Lean Six Sigma Leads Xerox
he origin of Xerox Corp.’s lean Six Sigma program can be traced
SINCE 2003, back to the company’s initial “leadership through quality” initia-
XEROX HAS tive in the early ’80s. Improvement processes, tools and tech-
niques were deployed across the corporation and centered on improving
FOCUSED ON business processes to create higher levels of customer satisfaction, quality
INTEGRATING As improvement processes evolved through the ’80s and ’90s, Xerox
LEAN SIX SIGMA explored various approaches to improving its business results. In the late
’90s, Six Sigma and lean concepts were adopted locally by Xerox manu-
CORPORATEWIDE. facturing and supply chain opera-
tions. While these efforts improved
the overall efficiency and effective-
ness of specific processes, they were
very focused and limited in scope.
In mid-2002, Xerox leaders
By Arthur Fornari, decided to integrate lean and Six
Sigma across the corporation by
Xerox Lean Six
committing the resources required
Sigma, and George to enable a robust deployment.
They agreed to identify projects
Maszle, Xerox Lean based on value creation and eco-
nomic profit impact and engage
Six Sigma and every function and value chain. Key
deployment management positions
Business Support were staffed in every major organi-
zation, full-time Black Belt (BB)
candidates were identified based
on the individuals’ performance
records and leadership potential,
Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO,
and intense training began in visits with Teamwork Day partici-
January 2003. pants. Xerox’s annual Teamwork
Since then, Xerox Lean Six Day celebrates the accomplish-
Sigma, as it is called, has gained ments of teams in a science fair
increasing momentum. More than atmosphere.
400 BBs have been trained, more
than 700 high business impact projects have been executed, and signifi-
cant financial benefits have been delivered. Additionally, 2,000 leaders
have participated in two-day workshops, another 2,500 employees are in
some phase of the Green Belt (GB) certification process, and more than
10,000 employees have been through Yellow Belt (YB) awareness training.
Leaders at all levels are working to integrate lean and Six Sigma
principles into all business processes, including product design and
development, integrated supply chain, marketing and sales, customer
service, infrastructure, governance and strategy deployment. Plans are
S I X S I G M A F O R U M M A G A Z I N E I A U G U S T 2 0 0 4 I 11
Lean Six Sigma Leads Xerox
in place to continue this momentum into 2005 to assignment to the next available BB. The BB uses
drive even higher levels of customer value and the define, measure, analyze, improve and con-
financial benefits across Xerox. trol (DMAIC) improvement process or one of the
design for lean Six Sigma processes to identify
Selecting Xerox Lean Six Sigma Projects and deploy the best solution for the defined busi-
The management teams identify Xerox Lean Six Lean Six Sigma projects at Xerox address every leg
Sigma projects based on customer experience of the value lever tree (see Figure 2), and the results
improvement opportunities, alignment of strategic of these projects directly support the Xerox business
plans, ability to close business gaps and key areas for goals.
process improvement. As shown in Figure 1, Xerox
views the lean Six Sigma process in two distinctly dif- Management Stirs Up Lean Six Sigma Success
1. The first phase focuses on project selection and Dedicated and committed leaders have been critical
prioritization. Potential projects are assessed to the success of lean Six Sigma at Xerox. The world-
based on their potential business impact and esti- wide deployment was the direct result of Xerox chair-
mated effort. The business unit deployment man- man and CEO Anne Mulcahy, who believed in the
ager works with the leadership team to identify approach and asked her leadership team, “Is it time
the next best opportunity based on various busi- Xerox got serious about deploying Six Sigma world-
ness factors. To ensure alignment with Xerox wide?”
goals, the leader of the operation is held account- After conducting preliminary presentations address-
able for the projects selected. ing that question, the team participated in a leader-
2. Once the project is selected and the appropriate ship workshop to better understand the concepts,
sponsor confirmed, the project is queued up for experience the approach and agree on a recommend-
Figure 1. Lean Six Sigma Processes at Xerox
• Customer issues and opportunities.
• Business strategy.
• Goals and objectives.
candidates Prioritized by Assign project Sponsor Results are
management to belt and inspects captured and
team. sponsor. progress. sustained.
Structured approach to project selection.
DMAIC is the project management framework.
Low Medium High
Define Measure Analyze Improve Control
Define project purpose and scope.
inspects Measure current per formance.
deliverables and Analyze causes and confirm with data.
Improve by removing variation and nonvalue added activities.
Effort each phase.
Control gains by standardizing.
Low Medium High
12 I A U G U S T 2 0 0 4 I W W W . A S Q . O R G
Lean Six Sigma Leads Xerox
ed deployment recipe. The workshop enabled the
decisions required to aggressively launch Xerox Lean
Six Sigma across all organizations worldwide in 2003.
Lean Six Sigma Communication Channels
Starting with Mulcahy, Xerox Lean Six Sigma is a
key part of nearly every employee communication. It
is communicated as a key enabler in the quest to
improve Xerox. During the first leadership workshop,
Mulcahy stated, “What I worry most about is how to
Several of the showcased projects at Teamwork Day
in June 2003 involved lean Six Sigma.
Figure 2. Xerox’s Value Lever Tree
Project goals: Volume
Expenses Cost of
Projects support all value levers and customer facing processes.
Assets Operating Fixed cost
Net operating Sales, manufacturing
profit after tax administrative
and general General and
profit is the Income tax
generated Tax rate
relative to all Receivables
Total assets Inventory
capital costs Invested Land, building
from the capital and equipment
Capital Other assets
Weight average Current
cost of capital liabilities
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Lean Six Sigma Leads Xerox
return Xerox to greatness. Lean Six Sigma is not the people providing value to the customer, as defined by
only answer, but it’s a significant part of the equation. the voice of the customer, leading to improved busi-
Lean Six Sigma is incredibly different.” ness results. The cycle is never-ending because contin-
In addition to having leaders communicate via uous improvement is never-ending. The tools and
speeches, meetings and newsletters, Xerox established processes for sustaining this perpetual, customer cen-
an extensive intranet site that provides reference tric cycle are contained within each of the four com-
information, deployment details, project successes ponents that surround the customer focus circle. They
and answers to frequently asked questions. Formal include the performance excellence process, the
curriculum also plays a key role in communicating DMAIC improvement process, market trends and
Xerox Lean Six Sigma to all employees. benchmarking, and behaviors and leadership.
To supplement the standard BB and GB courses, an The performance excellence process supports the
online YB awareness program was launched in 2003. It alignment of strategies and performance objectives,
is accessible to all employees and provides a basic while the DMAIC improvement process provides the
understanding of core processes, tools and expecta- basic principles and tools for process improvement.
tions. Benchmarking and market trends provide the refer-
Customer focus is at the heart of Xerox Lean Six ence points and best practices for setting aggressive
Sigma (see Figure 3). The outer ring represents Xerox performance targets and finding better ways to
From the Top: Xerox’s Leadership Commitment
By A. Blanton Godfrey, editor
Recently I interviewed the authors actually cover in the two-day training customer experience with Xerox.
of this article, both key members of you mention?
the Xerox executive team, about SSFM: You mentioned 10,000
their involvement in Six Sigma. Art Xerox: In the first four hours, sen- Yellow Belts (YBs) have been
Fornari and George Maszle expand- ior leaders receive an introduction to through awareness training. What
ed on their company’s implementa- Xerox Lean Six Sigma and the bene- does that consist of?
tion of the methodology and its inte- fits of lean and Six Sigma. Then we
gration with lean principles. do an eight-hour simulation working Xerox: The YB training is a 16-
with customers called “Sigma hour online training experience. It
Six Sigma Forum Magazine Station” in which the trainees process comprises the first three modules of
(SSFM): What are the key differ- advertising requests. When they our Green Belt (GB) training. We
ences in today’s Six Sigma at Xerox start it takes more than 20 minutes have partnered with MoreSteam for
and the well-known approach to to book a request. After two or three this training.1 We have been using
business management you had iterations they can do it in 30 to 45 this approach for four years and
before, Xerox’s leadership through seconds. This simulation gives them offer the training in five languages.
quality? a way to experience the real world
and use the tools of lean and Six SSFM: Are all Black Belts (BBs)
Xerox: The primary differences in Sigma. This really hits home since it trained in design for Six Sigma
our approach now are dedicated is a nonmanufacturing example. (DFSS) as well as in design, meas-
resources, pinpointed projects We are finding the leadership by ure, analyze, improve and control
aligned with strategic goals, an eco- senior management is making all (DMAIC)?
nomic profit, bottom-line focus and the difference. Before, we never
a standard set of methods and made a business out of business Xerox: No, all BBs are trained in
processes. improvement. People are now DMAIC, and 10% are also trained in
accountable for the economic bene- design for lean Six Sigma (the
SSFM: What training do the sen- fits of their projects. We are also define, measure, explore, develop
ior leaders receive? What do you focusing more than before on the and implement process). We have
14 I A U G U S T 2 0 0 4 I W W W . A S Q . O R G
Lean Six Sigma Leads Xerox
improve processes. The behaviors and lead- Figure 3. Xerox Lean Six Sigma Framework
ership component is critical in supporting
all components of the framework. Customer
Management processes, at all levels, are e
being modified to inspect project progress direction
and ensure projects focus on the key busi- Performance
ness gaps and strategies critical to the busi- Setting excellence
ness success of each operation. From a serv- results
ices and solutions perspective, many cus-
tomer offerings are now based on sound Customer
X er ox p
lean Six Sigma principles. Additionally, and benchmarking
Improve value Measure
many of the projects completed or in Analyze
process address key customer issues or pain DMAIC
points. Many other projects provide oppor- Behaviors and
tunities to partner with customers and help
them achieve higher levels of performance. es
Helping customers find better ways to do B us
separate courses for design (R&D) SSFM: What do you think is Xerox: Getting managers to give
and transactional DFSS. These unique about Xerox’s approach? If up their best people, getting proj-
courses are two-week add-ons to someone came to study you now, ects aligned with business needs,
the basic five-week BB course. what would they learn? understanding our gaps and oppor-
tunities for project selection and try-
SSFM: General Electric (GE), Xerox: We believe we have made ing to break these projects down
Motorola, Honeywell, 3M, Samsung an excellent integration of Six Sigma into smaller bites than world
and others have been frequently and lean. We have used economic hunger.
cited as the creators of today’s Six profit for project selection and built
Sigma. Is your approach more simi- a value based solid infrastructure. SSFM: What advice do you have
lar to one of these companies than We are using Six Sigma and lean to for other companies that have been
the others? develop our people and train them leaders in their fields, true quality
for future leadership positions. We leaders, and are now considering
Xerox: No, we are not similar to expect to pick our future leaders in Six Sigma?
GE, and we believe Honeywell all aspects of the business from
keeps lean and Six Sigma separate. people trained as BBs or at least as Xerox: You have to have a rea-
We believe we are more like GBs. Most of our people stay son—a convincing argument from
Caterpillar and ITT. We see four evo- two years as a BB. To be certified the top. A burning platform like
lutions of Six Sigma: they must complete two or three Caterpillar had helps. We had made
1. Motorola was the creator. projects, create an additional a significant turnaround at Xerox;
2. GE brought the philosophy of $500,000 in economic profit and we knew we could be a very good
dedicated resources and a have leadership endorsement. company. But with Six Sigma we
strong business focus. thought we could be outstanding—
3. ITT added a value based SSFM: What has been most diffi- we could truly go from good to great.
approach. cult in the past 18 months of imple-
4. Caterpillar has done a good inte- mentation? Reference
gration of lean and Six Sigma. 1. See www.moresteam.com.
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