and ensuring that they receive the tools they need to grow is a priority of the mayor, according to Robinson. In addition to offering low-interest loans, workforce resources and other assistance, the city wants businesses to know about opportunities to help themselves through Lean Six Sigma training.

If you’re interested in how Lean Six Sigma training can help your business to thrive, contact us.

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Selecting Six Sigma Projects

Projects are the means by which Six Sigma converts knowledge into bottom-line results.

Sometimes just determining which projects to undertake isn’t enough.

Six Sigma is project-intensive. Large firms, such as General Electric, report completing as many as 7,000 Six Sigma projects in a single year. Even much smaller companies can complete several hundred projects per year. But this should come as no surprise, as projects are the means by which Six Sigma converts knowledge into bottom-line results.

However, not all Six Sigma projects produce bottom-line benefits; many produce only local improvements. In my June column I described how to use the theory of constraints (TOC) to decide where in the process to conduct Six Sigma projects. But we need to go even further. In addition to telling us where to conduct Six Sigma projects, knowing the process constraints also helps us determine what the focus of the project should be.

Six Sigma projects address three different areas of potential improvement: quality, cost and schedule. Critical characteristics in the product, process or service are identified using CTx notation: Critical-to-quality characteristics are designated CTQ; critical-to-cost, CTC; and critical-to-schedule, CTS. This classification scheme, combined with the TOC, can help focus Six Sigma projects by defining project deliverables in terms of their impact on one or more CTx characteristics.

Figure 1: A Simple Process with a Constraint

Consider the simple process in Figure 1. The process is producing a product for which there is a market demand of 20 units per week. However, the best this process can deliver is seven units per week because that’s the best step C can do.

Applying the TOC strategy described in another post, we know that Six Sigma projects that affect step C should be given priority, those affecting steps D and E second priority, and those affecting A and B third priority. This tells us where to focus our efforts. The CTx information can help us determine what to focus on.

Assume that you have three Six Sigma candidate projects all focusing on process step C, the constraint. The area addressed is correct, but which project should you pursue first? Assume that one project will improve quality, another cost, and another schedule. Does this new information help? Definitely! Table 1 shows how this information can be used.

Table 1: Throughput Priority of CTx Projects That Affect the Constraint

Projects in the same priority group are ranked according to their impact on throughput. The same thought process can be applied to process steps before and after the constraint. The results are shown in Table 2. (Note that Table 2 assumes that projects before the constraint don’t result in problems at the constraint.) Remember, impact should be measured in terms of throughput.

Knowing the project’s throughput priority will help you make better project selections among project candidates. Of course, the throughput priority is just one input into the project selection process; other factors–for example, integration with other projects, a regulatory requirement or a better payoff in the long-term–may lead to a different decision.

Table 2: Project Throughput Priority vs. Project Focus

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