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Is Six Sigma Training Only For Big Companies?

Aug 20, 2008
For any organization to implement a Six Sigma project successfully, there are a few considerations to be made, such as management support, education and training, committed resources and linking the effort to compensation.

Management Support

In small businesses, management is generally involved on a personal basis to a great extent. It is easier to achieve the support of top management to achieve results. An agreement on issues among team members is easier than in a large company.

Education and Training

In smaller companies, the cost of education and training is higher and the investment, being a smaller number, will not qualify for discounts as it would in a bigger company.

The time that staff puts in for training is time lost on production and revenue generation processes. However, Six Sigma training and education can be useful for sustaining improvement in the long run.

Committed Resources

The committed availability of the employee as a resource is a relevant factor. But by providing committed resources to the project, there may seem to be a shortfall in their availability for other functions.

However, the benefit of involvement of these resources is definitely visible in the long run.

Linking Effort to Compensation

In a small business, the efforts of the teams involved in a Six Sigma project can be compensated. The decision to implement such a compensation structure can be developed easily within the HR department. The results of the initiative will be easily identified and appropriate compensation linked to these efforts.

There are many other aspects that need to be considered. To bring about change successfully, small businesses must meet two important requirements.

Increasing Tolerance to Variation

When small businesses undertake any project, they have to control the number of mistakes or problems that the changes may cause. Before deployment, they should ensure that the project consequences do not affect customers adversely.
They should also ensure that any mistakes are dealt with carefully and a safe path followed for further changes.

Spare Resources and Redundancy

In other words, the change agent should be able to spare sufficient time on project development. In a small business, Human Resource is a very scare resource. The business should take on the Six Sigma project activity when they are able to spare key players for at least one day per week.

There should be other members who can act as a backup to such agent-basic activities. Gradually, the company should consider rotating Green Belts and training new staff. This will make the overall improvement project sustainable.

Small businesses will have to make some extra effort to deal with these issues. They may even seek the assistance of bigger organizations or individuals who are trained Black Belts and so on.

Small businesses are dynamic in nature. They cannot afford to undertake projects for longer periods of time. They should choose projects carefully and ones which would be completed within a month or so.
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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