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Choosing The Right Projects For Six Sigma Implementation

Aug 7, 2008
The selection may be based upon various criteria such as the cost-benefit comparison. The focus is to choose the right project focusing on the right goal.

Ultimately, all projects affect the stakeholders in one way or another.

Factors That Influence Selection

Customer experience is not the only underlying factor of Six Sigma project selection. A good project should be able to improve the returns on investment substantially to be of any relevance. The result of choosing the right project can be seen in a practical timeframe. It should ensure that the processes become simpler for the employees and not burden them with complexity brought about due to change.

The customers, internal (i.e. employees) as well as the external, should be satisfied and the aim should be to achieve customer delight. It should also bring about substantial return on investment, which will mean support for any project in the future.

Areas of Focus

For any company that is customer driven, customer value projects are vital for their growth. The focus is on linking processes to the value of the product as seen by the customers. The focus also needs to be on the customer demands directly that will help bring about projects for process improvements.

The value as perceived by the customers can be ascertained by undertaking interviews, surveys etc and establishing the link by using process mapping and Quality Function Deployment. A project would be right from the shareholder perspective when it impacts the revenue generated upon implementation of the project.

The key is to keep prices competitive and increase the sales volume, thus the market share as a whole. Improved efficiency by improving the quality, reducing cycle time and eliminating wastes can bring customer value as well as shareholder value to the projects.

Determining Feasibility

When businesses feel the need to undertake the right process improvement projects, consideration is given to the feasibility of these projects. Feasibility can be determined by understanding the scope and cost of the project. A cost-benefit analysis undertaken by the finance department can help upper management understand its feasibility.

Though businesses can get accurate results from such an analysis, the savings on implementation also need to be considered. A realistic project that can be completed in a period of around 4-5 months with positive results will be a better option to select for project implementation. Selecting a big project may be a waste, as it may become unmanageable for team members beyond a certain point and they may start losing interest in it.

The top management of the organization should also be approached to sort out any issues and take their support to align the project to the objectives of the organization. The commitment and support of top management can be the deciding factor in the successful implementation of the Six Sigma project.

Choosing the right project is relative to each organization's objectives. Although it is not possible to calculate its exact impact, businesses should consider the various factors before selecting a project for Six Sigma implementation.
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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