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Small Business Six Sigma Deployments: A Roadmap

Mar 19, 2008
The experts may have been proven wrong, but we cannot afford to ignore their doubts - because deploying Six Sigma in small businesses is a challenging task that needs to be handled with extreme care. It is quite natural for them to express doubts because if we look at the big picture, we can easily see that it is the small businesses that are often found running short of funds and resources, things that are considered a prerequisite for successful Six Sigma deployments. However, small businesses need not feel demoralized, because if the right procedures and techniques are utilized, they can easily ensure the success of their Six Sigma initiatives.

Explained below is the general roadmap that most small businesses can employ for achieving the same level of success, as the relatively larger businesses have been able to achieve by deploying Six Sigma.

Developing Tolerance and Accepting Change

Most small businesses are often not in a position to take risks, but since Six Sigma deployments generally carry a certain amount of risk, they should at least try to develop a tolerant attitude to the risks involved and the ability to handle those with veritable ease. Taking big, uncalculated risks is however certainly not recommended for small businesses because in case something goes terribly wrong, it could easily sound the death knell of the business concerned.

Small businesses need to realize that they do not have deep pockets like their larger counterparts, something that is necessary for sustenance and to provide adequate cover for the risks involved. The best way out for small businesses is to start with small projects having limited risks and then gradually move on to the bigger projects.

Enabling Maximum Utilization of Human Resources
While deploying Six Sigma, small businesses often experience manpower shortages, something that acts as a barricade for the project's successful completion. Larger organizations also face manpower shortages, but since most of them have the resources to hire additional manpower, it does not pose much of a problem to them.

Smaller organizations however need not lose their hopes and aspirations because if they plan their work schedules strategically, they can easily resolve manpower issues and that too without hiring new recruits from outside. By streamlining work processes and providing the requisite training, small businesses can maximize their manpower utilization and that too without having to face the ire of employees.

Apart from these, small businesses also need to ensure that implementation teams have the tacit support of the top-management. The top-rung officials in small businesses are often too busy with other organizational issues, but if they can at least spare a few hours to interact with the team members, it would go a long way in setting the right tone for the deployments. Team members will then feel more motivated and will become more confident in taking strategic decisions that are required for ensuring the success of Six Sigma deployments.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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