Get the foundation in place first
A while ago a client of asked how I was so successful at implementing change in organisations where other consultants had failed so many times. I told him the answer was simple, I’m not a consultant, I’m a coach and there is a world of difference in this small point. Consultants are interested in getting their deliverables and benefits realised, whereas I’m interested in the client getting the results that they want and it is from this perspective that everything should be approached. But there is a basic formula that needs to be followed in line with the DMAIC or PDCA process, which if neglected, will inevitably lead to failure to a greater or lesser degree.
Here it is; get your foundations in place FIRST. Get good management practices embedded. Implement standardised processes and ensure adherence to them. Manage your performance and get your quality nailed down. Hold daily production meetings in every team and tell your people exactly what is expected of them (they will really appreciate it).
In short, stabilise your operation. Get really, really good at the basics of operations management.
Then and only then start thinking about improvement using whichever methodology best fits you particular business. The good news is, during the stabilisation phase, if you’ve done it well, you’ll realise around 20% productivity and quality uplift straight away, just from standardisation.
Get the foundation in place first and your Lean Six Sigma efforts will soar!