This lean Six Sigma introduction will provide history of this project based process improvement methodology. In addition, issues that lean Six Sigma has encountered will be presented, along with a next generation opportunity for improving the methodology so that these shortcomings are overcome.
Some of the deployments of lean Six Sigma have led to reported saving in many organizations. However, Lean Six Sigma has had issues with both its training and deployment.
The following Lean Six Sigma Introduction and more will discuss, in addition to the benefits and problems of Lean Six Sigma training, a methodology that enhances the taught techniques and better integrates application of the methodology with the true needs of the business; i.e., an approach that goes beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard.
Lean Six Sigma Introduction and its Training for Process Improvement Model
Lean Six Sigma training for process improvement had its origins with Motorola in the 1980’s. At this point in time, Six Sigma focus was given to practitioners applying statistical tools to make process improvement that reduced variability and improved the quality of products. A Six Sigma process was said to have 3.4 parts per million defect rate.
Jack Welch, as CEO of GE in the mid 1990’s, implemented a deployment structure for process improvement through Six Sigma. This deployment became very popular and was emulated in other companies.
The GE Six Sigma model as a major component to introduced:
- Improvement projects were to be undertaken that had benefits to the organization, where benefits from the efforts were typically reported in cost savings. With a Six Sigma deployment, the monetary and other results of all projects were to be reported to executive management and others.
- The Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC) was the high level roadmap used in Six Sigma for process improvement project execution.
- An infrastructure for organizational deployment of Six Sigma was created that was to have both executive buy-in and participation.
- Executives typically received one-day’s training in the Six Sigma methodology. One executive typically sponsored the Six Sigma deployment.
- Champions in a Six Sigma deployment were executives that were to monitor process improvement projects in their area of the business. Six Sigma project champions typically received three day of training and were to receive regular project report-outs, to which they were to respond giving inputs and encouraging project completion. Champions were to be an integral part of the project selection and completion projects, where the primary focus was given to how much money was saved through their projects.
- Practitioners were trained in the DMAIC Six Sigma process improvement model and tool execution for project completion and were referred to as ″belts″, which was modeled after the Marshall Arts.
- A Yellow Belt is a process improvement team member that typically receives three days of tools training.
- A Six Sigma Green Belt is one who is able to facilitate an improvement project in his area of the business and received two weeks of training over two months. After completing the training and execution of the tools, the practitioner would be certified as a Green Belt. Six Sigma process improvement efforts were to be a part-time task for Green Belts.
- A Six Sigma Black Belt is a process improvement practitioner who has received four weeks of training over four months. Completion of a real project and understanding of the tools were the requirements to become a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. Six Sigma Black Belts were to be dedicated resources that facilitated process improvement projects in all areas of the business. One did not have to become a Green Belt before becoming a Black Belt.
- A Six Sigma Master Black was to have all the Black Belt training and more. For certification, this practitioner might need to oversee the execution of five improvement projects and demonstrate usage of all Six Sigma tools and more. Master Black Belts should be able to coach Black Belts and Green Belts in the execution of improvement projects.
The alignment of Black Belts in a Six Sigma deployment infrastructure is exemplified in the following figure:
Lean Six Sigma Introduction: Lean Methodologies for Process Improvement Model
Lean reduces waste in an organization. When one considers that waste is being generated anywhere work is accomplished, one would desire to create a vehicle by means of which organizations can identify and reduce the waste. The goal is total elimination of waste through the process of defining waste, identifying its source, planning for its elimination, and establishing permanent control to prevent reoccurrence.
Muda is the Japanese term for waste. Seven elements to consider for the elimination of muda are correction, overproduction, processing, conveyance, inventory, motion, and waiting. Initiatives to consider for reducing waste include the 5S method that focuses on improvements through sorting (cleaning up), storage (organizing), shining (cleaning), standardize, and sustaining (training and discipline).
Lean principles evaluates an organization’s workplace, people, and systems for reducing waste. Much focus is given to having worker involved in making process improvements. Lean efforts are directed to make improvements to an organization’s value stream; e.g., the workflow and information flow between customer order and fulfillment. Focused kaizen events are the primary vehicle for making improvements in Lean.
Lean Six Sigma Introduction: Integration of Lean and Six Sigma for Process Improvement Model
Around the turn of the 20th century Lean and Six Sigma were integrated to form Lean Six Sigma. However, Lean Six Sigma training could differ dramatically in that one deployment could give primary focus to Lean while another gave primary focus to Six Sigma. Somepractitioners even encouraged doing Lean or Six Sigma before doing the other deployment.
In addition, there were other problems with both Lean and Six Sigma in that often these improvement efforts were in silos and did not benefit the enterprise as a whole; e.g., 100 million dollars was reported in savings but nobody can find the money.
Lean Six Sigma Introduction: Issues with a Traditional Lean Six Sigma Training for Process Improvement Model
Six Sigma, Lean, and Lean Six Sigma are not a business management system. A consistent well documented Lean Six Sigma methodology is needed for truly integrating Lean and Six Sigma. In addition, these process improvements had to be better aligned with performance measures and improvement effort to make these measures better for improved health of the organization; i.e., a typical lacking in most Lean Six Sigma deployments.
Over the years, Lean Six Sigma training has become a commodity, where often the goal seems to be individuals seeking for simply to get a “certification stamp on their forehead.” However, simply passing a multiple choice test without completing a real project is not an indicator of how well people know how to apply the concepts of Lean Six Sigma to make beneficial process improvement in the real world.
There are many providing Lean Six Sigma training. However, there can be vast differences in the quality and thoroughness of the offerings. Larger corporations and governments may offer their internal training, community colleges have offerings, ASQ sections are offering “refresher” courses so that people can pass an ASQ Black Belt or ASQ Green Belt multiple choice examination, and people who have been laid are offering training.
However, most of the providers offering Lean Six Sigma training have one or more of the following issues:
- Lean Six Sigma concepts have been watered down over the years so that individuals becoming “certified” is the main goal, as opposed to being able to understand and apply the Lean Six Sigma concept effectively for a real project that benefits the business.
- Providing only a deck of slides that can be referenced after the class for tool usage, as opposed to including a detailed execution roadmap that is provided in a book (as part of the training). An on-line training offering may not even offer any material to reference other than a screen shot that someone took when taking the class.
- When Lean Six Sigma projects are undertaken they are often only executed in silos and don’t benefit the big picture of an enterprise.
- The tools of Lean and Six Sigma are not truly integrated in the Lean Six Sigma project execution roadmap so that the right tool is used at the right time.
- Lean Six Sigma projects that are undertaken during training often fall off people′s plates and may never get completed.
- If a project gets executed for Lean Six Sigma belt certification, the certified individual may never complete another project.
- If there is an organizational Lean Six Sigma department, often it is hunting for projects to work on and trying to convince management that it needs help in improving its processes; i.e., the process owner is not asking for help improving the process that it owns. By the way, people in these departments often are laid off or re-assigned when times get tough financially for the organization/company.
- A good statistical computer program may not be used or referenced during the training. Use of Excel or an Excel add-in has significant limitations.
Including Reference Books in a Lean Six Sigma Training for Process Improvement Model
Much of ASQ’s Lean Six Sigma body of knowledge is based on the books written by me, Forrest Breyfogle III, the founder of Smarter Solutions, Inc. Some organizations use and/or include these books in their training.
My book Implementing Six Sigma, 2nd edition won the ASQ Crosby Medal. This book included a very detailed Lean Six Sigma roadmap that truly integrated Lean and Six Sigma methodologies so that the right tool was used at the right time for improvements.
Smarter Solutions’ Lean Six Sigma training references my newer five book series. Though this referencing, trainees have a life-long source that can be used long after being trained. In addition, the books can be used to explain concepts to others who have not taken a Lean Six Sigma course that utilized one or more of the books. The books used in the Smarter Solutions′ training are:
- The Integrated Enterprise Excellence System: An Enhanced, Unified Approach to Balanced Scorecards, Strategic Planning, and Business Improvement
- Integrated Enterprise Excellence Volume I – The Basics: Golfing Buddies Go Beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard
- Integrated Enterprise Excellence, Volume II – Business Deployment: A Leaders′ Guide for Going Beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecards
- Integrated Enterprise Excellence, Volume III – Improvement Project Execution: A Management and Black Belt Guide for Going Beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard
- Lean Six Sigma Project Execution Guide: The Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) Process Improvement Project Roadmap
Including Predictive Performance Reporting in a Lean Six Sigma Training for Process Improvement Model
Traditional Six Sigma training describes process performance in terms of traditional control charting, process capability indices (Cp, Cpk, Pp, and Ppk), and/or sigma quality level (e.g., 5.4 sigma level).
This traditional Lean Six Sigma form of metric reporting has many issues, as described in links that are noted in Forrest’s Favorites. The above issues and more are addressed through 30,000-foot-level reporting. In 2003, I wrote my first published article on 30,000-foot-level charting, which can also be used to enhance an organization′s scorecard reporting so that there is less firefighting and more fire prevention. Smarter Solutions’ Enterprise Performance Reporting System (EPRS) provides the software that can be used so that automatic updates are available to these metrics.
Project Selection in a Lean Six Sigma Training for Process Improvement Model so that the Enterprise as a Whole benefits
The primary purpose of undertaking Lean Six Sigma in an organization has been to save money through the execution of improvement projects. Initially Lean Six Sigma project selection was to be determined from a list of projects that high-level management thought would be beneficial, typically from a cost-saving point of view.
The Lean Six Sigma Champion of these projects was to work with the Green Belt or Black Belt so that the DMAIC improvement projects would be completed in a timely fashion. Regular report-outs were to be made to executives. Most organizations undertaking Lean Six Sigma are no longer using this approach. Now there may be an organizational improvement function that may do some training and undertake a hunt-for-improvement-project approach to run their organization. Often this process improvement function is trying to convince process owners that they need their help, but these people often have other priorities that need to be addressed first or ″fires to fight″. Often the process-improvement function finds that they spend most of the time trying to sell their services.
What is needed is a Lean Six Sigma process improvement approach that is truly integrated with key performance indicator (KPI) needs so that the enterprise as a whole benefits. KPI improvement needs should ″pull″ for the creation of Lean Six Sigma process improvement efforts so that there is whole-enterprise benefits. This is accomplished through the Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) approach for implementing Lean Six Sigma.
Smarter Solutions, Inc. provides the IEE system for implementing Lean Six Sigma.
Smarter Solutions’ Lean Six Sigma Training for Process Improvement Model so that the Enterprise as a Whole benefits
Smarter Solutions’ Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training differentiators/inclusions:
- If someone is looking for the easiest approach to achieve Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification, this offering is not the best selection for them. However, if someone wants to attend training that has much substance and that can be a life-changing-event, then this is the training for them to strongly consider.
- If an organization simply wants to get people Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certified and not interested in having a consistent Lean Six Sigma offering where improvement efforts significantly benefit the enterprise and its KPIs, as a whole, then this Lean Six Sigma training offering is probably not the best Lean Six Sigma training alternative. However, if an organization wants to incorporate a methodology, which has much substance, where improvement efforts can make significant improvements to important KPIs, then this offering can be the best fit for achieving these desires.
- Four weeks of training (half day on Friday) over four months is the duration of the training. In this offering everyone works on a real project for their Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification. Coaching is typically included to assist with project completion and understanding of the concepts.
- The Black Belt on-line training alternative takes about 155 hours to complete, where there is much substance and interaction during the sessions.
- Someone can start Black belt on-line training at any point in time and have individualized coaching for improved Lean Six Sigma tools understanding and project coaching.
- Management benefits when it has Lean Six Sigma Black Belt candidates work to improve KPIs that have a significant financial goal. A project improvement goal might be to provide either directly or indirectly a $100,000, or more, in organizational financial benefits for the completed certification project and its related KPI.
- A very detailed DMAIC roadmap for project execution is followed during the training, which can be replicated in execution long after completion of the training.
- A DMAIC roadmap that truly integrates Lean and Six Sigma tools is used so that metrics improvement need pulls for the best tool to use in a variety of situations.
- The same very detailed DMAIC roadmap is used in on-line and in workshop training (on-site or public); hence, others in an organization, who may not have taken this training or have taken a different form of training, can readily communicate with each other.
- The same very detailed DMAIC roadmap is used in Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training; hence, process-improvement communications can significantly increase between the belts and others; e.g., those who work in the supply chain.
- Very experiential training occurs in both classroom and on-line training, where very experienced instructors coach the students through either one-on-one conversations or e-mails.
- The DMAIC roadmap that is used follows and references the books during the training proceeding from (1100+ pages for IEE Volume III): Integrated Enterprise Excellence, Volume III – Improvement Project Execution: A Management and Black Belt Guide for Going Beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard and Lean Six Sigma Project Execution Guide: The Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) Process Improvement Project Roadmap. A link to a description of the content of this book was previously provided.
- IEE Volume III provides over 100 examples that are referenced during the training.
- Solutions to the exercises, at the end of most IEE Volume III chapters, are provided in an available book, IEE Volume III Solutions Manual. This Volume III Solutions Manual can be purchased at an additional discount with the coupon code fb2015. A CD copy of the data sets for exercises in Volume III is included with the book purchase.
- ASQ body of knowledge (BOK) makes reference to the Smarter Solutions′ IEE book series.
- A PDF copy of the DMAIC roadmap is available for printing as a wall-chart to those taking the training.
- Lean Six Sigma Black Belt classroom training can be taken on-site or as a public session. Another alternative for this offering is on-line training, where one can start at any time. The student can also have one-on-one coaching for improved tools’ understanding and project certification coaching.
- All Smarter Solutions’ Master Black Belt, Black Belt and Green Belt training makes reference to the same roadmaps and material; hence, there can be effective cross organization communications about the tools and roadmaps.
- Lean Six Sigma Black Belt on-line training enhances MoreSteam on-line training through the referencing and inclusion of our IEE 5-book series, which are reference during the training and can be referred to long after the learning experience.
- The 30,000-foot-level creation and reporting process is included in the training.
- Five books (mentioned above) are provided and referenced during both classroom and on-line training.
- Included in the training is how to create 30,000-foot-level predictive reporting for virtually any type of process-output measurement.
- Inclusion of a free Minitab add-in so that 30,000-foot-level charts can easily be created not only for baselining a process′ performance measurement that is to be improved but also for use in other work activities that can be tracked as a process response over time.
- Inclusion of the book Integrated Enterprise Excellence, Volume II – Business Deployment: A Leaders′ Guide for Going Beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard. A link to a description of the content of this book was previously provided.
- This IEE volume II book provides a high-level summary of how organizations can benefit from a systematic approach that integrates scorecards, analytically/innovatively targeted strategies so that process improvement efforts can improve KPI improvement needs that benefit the enterprise as a whole.
- Inclusion of the book Integrated Enterprise Excellence, Volume I – The Basics: Golfing Buddies Go Beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecards. This book describes in a novel-book format how organizations can benefit from an IEE systematic approach that integrates scorecards with process improvement efforts. A link to a description of the content of this book was previously provided.
- Smarter Solutions′ Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training has been a life changing event for many. Several trainees have described how they have benefited from this offering and its unique features: Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Student Stories.
- For more information about this training and where/when it can be taken see: Smarter Solutions′ Black Belt training offering.
Smarter Solutions’ Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training differentiators/inclusions are similar to Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training except:
- For certification, completion of a project is still required; however, the monetary benefits of improving a metric’s performance is typically less and more local relative to the work that the trainee does on a day-to-day basis. Management can, for example, select a project for a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt project that is to have a $50,000 financial benefit when completed.
- As with Black Belt training books are included and followed during the session. Four of the five books provided in Black Belt training are provided in Green Belt training; i.e., IEE Volume II, which references the IEE business management system is not included as part of the training material.
- Classroom training is two weeks over two months, where Friday training is one-half day.
- Green-belt on-line training takes about 84 hours to complete, where there is much substance and interaction.
- Someone can start Green-belt on-line training at any point in time and have individualized coaching for improved Lean Six Sigma tools understanding and project coaching.
- For classroom training, the first two weeks of Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training is Green Belt training. Because of this, those trained as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt who desire to become a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt could take only the last two weeks of Black Belt training.
- For more information about this training and where/when it can be taken see: Smarter Solutions′ Green Belt training offering.
Smarter Solutions’ Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt training differentiators/inclusions:
- All the educational benefits listed in Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training are included in Master Black Belt training and more.
- Smarter Solutions′ Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt training consists of two weeks of classroom training over two months, where week one describes a high-level 9-step IEE business management system roadmap (i.e., IEE Enterprise-DMAIC) and week two walks through advanced details of the IEE project execution roadmap (i.e., IEE Project-DMAIC).
- Week one′s training content follows the book Integrated Enterprise Excellence, Volume II – Business Deployment: A Leaders′ Guide for Going Beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard . A link to a description of the content of this book was previously provided.
- Week two′s training content follows the book Integrated Enterprise Excellence, Volume III – Improvement Project Execution: A Management and Black Belt Guide for Going Beyond Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard and Lean Six Sigma Project Execution Guide: The Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) Process Improvement Project Roadmap. Links to descriptions of the content of these books were previously provided.
- Week one describes application of 30,000-foot-level predictive-performance reporting for not only improvement projects baselining and quantification of process improvements, but also as an alternative to the enhancement of traditional business scorecards and their reporting throughout an organization.
- Week one includes how to create analytically/innovatively determine targeted strategies that benefit the enterprise as a whole.
- Week one describes how to determine KPIs that need improvement so that the enterprise as a whole benefits and then how the owner of these metrics asks for the completion of one or more Lean Six Sigma projects (or some other means of improvement; e.g., kaizen event) to improve these strategic measurements.
- Inclusion of a free Minitab add-in so that 30,000-foot-level charts can easily be created for not only baselining a process′ performance measurement that is to be improved but also used in other work activities that can be tracked as a process response over time.
- Week two of the training discusses the IEE Lean Six Sigma project execution DMAIC roadmap, along with a more technical discussion of some of the tools in this step-by-step guide and how these tools are applicable to enterprise analyses.
- A special guest, a University of Texas professor and author, presents a four-hour session on Advocacy.
- Another special guest, a psychologist, illustrates in a four-hour session how to use Myers Briggs type indicators to improve team performance.
- Smarter Solutions′ Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt training has been a life changing event for many. Several trainees have described how they have benefited from this offering and its unique features: Smarter Solutions’ Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt Student Stories.
- For more information about this training and where/when it can be taken see: Smarter Solutions′ Master Black Belt training offering.
Smarter Solutions′ Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training:
- The audience for this training consists of those who participate in process improvement teams and need a basic understanding of some commonly used tools in Lean Six Sigma.
- Lean Six Sigma on-line training takes about 27 hours to complete.
- Three-days is the duration for on-site or public Lean Six Sigma training.
For more information about this offering and where/when it can be taken see: Smarter Solutions′ Yellow Belt training offering
Smarter Solutions’ Lean Six Sigma Executive Training
- Executive training is available on-site and through public sessions.
- This training consists of an overview the IEE Lean Six Sigma DMAIC improvement project execution roadmap and how a business system can select projects that improves organizational KPIs that have the most benefit to the business as a whole.
- The workshop can be conducted in three hours, four hours, or a full-day session.
- More breakout sessions and hands-on learning and customization are available with the longer sessions.
- Example organizational scorecards can be transformed to a 30,000-foot-level format that typically provides much additional insight and often a predictive statement.
- Projects can be identified, which when completed, can benefit the enterprise as a whole
- For more information about this offering see: Executive IEE Lean Six Sigma Training
Smarter Solutions’ Lean Six Sigma White Belt Awareness Training
- The above described Executive training can also be conducted as an introduction to the enhanced methodologies offered by an Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) deployment of Lean Six Sigma and the IEE business management system in a 3-hour, 4-hour, or one-day session.
- More information about this offering is available through the link: IEE Lean Six Sigma White Belt Training
Smarter Solutions’ One-week Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Class for no-project ASQ certification
- Some organizations simply want people certified as an ASQ Lean Six Sigma Green Belt by passing a multiple choice test that uses no statistical software and does not require the completion of a project. For these situations, Smarter Solutions does offer a one-week interactive on-site training option. Contact Smarter Solutions for more details.
Smarter Solutions′ Offerings that Go Beyond Traditional Lean Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard; i.e., a Next Generation Lean Six Sigma
If desired, the above described training offerings can lead to the creation of an enhanced business management system with automatically updated predictive scorecards. Automation of this process-point-of-view reporting can be accomplished through the Enterprise Performance Reporting System (EPRS) software.
The 9-step Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) system helps organization move toward achievement of the 3Rs of business; i.e., everyone doing the Right things and doing them Right at the Right time. The IEE system can also can improve visibility to what is really happening in an organization and reduce the risks of major problems that can occur; e.g., BP Gulf Coast oil spill, Blue Bell Ice Cream Listeria contamination, and Enron′s collapse around the turn of the century.
More information about the benefits of the IEE system and its 30,000-foot-level performance reporting can be found in the following:
- Article: Positive Metric Performance & Poor Business Performance – How Does This Happen?
- Recorded Webinar: Why Use 30,000-foot-level Predictive Performance Reporting?
In the University of Texas commercials, Walter Cronkite states: ″What Starts Here Changes the World″. The above described training can lead to application of the IEE enhanced business management system that can change the world.
Companies throughout the world could in time use the IEE business-management system to transition from a simple meet-the-numbers management style (which can lead to very unhealthy behaviors) to the reporting of metrics from a process point of view. This form of reporting can lead to less firefighting the problems of the day and a better understanding of how processes throughout the organization are performing. With IEE, strategic KPI improvement needs can pull for improvement efforts that benefit the enterprise as a whole. In time, business management schools can enhance their students′ skill set with the incorporation of IEE training in their studies.
The IEE system addresses the business scorecard and improvement issues described in a 1-minute video:
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 Lean Six Sigma 2.0 methodology.