Integrating Lean Six Sigma Principles in an Established Corporate Structure
Fighting against an established corporate structure can be an uphill battle in many cases, even when your goal is to improve the overall situation of the company. It can sometimes take serious convincing to get the message across and ensure that everyone is on the same page. And even then, you might still face resistance in some corners of the company, which can make things sufficiently difficult for you to get you at least annoyed.
And when it comes to something like Lean Six Sigma, you should often prepare yourself for an even more challenging battle. Because some of the ideas behind these methodologies are too unusual for people who are used to doing things their own way and haven’t seen a need to change that in decades.
Mapping the Current System
You should start by getting a good overview of how things are currently set up. This might take a while, especially in a larger organization. But it’s an important first step that will give you some much-needed clarity for how you’re going to progress afterwards. There might be some relationships in the organization that you’re not aware of because they are not immediately obvious. Bringing those to the surface with the help of a proper mapping is going to make a huge difference.
You will also need to figure out where any productivity bottlenecks might be so that you can start addressing them first thing when implementing Lean Six Sigma within the organization. There are some common places to investigate for this, and if you’ve done your homework with the mapping as we described above, you should already have some hints regarding possible performance chokepoints. Trust your intuition and start with these – but if you come across anything else along the way, make sure to follow those leads as well.
A Long-term Approach
Whatever you do, your solution has to work in the long run. Implementing Lean Six Sigma practices in an organization is not a one-time action that you can put to rest after it’s completed once. It’s something that requires continuous attention and you should therefore be prepared to provide that attention from the very beginning. Structure your approach in a way that allows you to retain control in the future, and pay attention to any changes that might impact your implementation of Lean Six Sigma into the organization.
Sorting Out Employee Concerns
As we said earlier, it’s very likely that people across various levels of the organization are going to have concerns regarding what you’re doing, and will probably be quick to voice them as well. You have to anticipate that and prepare yourself for it adequately. Try to figure out which issues may get brought up first, and prepare some responses for those.
And when someone comes to you with something that you didn’t plan for, make sure to take something useful out of that conversation, and prepare yourself better for responding to this type of question in the future. With time, you should be able to iron out any problems that people in the organization might have with your integration of Lean Six Sigma practices in their work.
And all of this brings us to our final, but just as important point. As we mentioned above, this is something you’ll need to maintain over the long term, and you’ll have to put serious effort into ensuring that people stay on the same page. That’s part of the reason why continuous improvement is so heavily ingrained into Lean Six Sigma in the first place.
Adopting these principles correctly is going to take some time, but once you’ve done it, it will keep getting easier and easier to improve the state of your organization, and you’ll constantly recognize new opportunities for that as you’re moving through your respective market as well. It will take a while until you’ve reached proper adoption levels across the whole organization, but once you’re there, you’ll realize that all the effort you’ve put into it was well worth it. And from then, it won’t take that much to keep the company moving forward and to ensure that it stays relevant to the current market.