'Lean Six Sigma Systems' is a strategy that was employed by big industries like Motorola because of the exorbitant costs involved in the black belt strategies and the large organizations were able to afford it rather than in small industries. However now all the sections of the industry is leaning to 'Six Sigma' and there are developments both for the big and the medium industries that can be used and combined to make the process cost effective. The problem is that many companies lack the plan for the good and bad times, especially when the going is good the leadership does not care about quality, cost or efficiency. When the profits shrink there is fighting rather than leadership. Thus cost management is accorded better status than any other plan. (Gupta, 2004) Therefore the quality controls systems ought to be given priority from the beginning to avoid a cost spiral.
(1) What are the lessons that large organizations can learn from small organizations and vice versa.
Basically for the big and small industry, the process and the outcome in the management of the business process is important. In the big business the executives pay more attention to goals and measuring results rather than giving more attention to the processes by which the workforce translate the goals and work to tangible results. Thus the results are ignored entirely. Thus there is little attention paid to results in ISO 9000 and QS 9000 and this seem to be the flaw in management that does not give due consideration to the processes. Thus there is an organizational divide that has changed the way the business views the processes and Japan which embraced the Kaisen model and 'Six Sigma' blends together. (Bhote, 2002) Likewise 'Lean' is a proven method to eliminate waste and streamline operations. Lean principles and 'Six Sigma' can be combined. (Bertels, 2003)
The 'Six Sigma' is a topic that is vast and has received much attention. In a small industry that employs the model there are advantages in terms of efficiency and cost saving and product quality. Thus the 'Lean' and 'Six Sigma' concepts is a drive to non-stop sustainable improvement and the system causes the process to move faster and the quality is improved. The organization thus not only becomes efficient but also eliminates wastage and the 'Six Sigma' concept drives the organization to near perfection -- even if absolute perfection is not possible. (Carreira; Trudell, 2006)
Even there are differences the way the big and small companies approach the definitions of the concepts involved. For example the term quality does not mean the same thing for the large and small organization. The volume and size difference create this difference. The bigger company can by cutting cost and reducing quality still stay in business while the smaller one cannot afford to have a small dip in price or quality. In fact large corporations are equated by the customers with poor quality. (Brue, 2006)
The processes of the 'Six Sigma' are versatile and combined with other strategies and tools like lean manufacturing makes the process fast, reduces cost and shows where improvement is needed and this can be applied with the Kaisen events which seeks to measure, analyze and improve processes. The 'Six Sigma' process has within itself multiple sections and tools that form the system. (Carreira; Trudell, 2006) However the big industry that has better outlay can use the black belt system directly but the smaller industries have evolved a less costly, but highly effective system that is called the 'Six Step Program.' (Davis, 2003) The cost of training and implementation is lessened and the effectiveness of the system lends power in creating better quality goods and the big industries can also use this method thereby reducing costs and improving quality. (Davis, 2003)
The program called 'Six Steps to Six Sigma' is simpler and requires that senior management awareness and the process of assigning the entire production to the 'Six Sigma' process is spread throughout the organization. Following this, the implementation planning which include the expected performance and financial improvements and other processes are chalked out and extensive training schedules are arranged. In the training, the methodology and tools are clearly taught to the entire staff and management. To this end, a training team is created first and the employees learn the specific methodology in resolving differences in product and service and once the workers get trained thoroughly they become the natural yellow belt team. The team chalks out further ways to improve product or service. On better performance the performers are elevated to the next level of 'Six Sigma' thus into 'Green or Black Belts.' (Davis, 2003)
Thus smaller and mid-sized organizations achieve results because the "one size fits all" 'Six Sigma Black Belt' deployment model is not practical and bigger companies also have to take a different approach to implementing the lean and less costly model. The bigger companies can also try the six steps approach. (Davis, 2003) Thus the interchangeable systems offer both the sections to learn and model things from each others functioning experience.
(2) In your discussion refer to your own industry and how Six Sigma thinking is being used or could be used to improve productivity.
One has to take into consideration that the systems, be it 'Six Sigma' or any other to be effective depends much on the corporate culture of the organization to which it is suggested. Before embarking on the program CEOs have to study the impact it may have on the organization. The 'Six Sigma' and culture of an organization is important. For Motorola, and other companies, it seems to have worked well, but every company is unique. It therefore is a matter of judgment to see if 'Six Sigma' can help in creating better company culture or if it will cause a setback and impede the progress of those things that it stands for like quality improvement and cost savings. (Bertels, 2003) Both are possible. There ought to changes in the organization's culture and the processes like 'Six Sigma' therefore is more individual in nature and what is good for one need not be for another. Still the costs remain prohibitive and the data for the effects of using the program for small industries is scarce. (Davis, 2003)
The 'Six Sigma' in small and medium-sized companies is expensive because the 'Six Sigma' implementation usually cost millions of dollars in investment, and thus it was believed that 'Six Sigma' is useless for mid-sized organizations. One of the reasons is that the 'Black Belt' implementation is a barrier for smaller and mid-sized companies. However such small companies have turned to a model called the 'Six Steps to Six Sigma.' It was created by AT&T, and later Motorola. This allows smaller organizations to implement the methodology at a lesser cost than the 'Black Belt' approach, and it is also seen that the 'Six Sigma' benefits that come from the 'Black Belts' are less as compared to the 'Green' and 'Yellow Belt' level. The 'Six Steps to Six Sigma' removes the hurdle by using the interchangeable yellow belt and thus allows for flexibility and become technically skilled as the big company. (Davis, 2003)
Some companies in the small sector have come up with unique strategies. For example, research case studies have documented the application of a novel 'Six Sigma' deployment program specifically for SMEs. These were for a building of coach business for regional automotive SMEs, wherein the benefits were in terms of knowledge, technology transfer and personnel selection. The adjusted 'six sigma' need not be costly but can be effective in any industry as much as the automotive industry as the study shows. (Pantano; O' Kane; Smith, 2006)
The 'six sigma' is a modern system with improvement strategies that can impact the very bottom of the organization pyramid. It is a quantitative approach that can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of any organization, but 'Six Sigma' is not being used by many industries and globally there is a paucity of data regarding implementation of 'Six Sigma' in small-scale industries. The results of the 'Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control -- DMAIC' have to be studied for each industry and firm separately and hence no common results can be possible. (Desai, Darshak, 2008)
There are some researches and analysis that have been shown and these show that for a real analysis there are published reports like the Thybar Corp. supplier to the HVAC industry. (Davis, 2003) When forced to go into 'Six Sigma' the company instead of accepting the traditional 'Back Belt' approach started implementing the 'Six Steps to Six Sigma' with a 25 to 30 improvement in ideas, and 25% reduction in cost and process cycle time. (Davis, 2003) Thus the quality control program can be used by all industries and all type of business for improvement.
The 'Six Sigma' began with Motorola and was used by large organizations but the process and the outcome and the 'Lean' principles and 'Six…