The Big Idea
They’re dead—but not really. It’s true we have told our clients the days of big bloated lean six sigma implementations is fast coming to an end. But that doesn’t mean we don’t believe in lean and six sigma. We do. In fact some might even call us zealots. The reality is, however, that as the tools of lean and six sigma become core competencies for many companies, the need for big programs is no longer as important. We’re also very cognizant of the fact that ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago, many companies struggled to get their arms around their processes. Lean and six sigma were great answers to this problem. Today, most good companies have implemented some combination of lean and\or six sigma. For those that haven’t, these are still great tool sets and we highly recommend them. For those that have, it’s time to look beyond process to recapture competitive advantage and for that, we recommend you look at BMGI’s Design and Innovation programs. In either case, we’d be happy to figure out where you are in terms of your own maturity as a company.
We believe it’s all about problem solving. And we believe lean and six sigma are terrific problem solving tools. However, the debate about whether it’s lean, six sigma, lean and six sigma, lean six sigma, or even lean sigma (without the six) has passed. Today companies realize it’s time to move beyond the rhetoric and get down to business. At BMGI, we can’t agree more.
While BMGI’s roots are much more in six sigma than lean, today about 80% of our process improvement work is more lean than six sigma. We still believe a core competency in statistical thinking is important, especially for decision makers. We also see many day-to-day problems that benefit from the more analytical tools generally associated with six sigma. The reality is, though, most everyday business problems can be tackled quickly, with a relatively small set of tools. And in most cases, the framework of hard hitting lean events (Kaizen) is the best way to deliver fast results. We’d still like to see you train some people in the tools of six sigma, but far fewer than we may have recommended in the past.
Project Opportunity Assessment: We strongly recommend any engagement, big or small, begin with BMGI’s experts conducting an assessment to identify the very best projects to work on. While financial results are important, we’re also looking for projects that offer a relatively quick result, with a high probability of success. By looking at these additional criteria, we can ensure a positive experience from the start. Project Opportunity Assessments vary tremendously from as little as a day to as long as a month. Geographic size and scope, and process complexity, are the biggest drivers of what’s involved.
SCORE: BMGI’s proprietary method for Lean Kaizen events is well documented in the best selling booklet, “SCORE: A Team Leader’s Guide to Lean Kaizen Events.” Hard hitting, fast, and with a high degree of employee engagement, SCORE events deliver fast results. We generally recommend that BMGI lead your first SCORE events as your people learn through a hands-on, “on-the-job-training” model. We start with some basic classroom education, but a large part of the learning happens through the project itself. SCORE events typically last 3 to 8 weeks with teams meeting on a periodic basis. BMGI infuses some non-traditional creativity tools derived from our innovation programs to help supercharge these events.
Lean Six Sigma Deployments
While we believe the days of training hundreds of six sigma black belts has come and gone, we aren’t prepared to say that you shouldn’t adopt lean six sigma if you haven’t already. Lean Six Sigma has done so much for so many that it would be very arrogant of us to say it won’t work for you, too. We just think the focus should be more on the problems you’re trying to solve, and less on jumping on the lean six sigma bandwagon.
BMGI has a long and very successful history leading clients, large and small, through their lean and six sigma deployments. From executive education and coaching to the development of supporting infrastructure systems in human resources, finance, communications and IT, BMGI has a robust process, the tools, and the experience. And because we’ve done it so many times, we can share what works and what doesn’t, and how we think things can be done best today based on our experience and that of our clients.
Lean and Six Sigma Training
The tools of Lean and Six Sigma, and the methodology (DMAIC) used to bring them together, were around long before we called them lean or six sigma—and they’ll be around long after. So, while BMGI has shifted much of its focus to the more holistic concept of problem solving, we don’t expect to ever stop teaching the tools and methods. Whether you’re looking for a comprehensive education as a lean six sigma black belt or master black belt, or you’re just looking to learn the tools you need, when you need them, you’ll find everything you’re looking for either on BMGI’s Training website or our Open Access website at www.BMGI.org, where you’ll find free and low cost web-based training, classroom curriculum, tools, templates, and the ability to interact with your peers at other companies.
For specific help designing a lean six sigma program, or for on-site training, consulting, or facilitation, call a BMGI expert today at +1 303-827-0010.
The Big Idea