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Fit Sigma: A Lean Approach to Building Sustainable Quality Beyond Six Sigma by Ron Basu

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More about FIT SIGMA

2.1 INTRODUCTION

The success of Six Sigma and Lean Sigma cannot be faulted. The rigorous Six Sigma process combined with the speed and agility of Lean Sigma has produced definitive solutions for better, faster and cheaper business processes. Through the systematic identification and eradication of non-value-added activities an optimum value flow is achieved, cycle times are reduced and defects eliminated. However, business managers do understand the grey areas of distinction between different quality initiatives and justifiably are expressing concerns, including raising the question ‘how do we sustain the results?’

A survey by Basu1 has shown that there are considerable barriers to achieving and sustaining results in quality initiatives. These are illustrated in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1 Main barriers to quality movement

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The biggest obstacle appears to be the packaged approach of the programme, causing a paucity of customised local solutions. Furthermore, due to the ‘top-down’ directive, middle managers are often not ‘on board’. The initiative is not owned by employees. We can identify additional and complementary areas of concern, including:

  • ‘Some star performers of Six Sigma have shown poor business results’ (e.g. site closures by Motorola).
  • ‘Incomplete initiatives’ (e.g. Marconi abandoned Six Sigma during the economic downturn of 2001).
  • ‘Change of management ...

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