Why do we “Reinvent the Wheel” in Lean Six Sigma Projects?

I took a tour of three different facilities 100 yards from each other. They each had their own Lean Six Sigma projects and plans.

Seeing a “Red Flag”

I took a tour of three different facilities in Juarez that were no more than 100 yards from each other. The facilities were all part of the same organization. These facilities were separate business units and they all had implemented their own “flavor” of CI (Continuous Improvement). This variation I saw in CI deployment methods was the red flag that led me to investigate another line of investigation to get to the potential root problem.

During my tour, I was particularly interested in the current Lean Six Sigma projects that each business unit was working on. What I found was a lot of redundancy in the LSS projects between facilities. There were many similar processes between each BU. These processes were experiencing the same problems, and each of the BU’s had their own individual Lean Six Sigma Projects to resolve the same problems. None of the CI teams knew that the other CI teams existed or that they were working on similar projects.

Lean Six Sigma Project

When little (or no) alignment exists

I’ve seen this in many organizations that I have visited in my career. The CI deployment is pushed to the site or BU level and there is little to no communication nor alignment between the BU’s. In an organization with similar processes between BU’s or sites, this can lead to a huge waste in resources. It also leads to different improvements implemented to resolve the same problem.

This is partly due to a CI deployment that was not well-planned, and, in many cases, starts because the initial deployment was not a corporate initiative. Many facilities start out Continuous Improvement at a facility level because that BU leader understood the value. After wins at the BU level, the wins become visible to the “C” level, and then the CI initiative gets picked up at a corporate level. The lack of understanding at the “C” level, of the organization part of the CI methodologies leads to a mandate that each facility implement using local sources to develop their own individual deployment. And this leads to it’s own variation which is outside the scope this article.

A Major Step to align CI Initiative

How do you start to align the CI initiative?: If you find yourself in the situation described above and you are not at the “C” level, you may find aligning BU’s difficult. There is one major step that you can initiate, and those in the “C” level will see the value in: implementing a central database for CI Project Data. If you are at the “C” level and you are starting the CI Deployment journey, then implementing a central database for CI Project Data is imperative.

When a CI project idea is developed, what should be your first thought? It should be: “have we solved this problem already?” A lack of a central repository for project information makes it very difficult to find that information, especially between BU’s that do not communicate. We like to use a system called “My Hawkeye.” We have worked with many of the Lean and Six Sigma Project Management Systems and have come to the consensus that “My Hawkeye” is the most effective solution, for a fraction of the cost of others.

A Turn Key System for Alignment

Watch this short YouTube video about the “My Hawkeye” PM system and judge for yourself. Let us help align your organizations CI initiative in your Lean Six Sigma Project Plan.