Top level management commitment and stakeholder involvement - Six sigma involves top level management commitment as well as stakeholder involvement. Let us go into detail both these concepts.
Top level management commitment - The launch of Six Sigma in any company is the strategic management decision and has to be initiated by the top level management. All the elements of the framework as well as the formalised improvement strategy require top level management commitment for the successful execution. If there is no strong commitment on the part of the top level management then the training program and the project team activities are rarely successful. Though not directly active in the day-to-day improvement of projects, the role of the top level management as leaders, the project sponsors and the advocates are crucial. Pragmatic management techniques will help the top management of the organisation to commit and drive the initiative for many years.
There are many ways for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to manifest the commitment. Six Sigma is implemented in organisations in the following way:
First, the vision and the long-term goal or short-term goal for Six Sigma is set by the CEO directly.
Second, the CEO reserves appropriate resources to implement Six Sigma programs like training schemes, project team activities and measurement system.
Third, the CEO regularly checks the progress of the Six Sigma program to determine if there are any problems which may hinder the success. During this process, the CEO should review the Six Sigma reports and also make comments on the progress of the Six Sigma.
Fourth, a Six Sigma presentation is held regularly at least twice a year where the results of the project team are given and the good results are rewarded financially.
Finally, a Champion Day is held regularly may be once in every other month where the Champions like the senior managers are trained by the invited speakers. The speakers will usually discuss the progress of the progress of Six Sigma with the Champions.
Stakeholder involvement - The stakeholder involvement refers to the involvement of the employees, the suppliers, the customers, the owners and even the society who will be involved in the improvement methodology of the Six Sigma for the company. Just the commitment of the top management is not enough to meet the goals set for improvements in the process performance. It is also not sufficient to finish the improvement projects of the Six Sigma initiative. The company will require active support and also direct involvement from the stakeholders.
The employees in the company usually constitute the most important group of the stakeholders. They carry out the majority of the improvement projects and should be actively involved. The Six Sigma management is built to make sure that this kind of involvement through the various practices, like the training courses, the project team activities and the evaluation of process performance. The suppliers will have to be involved in the Six Sigma initiative.
The Six Sigma Company will usually encourage its key suppliers to have their own Six Sigma programs. To support the suppliers, the Six Sigma companies will have the suppliers share the performance data for the products being purchased and also to offer their participation at the in-house training courses in Six Sigma. Also, the Six Sigma companies will help the small suppliers financially to pursue Six Sigma programs by inviting them to share the experiences together in the report sessions of the project team activities. The reason for this kind of involvement is to have the variation in the suppliers' products being transferred to your organisation's processes so that most of the process improvement in the projects is carried out on the suppliers' processes which would result in the improvement of the performance.
In a Six Sigma initiative, the customers play a vital role. Six Sigma helps to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction. The customer is involved in the particular activities like recognising the Critical-To-Customer (CTC) characteristics of the products and the processes. The CTC is a subset of the Critical-To-Quality from the point of view of the customers. Having recognised the CTC requirements, the customers will be asked to mention the required value of the characteristic that is the target value and the definition of the defect for the characteristic or for the specification limits. This important information can be utilised in Six Sigma as a basis for measuring the performance of the processes. In particular, the R&D part of the company will know the CTC requirements and will also listen to the Voice Of Customers (VOC) in order to reflect the VOC required in developing the new products.