Organizations benefit when they execute an effectively lean six sigma implementation and organizational culture that is long-lasting. However, traditional deployments of lean Six Sigma often receive an early termination for various reason where these lean Six Sigma process improvement efforts never become a part of an organization’s DNA.
What often occurs in these lean Six Sigma deployments is that organizations report benefits from their efforts to improve processes; however, often leadership is not appreciative of these enhancement efforts. Executives might ask the question: where is the 100 million dollars that the Lean Six Sigma function reportedly saved? Because of this lack of leadership-perceived benefit, organizational improvement functions are often, in time, either downsized or eliminated.
The published article (PDF below) “Creating a Long-lasting Lean Six Sigma Deployment: Give Focus to Improving Key Performance Indicators and to Graphically Describing Achieved”, written by Forrest Breyfogle, addresses this lean six sigma implementation and organizational culture issue.
For long-lasting success, Lean Six Sigma organizations need to do more than just state monetary savings. These functions need to also (through a time-series 30,000-foot-level statistical chart) show graphically how key performance metrics were improved through process-enhancement efforts and how these improvements positively impacted the business as a whole. NOTE: Red-yellow-green scorecards don’t provide this valuable information.
Lean six sigma implementation and organizational culture: Selection of Improvement Projects that are aligned to Business Performance Metrics
An earlier Wikipedia definition for Operational Excellence (OE) was: “Operational Excellence is an element of organizational leadership and organizational intelligence that focuses on meeting customer expectation, all while stressing the application of a variety of principles, systems, and tools toward the sustainable improvement of key performance metrics.”
The last eight words of this Wikipedia’s definition for Operational Excellence (OE) are important: “tools toward the sustainable improvement of key performance metrics.” Organizations benefit when they have a Lean six sigma implementation and organizational culture system that addresses these final words from this OE definition.
For this to occur, both operational excellence and Lean Six Sigma organizations/practitioners need to give focus first to determining what key performance metrics are to be improved and then to showing statistically, in a graphical time-series format, how the metric was enhanced through their efforts.
Tracking Key Performance Metrics from a Process Point of View
From Wikipedia’s definition of operational excellence, organizational focus on improving business processes needs to target the demonstration of improvements to key performance metrics. However, this is difficult, if not impossible, to describe accurately using traditional key performance metric reporting. Traditional scorecards do not provide a scorecard statement from a process-output-response point of view.
Examples of non-process output report formats are:
- Red-yellow-green scorecard reporting, where a red-colored metric indicates that action should be taken, since a performance-metric goal is not being met.
- Table of numbers that leads to confusion and/or interpretation inconsistencies.
- Stacked bar charts; e.g., comparing monthly measurements.
- Excel sheet that shows “the numbers” that have a first-of-the-year initiation.
- A time-series chart that does not provide actionable/non-actionable insight.
Variability occurs in processes. However, traditional forms of reporting do not include this important process-variation aspect relative to the assessment of how a process-output is performing relative to organizational/customer needs.
An Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) 30,000-foot-level report-out is a one-page pictorial process-out description that overcomes traditional-scorecard issues. With automatic updating, this form of reporting can also provide transparency so that there will be no temptation ″to adjust the numbers to make them look more favorable″ for monthly or quarterly executive performance reports.
An IEE 30,000-foot-level view provides a:
- Baseline that assesses process stability, which can be created so that there is consistency with the frequency of current key performance metric report-outs.
- Consistent, easy-to-understand process capability statement, even when no specification exists.
- Process report-out methodology so there is consistency and transparency in measurement reporting for both attribute and continuous response data that uses the same terminology.
- Mechanism for determining how long a process has been stable; e.g., three days, three months, or three years.
- Futuristic process output performance expectations, when appropriate, in words that everyone can easily understand.
- Prediction statement of what can be expected from the process unless something occurred differently in the process either through degradation or enhancements.
- Potential metric improvement opportunity that pulls for usage of the most beneficial Lean or Six Sigma improvement tools so that a measurement performance is enhanced.
- Control report-out to maintain improvement gains, which can automatically be updated and reported if desired.
- Demonstrating, in both visual and analytical terms, that a process was improved through an improvement effort (e.g., Lean or Six Sigma) with the quantification of performance benefits in terms that everyone understands.
- Process Improvement focus at the organizational 30,000-foot-level.
Evaluating and Improving a Key Performance Indicator from a Process Point of View
Consider that an organization created the enterprise improvement plan (EIP) plan shown in the following figure.
With an EIP visual representation, one can readily see how process enhancement efforts are aligned to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) improvement needs, where there is an owner of this metric’s performance and the business as a whole can benefit from the effort to improve processes.
When a strategic metric is not performing as well as desired, this IEE 30,000-foot-level report-out can create a “pull” for process-enhancement efforts. The owner of a strategic metric that is to be improved should have a sense of urgency for timely completion of an improvement to the process when he/she, for example, will need to provide an executive update on a regular basis (e.g., monthly) of the metric’s improvement status.
Lean Six Sigma Implementation and Organizational Culture: Webinar and Training
Access to an ASQ recorded webinar that “walks through” the below article is available at Lean Six Sigma Implementation and Organizational Culture Webinar
Interested in how-to training on the concepts? If so check out Lean Six Sigma 2.0 Master Black Belt training in Toronto and Austin, Texas. This “life changing event” offering is much MORE than traditional MBB training. For content and testimonials (no need to have previous LSS certification) see lean Six Sigma 2.0 Master Black Belt training (no need for lean Six Sigma certification to attend workshop.
Lean Six Sigma Implementation and Organizational Culture: Article
For more information on creating an effective lean six sigma implementation and organizational culture, download the ASQ Quality Progress August 2017 article titled ″Creating a Long-lasting Lean Six Sigma Deployment: Give Focus to Improving Key Performance Indicators and to Graphically Describing Achieved″. This article was written by Forrest Breyfogle.
Contact Us to set up a time to discuss with Forrest Breyfogle how your organization might gain much from an Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) Business Process Management System and its methodology for creating a Lean Six Sigma Implementation and Organizational Culture.