Continuous Process Improvement = vague notion of improving everything we do forever DMAIC = Define Measure Analyze Improve Control Most often a “Define” step is added before the measure step since most organizations need a baseline to start the improvement effort. There are often times other steps that might include “recognize” and end with “Standardize and integrate”. Six Sigma divides the quality pie into comprehensive compartments, that form a holistic focus at all levels of the business. This is where top-level support is so crucial. The Champion is responsible for the success of the projects. The Champion provides the necessary resources and breaks down organizational barriers. It is typical for a large part of a Champion’s bonus to be tied to his or her success in achieving SS goals. At GE this has traditionally been 40%. Project leader is called a Black Belt. All BB candidates should have a history of accomplishment since employees who are selected for BB training are usually on the fast track. BB assignments usually last for two years and has eight to twelve projects. Projects are broken down into quarters and often times the people on the team will change from quarter to quarter. Project team members are called Green Belts and they do not spend all their time on projects. They receive training similar to that of BB’s but for less time. All “Belts” are considered Agents of Change and it is extremely important to get the right people in these roles. They like new ideas and generally are the leaders of the organization. In January of 1998, GE would not consider an employee for promotion to any management job without BB or GB training. There is also a Master Black Belt level. These are experienced BB’s who have worked on many projects. They are the ones who typically know about more advanced tools, the business, and have had leadership training and often times have teaching experience. A primary responsibility is mentoring new Black Belts.
Usually the CFO or an executive in Finance is directly involved in Six Sigma projects. The expectation is that a project will have at least a $175,000 financial impact. Each Black Belt has a financial impact of about $1M per year from the four to six projects per year he or she leads. Allied Signal CEO Larry Bossity reported that $1.5 Billion in estimated savings has already been achieved. GE started SS in 1995 under Jack Welch. They claimed net benefits by 1997. In 1998, they claimed $1.2 Billion in benefits and costs of $450 Million for a net benefit of $750 M. 1999 Annual Report claimed a net benefit of more than $2 Billion.