sstein's picture

ARIS User Day 08

I am currently attending the Six Sigma roundtable during ARIS UserDay. In contrast to ordinary presentations, this is a discussion between five Six Sigma experts. They are sharing their experience of introducing Six Sigma in their organisations and the motivation for it.

<!--more-->The roundtable has a nice mix of end-users as well as Six Sigma tool providers and experts For example, Prof. Schmieder is a leading researcher in this area and he is the head of the Six Sigma Deutschland GmbH. The company Minitab, which provides statistical analysis tools often used in context of Six Sigma, is represented by Jean-Pierre Mulley. There are three end-users, namely Lise Risgaard from A.P. Moller - Maersk, Oliver Gruhn from Deutsche Post World Net, and Jörg Junges from CosmosDirekt. The session is moderated by Tolga Avsar, who is a very experienced IDS Scheer consultant working with Six Sigma since more than 6 years.

The roundtable a nice mix of end-users as well as Six Sigma tool providers and experts

After introducing the participants, Tolga gives a short introduction of Six Sigma. He points out that Six Sigma is a management philosophy aiming at turning customer requirements into quantitative measures. In my view this is an important point, because Six Sigma is often just seen as a quantitative approach based on rigor statistical methods. On the other hand, the softer business perspective is often neglected.

After this short introduction to Six Sigma, Tolga initiates the discussion by asking the end-users for their reasons of introducing Six Sigma. Mr. Gruhn of Deutsche Post World Net explains that when Deutsche Post started introducing Six Sigma they were aware that they are the best logistics provider, but that they still could improve. To measure this improvement effort, they started to roll out Six Sigma in different parts of their company, starting around 2005.

During the discussion the participants stress the point that Six Sigma can be used in any kind of business and that it is not limited to e.g. production. It is about measuring if the improvements initiated really work out and improve the overall business performance. In order to be successful, Jörg Junges of CosmosDirekt stresses that top management support is needed. This point is supported by Prof. Schmieder. The moderator Tolga asks how top management support can be achieved. Prof. Schmieder says that it is important to quantify the gains achieved.

Jean-Pierre Mulley of Minitab explains that according to his experience too big projects are a typical reason for Six Sigma projects to fail. Prof. Schmieder adds that a good Six Sigma project should not be longer than 3 to 6 months. This helps to gain momentum in the Six Sigma effort by showing benefits early.

One of the key success factors for Oliver Gruhn is to do the right initiative. He says that people working each day in the processes should be asked for the most pressing problems and those problems should be focused on first. Identifying the right initiative is, in his opinion, the responsibility of Six Sigma program managers. According to him, this is a very challenging task, which involves talking to many people and convincing middle management.

Lise Risgaard of A.P. Moller - Maersk adds that user training should not be neglected, because all employees need a basic understanding. Otherwise they will refuse to participate in the different Six Sigma initiatives. However, she adds to "not try to make everybody a black-belt", but to create a basic understanding at least.

Tags: six sigma