Six Sigma works very well when you’re operating in the manufacturing environment, as it was designed to be a viable tool in that field in the first place. Things tend to get more complicated – to the point of being messy – when you move into the transactional environment however, where you need to rely on a completely different approach from the ground up.
Don’t worry though – Six Sigma can still work perfectly well in the transactional environment, but you have to adjust your approach accordingly. There are various intricate details that you’ll want to observe, starting from the data collection practices used in your organization. As long as you put some thought into the process and already have a strong intuition for proper Six Sigma practices, you should be able to see great results from your efforts.
How Are You Collecting Data?
Six Sigma relies heavily on having access to lots of data related to your current operations. This can be a greater challenge in the transactional environment though, where data collection tends to be less organized as a whole. It mostly boils down to where the data is being collected from, and how it’s aggregated.
If you rely on your workers to report the current status of their duties, this can quickly lead to major issues, especially when it comes to data related to performance measurements. You can’t expect to get an adequate overview of how things are running if everyone reports their own progress.
Modern technology can be quite helpful in overcoming this, as you’ll find a good number of solutions designed to help you collect and organize data. Not only that, but various tools on the market can make that data more accessible for you as well, allowing you to easily search through everything you’ve gathered to find the relevant points.
Managing Waste More Efficiently
Waste is a very negative word when it comes to Six Sigma, and learning to avoid it is in the foundation of every proper Six Sigma expert’s knowledge. There are many sources of waste in the transactional environment that you’ll need to be aware of, and it’s not just about data collection in this case. Things like communication can be very problematic in these environments, and can lead to the generation of significant volumes of waste.
If your departments have to spend a lot of time back and forward on simple topics that should normally be resolved easily, you already have a major source of waste. On the other hand, some companies try to overcome this problem by rushing the communication of their workers. As you’re probably guessing, this is not any better as it can still lead to waste, just in a different area of your operations.
Wasted effort is actually not an uncommon problem when you’re dealing in the transactional environment, and it’s one of the most critical points to address when applying the Six Sigma methodology to this area. And as long as you have good systems in place for collecting and aggregating data as we described above, you should be able to avoid that to a great degree.
Six Sigma can work very well in the transactional environment, despite being intended for other fields of work originally. There is a lot to gain from properly applying Six Sigma practices to this area, but you also have to be careful to ensure that you’re not creating waste in other, unexpected places. As long as you take good care of the data collection and retention systems in use in your organization, you should be able to easily avoid any trouble.