Is six sigma dying?

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  • #3666 Reply
    Zach DeGroote

    Reply to Jenny Demeules of #2465:

    I think it can definitely depend on the industry that you work in.  Six sigma was first implemented in manufacturing environments, but there has been increasingly higher rates of adaptation in healthcare organizations as well.

    When I completed a co-op at Mercury Marine last year, I received Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training and was able to lead my own process improvement projects.  Those projects were especially valuable because I have been able to draw upon those experiences during recent job interviews.

    Overall, I think it can depend on the company and if they have staffing and resources to conduct LSS training, but I think that the payoff can be huge if there is buy-in across the company.

    #3719 Reply
    Briggam Knott

    I think it’s dying at the places which didn’t properly implement six sigma.

    For a company to succeed at implementing six sigma, there are key factors that must be followed through upon. The first and most important factor is  leadership commitment to six sigma. To successfully implement six sigma the leadership will have taken charge and made sure to see that six sigma is fully integrated into the company, and not just a goal of the company. If the leaders are visibly behind six sigma, then the employees will be too. Another factor is that company leadership will support projects fully, and give BB’s and GB’s everything they need to succeed. Employees who see the support will understand that this isn’t a passing business fad, it’s here to stay. An understanding of how to properly measure and document the effects of sig sigma project are a third key factor. Effects that can be shown and validated will encourage all that six sigma works, and its implementation is worthwhile. Absence of even one of these factors will be crippling to an implementation process, and doom it to failure. If leadership talks six sigma up, and then retreats into board rooms when it’s tome to implement, employees will be suspect of their commitment. If management isn’t committed to it, why should they be?  The same goes for projects. If BB’s and GB’s don’t get support, they’ll become discouraged and spread negativity about the six sigma implementation. Lastly, if they effects of six sigma can’t be measured, shown, and defended, it will be impossible to convince people that it’s working. When workers can’t see results, they’ll blow it off as a waste of time.


    From my personal experience, six sigma is still alive and well at 3M. I interned at the company and the whole time was encouraged to problem solve using lean six sigma principles. I think where six sigma was properly implemented, it will live on for quite a long time.

    #4148 Reply
    Megan Klubertanz

    I think that it depends on the success of six sigma within the company. There are many reasons why within a company six sigma can succeed or fail. Factors that have shown to lead to failure include: lack of leadership strategy and commitment, incorrect accounting methods, poor cultural integration, no data/bad data, project scope too large. Still to increase likelihood of success companies should integrate six sigma into the goals and objectives of the company  along with having rewards and recognition to improvement teams.

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    #4221 Reply
    Emma Wagner

    Reply to Jenny Demeules of #2465:

    I was an intern this past summer with Grainger and they had a summer-long program for the interns that reviewed lean principles and six sigma methods. I can’t say I saw any similar programs being provided to full-time employees, but I definitely saw six sigma practices being put into place during my time there.

    #4586 Reply

    I wouldn’t say it is dying but I’ll say its being embedded into the operating system and culture of the company under review.

    Take for instance UTC, they have their own operating system and lean improvement methodology called ACE (Achieving Competitive Excellence) which really is 6 sigma but in internal terms. I would not say it is dying but just transforming. Another reason why it might appear its dying is as different companies have different training means and different criterion for certification approval. While company A might have a really tough process for lean certification, company B might be weaker in the depth of information dispensed to its employees.

    Still a valuable certification to get, IMO. The mindset never goes away even if the certification becomes less relevant.

    #4742 Reply
    Graham Dalsing

    The concepts of six sigma are still very prevalent in industry, as many firms have not truly adopted this philosophy. I do however see it being used more often as a “buzzword.” Its easy to say your factory emphasises six sigma, but its harder to make it a reality.

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