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7 Reasons Why Six Sigma Benchmarking Efforts Fail

Jul 24, 2008
Six Sigma Benchmarking projects are structured and systematic, concentrating on superior performance at the end of the project.

The success of each benchmarking project is dependent on the participation of all the parties involved. The involvement and the commitment of senior management are necessary for projects to achieve their objectives.

Six Sigma project efforts are bound to fail if teams do not understand the areas of concern for internal processes, or management does not support them properly.

Various reasons why the benchmarking efforts of some companies fail are listed below.

1. Lack of understanding: The key factor for Six Sigma benchmarking failures is the lack of understanding of internal processes and the mission and the goal of the organization. If management does not align the activities with the mission statement of the organization, then all efforts will be wasted.

The failure to understand the needs of the customer, the outcomes of the processes and the performance of the process is responsible for efforts failing.

2. Lack of sponsorship: Unless there is acceptance of the Six Sigma project and its objectives and potential costs by management, any improvements made may prove useless.

Team leaders may not accept the improvements for lack of understanding.

3. Unfamiliar Teams: If the members of the team are not familiar to the process or the area under consideration, they may not be able to understand the minute details of the process and its relevance to the success of the project. The members of the team should be people who have experience in the working of the process.

If team members are unable to compare the processes of the two organizations in the correct light, then they will not be able to find and come up with good improvements to the project.

4. Too much work: If teams decide to cover a broader area, they will soon find it unmanageable to carry out the project systematically to its logical solution.

By making simple flowcharts, breaking down the projects and having a logical approach to Six Sigma project selection, the team will be able to contribute positively to the project.

5. Lack of commitment: If managers are not well informed about the pros and cons of the projects, they will underestimate the effort, in terms of time and cost, needed for the successful completion of the project.

A lack of commitment of top management to support the project in its entirety means sure failure of the Six Sigma benchmarking project.

6. Focus on metrics rather than processes: Some organizations tend to focus on performance metrics rather than the overall processes.

If the other organization has high returns due to certain reasons, then a study of your organization processes is necessary in order to understand its drawbacks and improve upon them to achieve the benchmarks.

7. Failure to monitor process progress: If the teams have completed analysis and implementation of the changes to any process, management should monitor its progress on implementation.

By failing to monitor results over a longer period of time, the benchmarking project will surely fail.

The failure of benchmarking efforts can be overcome by planning the Six Sigma project carefully. Projects must be managed and coordinated well among the team members by the active participation of senior management.
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 six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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