Motorola: "Understand the Why" (Transcript) Six Sigma can be perceived as slow and arduous, says Tom Goodwin, Director of Lean Six Sigma at Motorola Mobile Devices, but it doesn’t need to be. The key, is understanding the "why". In this PEX Network interview, Goodwin shares his tips for rolling out Six Sigma across an organization.PEX Network: Today we’d like to get a bit of a snapshot of what you’ll be talking aboutand discuss some of the key themes that will be coming up at the conference in June. Tostart, Motorola obviously have a renowned history in Six Sigma. Tom, how has the focusof your process improvement changed over the past five years?Tom Goodwin: We have, and it’s a great benefit having been there in the forefront indeveloping it and making it work. We’ve gone through different phases and even areinvention. About five years ago, coincidentally, we went through to put more emphasison digitizing our solutions in making sure they stayed safe. So that was leveraging ourcomputer systems and controls and tools to remove the old habits, and the only way wecould do stuff was to do it systematically. So we went through that and it’s been veryeffective. In that reinvention period we also tried to reinvigorate the campaign mode and,from that, we’ve done such a great job of re-stoking the fires, if you will, that now it is justrolling without that absolute top-down driven push forward. People are doing it becausethey know it works, they’ve seen it work, and it’s just part of how we do things.PEX Network: How do you keep people in your organization enthusiastic aboutimprovement when it starts to fall down the priority list?Tom Goodwin: I think in today’s times things are certainly very challenging. Everyone’sgone through their headcount reductions and there’re simply less people doing moreactivity, and I think that’s what keeps thing going. I think that’s what the emphasis onLean is. Now that we can’t do the things the way we used to before, we can’t keepworking harder. That’s just not an option. So how do we work smarter? By identifyingvalue-add, looking to reduce errors that consume time to go back and re-work, so reallypeople are enthused. There’s a way, I’ll call it even simply a quality of life and quality ofthe business, and we’re all out to be a successful company and everyone’s verymotivated to get through these times. I think those two things together keep peopleenthralled and it keeps rolling.PEX Network: In your view, is this transferable to organizations without Motorola’s depthand range in Six Sigma, or do you think that they’ll struggle with this?Tom Goodwin: I think it depends. I think certainly having the culture there helps a greatdeal but I don’t think it’s an absolute necessity. I think you have to start it slow, showyour successes, prove that it works and then use it when it’s appropriate. I thinksometimes people get a little over zealous and they try to apply it in all places and I thinkthat can be a downfall. So I think as long as it’s a very measured and deliberateapproach with keeping things simple and keeping to the true voice of the customer. The
reason we’re here is to do things and deliver for our customers, and deliver for ourstakeholders. I think it can be transferable.PEX Network: Some really great tips there. What would you call your biggest personalsuccess in Lean Six Sigma since working at Motorola?Tom Goodwin: I guess for my personal success I would say we were at a realcrossroads when our company went through our public separation in January and therewas a lot of work leading up to that and a lot of discussions : do we still need this, is thisstill viable, do people want this? And the answer, resolutely, under what we call nowMotorola Mobility was, yes we do! And I was able to keep the program running; ourenrolment in it and tool usage has been constant among just a sea of change. So Ipersonally am very proud that we’ve kept the program going and that the interest is stillvery high.PEX Network: What’s the biggest business success that you’ve seen in Six Sigma andMotorola since working there, looking at the wider business?Tom Goodwin: I think it’s in the pure number of applications we’ve had. Its success, Ithink, is the sheer number of successes that we’ve had. We’ve had entire facilities, forinstance, in our Brazil and China sites that have taken on Lean projects at a facility level,where there’ve just been hundreds of small and yet very powerful things that have goneon. We have areas in design for Six Sigma, areas in Lean, areas in transactional processimprovement, and all those, cumulatively, I think, speak to the success we’ve had herewith the program.PEX Network: You’ve recently gone through a major organizational change at Motorola.You’re going to be speaking at our Telecoms and Utilities Conference about how toleverage change for transformation. So, Tom, could you give us a brief insight into howand what you’re doing to facilitate a smooth change within Lean Six Sigma?Tom Goodwin: I think the key, and I touched on it a little bit earlier, is be careful not tooversell it. I think sometimes people see it as a super power or trying to do things thatare just too large and I think that’s where it falls down and fails. I would say setexpectations appropriately, talk about what’s really at heart, what problems are we reallytrying to solve and I think you’ll quickly get there’s common agreement that we need todo things faster and we need to do things with more accuracy, we need to understandwhat our customers are asking for. So you scope your projects, pick your efforts thatalign to the biggest business needs, and then find your people that truly see this as away to learn more for themselves. If you marry those things, then I think that brings youthrough these times like this.PEX Network: In summary, start slow in small scale and build it up across theorganization?Tom Goodwin: Absolutely. And there are some high profiles wins. They are there, andwhen you see them, celebrate them and communicate them.
PEX Network: Finally, what would be your top five or top three tips to any organizationusing Lean Six Sigma, if they were using it, a few changes to avert common stumblingblocks?Tom Goodwin: I think almost immediately of change control, understanding what’s thewhy. Why are we doing this? Why is it relevant? How can it help our business? So getout there with some very good change management out front. Stick to the tools; followthe process without being bureaucratic. I think sometimes Six Sigma can be perceivedas something that’s slow and arduous and it doesn’t have to be. What problems are wetrying to solve, what’s giving us the confidence we’re doing the right things? I think thatlooking at the tools with that balanced judgment of what’s appropriate and what’s neededis there.And I think, finally, just following through and celebrating it, recognizing when peoplehave successes and then tell people after the fact, well, here’s how we got there, theseare the things we did to get there without the heavy jargon and bureaucracy thatsometimes can come along with it. I think that would be the immediate things that popinto my head.PEX Network: Now just to finish off, which of the elements of the program are youlooking forward to most at the event, looking at the schedule?Tom Goodwin: I love to see what other people are doing. I love to see the presentationswith the other companies, to get ideas from them, so get an understanding of the best inclass ideas that are going to come across. And I think that networking is always verypositive. I like the interactive nature of your conferences and the ability for real timeproblem solving with the people that are there. They’re always very interesting to meetwith.Listen to the original podcast here.IQPCPlease note that we do all we can to ensure accuracy within the translation to word ofaudio interviews but that errors may still understandably occur in some cases. If youbelieve that a serious inaccuracy has been made within the text, please contact +44 (0)207 368 9425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.About PEX Network I invite you to join as a member of the PEX Network Group http://tinyurl.com/3hwakem, you will have access to Key Leaders Globally, Events, Webinars, Presentations, Articles, Case Studies, Blog Discussions, White Papers, and Tools and Templates. To access this free content please take 2 minutes for a 1 time FREE registration at http://tiny.cc/tpkd0PEX Network, a division of IQPC, facilitates access to a wealth of relevant content forProcess Excellence, Lean, and Six Sigma practitioners. Further enhanced with an onlinecommunity of your peers, we will provide you with the tools and resources to help youperform more effective and efficiently, while enhancing the quality operations within yourorganization. As our industry becomes more and more dependent on the Web forinformation, PEXNetwork.com has been developed to provide Six Sigma professionals
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