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Part 3 of our series on the 7 Common Mistakes Made with Lean or Six Sigma Initiatives. Click the link to see the rest of the list.

Whether it is a Six Sigma project to define optimal setpoints for a process or a 5S project to organize a workplace, doing this work where no systems exist to ensure ANY practice is consistently performed across all workers in the area, is futile and a guaranteed waste of resources.

The kicker here is that to get stability and consistency across shifts and through time does not require either the Lean or Six Sigma tool kits. It simply requires standard work procedures, a daily review structure to maintain and improve the standard work, and sound management to oversee it all.

I remember examining a Six Sigma project several weeks into its experiment to determine the optimum set points for a complex process. When looking at the pre-trial data I could easily identify each shift change. Shift change was clearly visible because each of the four operators that ran the process around the clock had their own way of running it. What hope do you suppose this organization had that after an extensive and expensive experiment to determine the optimum settings at which to run the process, each operator would actually run it that way?

If your organization has failed to integrate continuous improvement into your line organization remember, it is never too late to integrate and reap the benefits!

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