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Making Six Sigma everyone’s cup of tea

April 13, 2013


I was reading a very interesting take on why Six Sigma just isn’t sticky enough by Jay Arthur, where he starts by describing how books related to Six Sigma are stored on the bottom racks of book stores. I find this very interesting since this is also the case in most Sri Lankan book stores. One would expect however, things to be slightly different in the U.S, which afterall is the birth place of Six Sigma!

The whole concept of making Six Sigma ‘sticky’ hits close to home since this has been a considerable challenge in my experience too. Irrespective of the type of deployment model used department/business unit or enterprise wide, they all need some version of the famous ‘elevator speech’ made by Bill Smith of Motorola and a whole lot of perseverence, just to receive the ‘go ahead’ to introduce it in any company. But commencing a Lean Six Sigma programme is only half the battle, sustaining it is another story altogether.

In my experience, many people tend to have a perceived notion that Statistics is hard, do not fancy extended training sessions or the hassle of lengthy exams and in general simply want a ‘quick and easy’ solution, and who can blame them? The need of the hour is to strike a balance between making it overly stringent (and self gratuitous?) and making it seem less scary and more accessible. One way this could be achieved is to teach people how to use key statitical tests for analysis and problem solving outside the confines of ‘DMAIC’ (In fact, this deserves a whole new blog by istelf).

As for Six Sigma not being sticky, the fact that Six Sigma books are displayed in the Sri Lankan book stores (which are a pretty fair distance from the U.S) is a testament to its worldwide acceptance and popularity, even if they are only found on the bottom racks.

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