Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Six Sigma to the Rescue?

I just completed six months with Villanova's online Six Sigma Certificate Program. To be specific, the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certificate program. I must say that it is a great set of courses that require more than a casual effort to complete. The combination of online virtual classroom lectures, CDs with hours and hours of presentations from industry leaders and the required project work, provides a great learning opportunity for those of us who are interested in that sort of thing.

This of course begs the question why? What does this have to do with business and technology integration? Six Sigma has been around for several decades and has primarily been focused on the manufacuturing industry, which limits its application for most of us who have never worked on a production line. However, the "Lean" focus is really about expanding the use of Six Sigma tools beyond the realm of manufacturing to the business service environment. So my plans over the next few months is to explore this idea of using Six Sigma to solve business problems, which includes technology problems since technology is a service to the business.

I welcome input for areas to explore, but my recent experiences I believe will provide more than enough foder for comment for the next few months.

For now, I will leave you with the a few basic points relative to Lean Six Sigma. First, the primary focus is on reducing waste in your existing processes. Waste can be recognized in many shapes and forms. Basically, if something is happening in your process that is not adding value to the service you are providing then there is a potential for waste... and therefor there is a potential to eliminate or drastically reduce it, and by default improve business processes and the bottom line.

Secondly, what do I mean be adding value...? Very simple... to add value to your service you must physically change something in a way that the customer is willing to pay for and it must be done right the first time, no rework allowed. That is the only way to add value.

So I will leave on that note for now. More to come soon.

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