Six Sigma Silver Bullet … NOT

By Guest Blogger on August 13, 2016

I spend a lot of time talking to business leaders and owners about their companies and what they have in mind for the future.  It’s interesting to hear the diverse objectives and goals. 

What’s even more interesting is the number of leaders that are focused on the tools of Lean Six Sigma and not the transformation.  The actual number of companies that are truly implementing Six Sigma is truly small.  Actually, the number of companies that are doing Lean is small.  The old saying of "you can’t see the forest for the trees" is quite true.  We get a number of requests to provide 5S or VSM education.  To which we ask, why do you desire that?  There is always an answer, but rarely a question as to “why do you ask”.  These are tools that are used in a transformation.

While there may literally be a silver bullet, there is no Lean Six Sigma Silver Bullet tool.  It’s great to speak the language and even be able to use and apply a tool or two, but a tool or two will not resolve your dilemma or sustain anything that you gain.

Lean Six Sigma is a transformation.  On one side you have Sustain, and on the other side you have Repeatability and Reproducibility.  Some try to separate the two, but actually you can’t.  Think of it this way… Lean = profit and Six Sigma = profit margin.  It’s everyone’s objective to be profitable, but what do you want your profit margin to be?  You can’t separate them, and you can’t just implement a tool or two.

If you implement just one tool, you will not be able to sustain it.