Lean e Six Sigma

Steve Towers um guru da gestão dos processos publicou há uns tempos um artigo muito mal estruturado onde descrevia que o Lean e o Six Sigma conduzia à falencia das empresas.

Esse artigo pode ser acedido aqui http://www.towersassociates.com/Towers_Associates_IsSixSigmaWorking.html

Mais tarde continuou a insistir na ideia e no grupo de discussão BP Group no linkedin.com o seu associado John Corr publicou o seguinte post:

Does Lean Six Sigma for Services work any more?

I thought I’d start this debate with a quote from Michael George, the originator of Lean Six Sigma for Services. If he doesn’t know this topic, then who possibly could? In Michael’s recent book ‘Conquering Complexity in Your Business’ he writes "we often found that clients who restricted their efforts to improvement approaches such as Lean and/ or Six Sigma would hit a ceiling on profit generation, though process was significant, there was only so much they could accomplish through process improvement."

Now many of you will have enjoyed a great deal of success applying Lean and Six Sigma principles to service processes within your own firm. But maybe you’ve found that you too have hit a performance ceiling and that all of the so called ‘low hanging fruit’ has been picked. In these circumstances

I’ve focused on eliminating complexity as a way forward – the potential is there to be seized – at least a 15% productivity improvement delivered in 90 days. I’m one of life’s biggest sceptics – so I wouldn’t believe it myself except I’ve been there when these results have been delivered. Is it time to throw away your hard earned belts? Or have you found new techniques and approaches that take Lean Six Sigma for Services to a new level? So what’s worked for you?

Regards John. PS OK, possibly shameful self-promotion. Still, of you would like to learn more then download the our recent article on reducing operating costs through eliminating complexity at: http://www.cityprocessmanagement.com/Downloads/CPM_Increasing_Service_Process_Productivity.pdf

Or more simply: http://preview.tinyurl.com/6gr3xp

Porque considero que era necessário esclarecer um conjunto de coisas importantes, Antiamba respondeu o artigo que abaixo se transcreve no grupo de discussão do linked in:

I think it is a mistake to conclude that the Lean and Six sigma tools are outdated and do not lead to results that companies expect.

When initially Steve Towers published an article on another site where he tried to demonstrate that companies such as Motorola that had embraced the six sigma had disastrous results with regard to shares price, and therefore that was the proof this approach was obsolete, I think he forgot that the company's failure was related to the inability to launch products whose features that consumers wanted, particularly after RZR model. Thus we are talking about problems in product development. You can access the original Steve’s article here http://www.towersassociates.com/Towers_Associates_IsSixSigmaWorking.html

What is happening now is that it is necessary to find a new direction for bpm because people believe that bpm only means technology rather than analysis, redesign, implementation and improvement of business processes. On this matter there is an excellent article by Peter Finger on BPTrends.com called: Extreme Competition: BPM is Dead, Viva la BPM.

The causes of the lack of results due to bpm projects are usually related to:

  • Lack of business alignment, means that the project pursues goals that are not in line with the strategic plan.
  • Lack of project management and business processes council, then there is no organizational commitment to the project and the results that the company is committed to achieve.
  • Inappropriate method to solve the problems of business processes.

This is precisely where the problem lies. The method. Basically Lean and Six Sigma are suitable for manufacturing companies (ok, can also be adapted for services, see the example of Lean Office). Lean is an excellent tool to improve the production flow, contributing to the decrease of production time and waste reduction. I do not think it is suitable for the low hanging fruit, because no structured method is necessary to quick wins. On the contrary, it is a method that emphasizes heavily on incremental improvement, in small details and small changes, in sum of all the small gains the company achieved squeezing the process. Lean is for this purpose. It’s use in another context (creative development of new products) does not lead to any good result.

I think the issue is what is the best method for the problem to solve. See for example what happens with process mapping. How many times a process is understood using some boxes and some paper notes to provide improvement opportunities identification? Sometimes it is necessary to carry out the design using BPMN to understand all the relationships and conditions for running the process. This means that the fact BPMN is becoming a standard mapping tool does not mean it is the best choice; it may even be the reason for the problem.


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