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Overcoming Six Sigma Controversies

Aug 17, 2007
Six Sigma is a quality improvement technique that aims at reducing wastage by restricting the number of defects to not more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities that might exist for such defects to occur. Reduced wastage naturally results in lower production costs, which in turn helps an organization to maximize profits. Six Sigma also helps in developing customer loyalty and satisfaction because reduction in the number of defects means better quality products or services.

Most Common Controversies

One of the most common Six Sigma controversies is related to employee dissatisfaction, which results because employees think that they will lose their jobs or will be shifted to other positions after the implementations are over. This can prove detrimental for the organization's aims and objectives because the employees are less likely to lend their full support and cooperation in an environment that forces them to think negatively. In such a scenario, it is very much possible that the implementations may take more time for completion or in the worst-case scenario, may get scrapped altogether.

Another common controversy is associated with the selection of the implementation team. This controversy arises because of differences in opinions related to the composition of the implementation team. Some senior management members believe that the implementation team must consist of existing employees whereas others believe that Six Sigma professionals such as Green Belts and Black Belts must be hired to carry out the implementations. This ultimately can result in enmity and ego clashes between senior management members.

How To Overcome The Controversies

If we look closely, we will find that most of the above stated controversies are basically due to lack of proper information dissemination and lack of clarity related to the common goals and objectives. It is quite natural for employees to fear job losses, especially when there is a lack in communications between the project sponsors and the employees related to the real purpose of the implementations. To allay the fears, it is necessary to inform the employees that they will not lose their jobs and that adequate compensation packages have been put in place for employees who might have to leave the organization for better opportunities elsewhere.

The controversy related to the composition of the implementation team can be overcome by identifying the real needs of the implementation. For example, if a business process is easy, existing employees can carry out the implementation and in case a process is complex, the implementations may require the services of experienced Six Sigma professionals. The basic thing to do for overcoming any of the controversies is to concentrate on achieving the end objective rather than waste time and effort in selecting a particular implementation method or technique.

Businesses need to realize that controversies are a part of Six Sigma implementations and that they do not need to get hyperactive when faced with any of the common controversies stated above. The only thing that needs to be done is to analyze the controversy logically, find the underlying reasons, and solve them accordingly so that the implementation are properly completed within the stipulated timeframe.
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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