Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Philippine Six Sigma Conference 2010

Mr. Amante Araneta Aguilar, Consultant, Supply Chain Management
Builiding a Culture of Continuous Improvement and
Quality excellence in Organizations
Many thanks to Digital Filipino for my delegate pass to The Philippine Six Sigma Conference 2010 held last Aug 4-5 at the Intercontinental Manila.  The conference ran a full two days of talking about strategic management.  It was two days of packed information on how to run your company strategically – and they already started showing the charts the first day…It made me dizzy…that was one of the early clues that they were really serious about what they are talking about…sheeesh.  

I applaud the Speakers in their brilliance of defining Six Sigma by pointing to what Six Sigma is not, and thus unconsciously breaking down the prejudices that I have.  A brilliant strategy, I think, for they clearly defined what Six Sigma is by pointing out the factors that aren’t.  In return, it swept my head of early pre-conceptions of what it is that would have misguided me in understanding fully the inputs of the conference. 

So let me start by saying, if you are steering a people-oriented organization, then Six Sigma may not be for you.  It circles around forming great leaders to make the great decisions.  I don’t think it can transform a bureaucratic organization to an open or learning system.  If you aim to improve your active-adaptive org, the managing consultants would say, other methodology might be more apt for you to achieve your goal.  So unless you find a way to effectively integrate Six Sigma in it, don’t even think about it.  Six Sigma is a top-down level management where all crucial decisions come the executive level. 

Before attending the conference, I did my little research and what I found raised my bar of curiosity.  As far as I know, Six Sigma never existed in my life until now. 

Six Sigma initially is a business system management strategy that effects change.  One of the things it makes you do is that it forces you to prioritize and makes you tap the best people and makes you recognize the best things they are doing.  According to the speakers, as a data driven management strat, you have to know your level of improvement before you can implement improvement itself.  

It is critical that you were able to diagnose your organization’s problem correctly, otherwise, you would be likened to a doctor giving his patients the wrong medicine.  No matter how good the solution is, if it is not the right solution, it will do your organization no good.  

A Six Sigma project fails because it is being implemented on projects that don’t need it. 

I remember a friend teaching me this and my four years in college earning that philosophy degree kicked right in…we call it, in not so layman’s term, Critical Thinking.  
The right answers don’t matter, what is critical, is that, you ask the right questions.
 Something the Speakers in the first day kept reiterating by talking about the problematic factors in corporations or organizations.  

They gave examples of where problems might initially lie and they mentioned corruption, inefficiency, and the unsophisticated production process amongst other things.  These factors, for example, often lead to over or under supply, errors in financial analysis, wrong investment decisions, communication glitches, even to the incomplete procurement of needed materials.  Some factors may not be quantitative, and that is, as they said, the tricky part. 

Things can be found when you start to look for them, but you will never find them in places they are not in...and how about you finding something you are not looking for?  It sometimes bump you in the forehead unexpectedly and makes you crash on your feet.  Sometimes, it’s sweet when that happens, it usually does during anniversaries, but anniversaries only happen once a year.  Enough said.

Statistics is also an integral part of Six Sigma...but not necessarily in its brutal raw appearance of calculated graphs.  Because Six Sigma pushes one to do data-driven decisions, one needs to understand and know the variables involved and their interpretations.  Believe me, looking at the graph and understanding its legends is easier and less time consuming than reading a 100-page report.

Mr. Jeff Meija made a good point in saying, If it’s something your common sense cannot solve, then you need Six Sigma. And mind you,  common sense can solve a lot of things. 

The structured methodology will require you to test your common sense first.  Stupidity is the primary error it will ask you to eliminate even before you consider implementing it.  There lies the biggest challenge; we humans are commonly stupid…

Ahh, that’s where the consultants come in.  *wink.

Mr. Dan Lachica, President, CEO of First Philec Solar Corporation
"Creating a Culture of Operational Excellence - The Six Sigma Way"
The Philippine Six Sigma Conference delegates


Rene Caparas said...

Thank you for posting, you add knowledge to our informed-judgement...

13thWiTCH said...

you welcome rene =)