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Using 'Yokoten' To Manage Risks Associated With Six Sigma Implementations

Apr 4, 2008
Commonly utilized risk management tools such as FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis) are no doubt quite effective, but since they often make risk management a long drawn process, businesses need to try out other less taxing options that might be just as effective.

For example, businesses that are not afraid to take calculated risks can try out the highly successful Japanese technique 'Yokoten' , which basically means taking something from one place to another.

For better understanding, we'll look at how 'Yokoten' can help businesses in streamlining and simplifying their risk management functions.

Sharing Data Available From Completed Projects

It is true that each and every Six Sigma implementation project is different in terms of the stated goals and objectives, but since the major risks involved such as customer dissatisfaction, increased cost of operations, etc. are more or less the same, businesses can always depend on Yokoten to take proper care of the associated risks. Yokoten can certainly help, because it emphasizes increasing learning at the organizational level through the sharing of implementation data and other critical information as might have become available from completed projects.

However, since the amount of data and information collected from completed projects is often too large and unclassified, businesses are required to put in additional efforts, especially if they are to derive any real benefits from the vast amount of collected data and information. The best that businesses can do is create an independent team comprising of members having the requisite technical knowledge and expertise and a fair amount of experience in Six Sigma implementations.

Such a team can certainly help because it will know exactly the data or information that needs to be gathered from the completed projects and shared with the ongoing project. This will eventually make the implementations a lot more affordable and risk-free, all of which will prove beneficial for the business, both in the short term and long term.

Sharing Data from Concurrent Projects

The fact that Yokoten calls for sharing data from completed projects may tempt many people to believe that it can only be deployed by old patrons of Six Sigma, but this is certainly not true obviously because Yokoten does not prohibit the sharing of data from concurrent projects, which works just as well.

Data and information collected from concurrent project may be relatively less reliable, but since businesses that have just recently opted for Six Sigma, hardly have any other effective option, it does make sense to opt for Yokoten.

For best results, businesses need to avoid using data and information that may lack conclusive evidence in terms of its applicability to a given business process.

Both the methods described above are quite effective, but if businesses want to provide the best cover for the associated risks, they should opt for the penultimate 'Yokoten' technique, which lays emphasis on getting the most critical data and information from both completed and concurrent projects.

The usability of this technique is however limited obviously because there are not many businesses that claim to have both completed and concurrent Six Sigma implementation projects, apart from the project currently being targeted.
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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