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Avoiding Risks In Six Sigma Implementations

Feb 25, 2008
If risks inherent to Six Sigma implementations are not eliminated, it could easily lead to project failures or redundancies, which will then become a drain on the organization's resources and competencies. Explained below are some suggestions and techniques that business organizations can use for avoiding risks in Six Sigma implementations.

Start With Small Projects

The best way to minimize risks is to start with small projects that do not involve heavy investment or excessive use of organizational resources. Small projects will allow businesses to assess the effectiveness of the implementation project based on which they can then take decisions regarding the applicability of large-scale implementations. Small projects are beneficial also because they allow employees to gain hands-on experience and increase their technical and knowledge base. This would not have been possible in case of a large project because the stakes then would be high and it would not make sense to induct first-timers for carrying out the implementations.

Avoid Loftier Goals and Objectives

Many businesses often make the mistake of setting ambitious goals and objectives without realizing that Six Sigma is based on the concept of continuous improvements, which requires plenty of patience on part of those associated with the implementations. If goals are set without giving due consideration to ground realities, there is a huge risk that that it would lead to widespread employee frustration and dissatisfaction.

Inability to achieve the high targets can also put a question mark on the effectiveness of Six Sigma concepts and methodologies, which in turn may force the top management to call it quits. Such developments can prove disastrous and should be avoided at all costs. The best way is to start with small, achievable goals and then move on to the bigger organizational goals and objectives.

Emphasize the Use of Time-Tested Tools and Techniques

To minimize risks, businesses should stress the use of scientific and statistical tools and techniques. Personal opinions and perceptions may be necessary sometimes, but they can never replace the need for accuracy, which can only be provided by standardized Six Sigma tools and techniques.

Training is Important

Since the risks cannot be reduced until and unless the employees develop the required technical expertise, businesses should make it a point to provide the necessary training to the employees. This type of training should cover the basics of Six Sigma concepts and all the related topics such as Chi-square analysis, dispersion, regression analysis, linear and non-linear analysis, QFD Matrix (Quality Function Deployment), central tendency, cost scheduling, and data trend analysis. Other important topics that need to be covered during the training include probability theorems, factor theorems, permutations, combinations, and the most commonly used probability distributions including hyper geometric, binomial, Poisson, normal, and exponential.

It is only after all these factors have been accounted for, can a business organization hope to carry out the implementations successfully and derive the associated benefits.
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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