THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
is hardly recognised: VOE - The Voice of the
Integrating Lean Six Sigma Employee - Culture (Fusion). And as many of us have
into an Organization found out you can have the best process improvement
system on the planet but if the employees who use it,
The change required for achieving don't buy into it - then what's the point?
breakthrough profit performance! The fusion of Lean and Six Sigma is required because:
• Lean can not bring a process under statistical
By, Dr. Arul Aruleswaran control.
• Six Sigma alone cannot dramatically improve
Businesses exist fundamentally to earn profits. process speed or reduce invested capital.
Shareholders, stakeholders, directors and management Lean Six Sigma, is hence a methodology driven by the
engage in a business activity to meet these goals – need to change, to continuously improve, to meet the
results, revenue, growth and return of invested capital. goals of the business and shareholders though a single
Now, can an initiative such as Six Sigma and Lean most important element – Voice of the Employee or
Thinking or commonly know today as Lean Six Sigma simply, Culture.
be incorporated into an organization to achieve the
goals stated above.
A continuous improvement culture
The foundation of any continuous improvement
Can these initiatives that have shown great successes in methodology or initiative is the focus on results. When
the world of manufacturing, such as Motorola and an organization embarks on such initiative, following
Toyota, since the early 1980’s and in the world of the paths of successful business leaders such as Jack
finance, service and transactions, such as GE Capital Welsh and Warren Buffet, integrating into the essence
and Xerox, since the mid 1990’s, be made into a of the organization’s culture, economics and synergies
success in the world of Information and need to be seriously considered. Many organizations, at
Communication Technology? their own peril, disconnect the business and customer
strategy, from the continuous improvement activity.
What is Lean Six Sigma?
Lean and Six Sigma, the combination, you could call The key to a successful continuous improvement
it the next generation of Six Sigma and whether some culture is the management infrastructure that
like it or not it was only a matter of time and pure logic effectively translates strategic agendas into continuous
before it occurred. The new name derives from two improvement initiatives aimed at maximizing value and
very essential components in business process results whilst directly linked to profits and loss through
improvement. "Lean" the business's internal needs - effective management and tracking of results.
reduction of waste and "Six Sigma" the calculation of The Lean Six Sigma, as an initiative, should not be
least defects - the customer's needs. adopted to replace an existing methodology or
Both are the voices of two distinct business success management system but the best aspects of both
characteristics: VOC -The Voice of the Customer - should be integrated to create sustainable culture.
Quality (Six Sigma). VOB - The Voice of the Business - There are five key factors that have the biggest leverage
Speed (Lean). in ensuring that a continuous improvement culture is
However, to make it work there is a third voice which made sustainable for long term success.
THE LEAN SIX SIGMA CULTURE
continued from page 1
important if Lean Six Sigma is to become a natural way
1. Leadership Engagement
of business. Acceleration in the change process can be
Lou Giuliano, CEO of ITT Industries, summarized the achieved through organized team and proper team
importance of engaging leaders this way: "I've watched dynamics and engaged leaders.
enough change programs and change efforts to know
that the key is leadership. Anne Mulcahy, CEO and chairman of Xerox
Corporation noted: "Lean Six Sigma is not tools…it's
To ensure that initial continuous improvement the infrastructure and discipline in place to make
successes are translated to long-term sustainable gains, business improvement an imperative. It will be painful,
management need to instinctively understand that Lean we will select and train our best people, those we can
Six Sigma is vital to achieving corporate goals and least afford to reassign, our future leaders, to enable a
strategy, participate in decisions that affect the daily use cultural change."
of Lean Six Sigma by integrating into the management
thinking and practices – leadership engagement. 4. Value Creation
This instills the culture of consistent and strategic. The The integral component of Lean Six Sigma is the
framework of Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and rigorous use of a value-based project selection
Control (DMAIC) together with information such as methodology that ensures resources are committed to
data, customers, quality, speed and processes become a efforts linking to strategic objectives and creating value.
norm in the organization.
Having resources committed to activities that are not
meeting customer’s need, reducing defects, increasing
2. Quick Starts and Hits
speed and quality - link to strategic goals, revenue,
“Can we effective and consistently harvest the low profit and ROIC are reasons why value creation is the
hanging fruits – rid ourselves from the daily and essence to establishing a successful Lean Six Sigma
routine issues that effect cost, quality and speed?” culture.
It is essential to aim and achieve important results
quickly. Targeting what achieves the maximum benefits 5. Continuous Improvement & Performance
with the least efforts is vital to eliminate skepticism on "Is all about finding best practices, adapting them, and
continuous improvements initiative. Achieving fast continually improving them. When you do that right,
results through Lean Six Sigma are keys to sustaining new product and service ideas, new processes, and
and maintaining a cultural change momentum. opportunities for growth start to pop out everywhere
and actually become the norm." This is exactly what
To do so, organizations should effectively look at a
happened at GE under Jack Welch's leadership.
core training a corporate Lean Six Sigma deployment
team, using Kaizen to establish specific deployment Companies successfully adopting Lean Six Sigma would
target, objective and deployment metrics, identifying continuously look at ways to keep it living and evolve.
resources and timeline. New ways, tools and techniques are developed and
integrated into the organization.
3. Organizing for Success
Results are always based on profit performance that
Though Lean Six Sigma utilizes the DMAIC would continuously outpace peers and market indices,
framework and tools - establishing a continuous driven by all these five key factor – most importantly
improvement culture requires the changing and aligning the first factor – leadership engagement! Lean Six
of people’s mindset to business and customer strategy. Sigma Leaders aligned to achieving strategic goals will
Addressing cultural and technical barriers becomes ensure the continuous improvement initiative
continuous to survive.
Dr. Arul Aruleswaran firstname.lastname@example.org
General Manager, IQL Consulting Sdn. Bhd. Tel: 012 254 5005
Lean Six Sigma Australasia. www. Iqlconsulting.com
THE LEAN SIX SIGMA CULTURE