Six Sigma in Government

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Paul Wolf 7 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #147321

    Victor S. Paola
    Participant

    Hi All – can anyone share their experience with introducing six sigma culture in government?

  • #147341

    Paul Wolf
    Participant

    Erie County New York (Buffalo), under County Executive Chris Collins implemented Six Sigma. I was not personally involved with the Erie County Six Sigma effort, but you can learn more about the projects worked on at http://wwww.erie.gov/exec/?reform-government/lean-six-sigma-initiat….

    Six Sigma was implemented in Erie County by Chris Collins a private business person who never held elected office before. Collins arrogant personality and disdain for working with the County legislature, left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths regarding Six Sigma. In fact Collins was not re-elected and I expect the new County Executive, will move away from continuing the program.

    Personally I think Lean, which I view somewhat as Six Sigma lite is a better fit for implementing change in government. Six Sigma’s statistical analysis, belts etc. are too complicated for a government non-profit generating operation.

    The Lean emphasis on eliminating process steps, eliminating waste, reducing cycle time etc. without all the heavy stat charts is a better fit in my opinion.

  • #147339

    Victor S. Paola
    Participant

    Thank you for sharing this, Paul. Very interesting – since the implementation was tied to an elected official, I agree with your thought that the program will fizzle moving forward. I wonder if the program was started at a grassroots level by employees, and allowed to grow more organically, if it would have had greater staying power. Thanks again!

  • #147335

    Robert Eckhardt
    Participant

    Can someone share with me how Six Sigma works outside manufacturing or other industrial processes? I understand how and why it is used to reduce costly errors in industrial process but how are similar metrics applied in a typical government environment?

  • #147333

    Jim Bunch
    Participant

    Robert: I have the same question. It seems like a square peg in search of a round hole.

    JAB

  • #147331

    Paul Wolf
    Participant

    While the focus of Six Sigma in a manufacturing setting is on reducing errors, the methodology can be used in an office/government setting.

    Government programs certainly produce their share of errors which often show up as delays in obtaining approvals or the rejection of permits/applications due to errors. I utilized Six Sigma to analyze why it took several months to turn over a vacant apartment in a public housing program. Going into the analysis I and others assumed the delay was primarily caused by the length of time it took to paint & repair apartments. By undertaking the Six Sigma steps of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve & Control, we determined that our real problem was the delay in certifying tenant applications as required by HUD.

    As I stated in a previous reply, I do not like the statistical aspect of Six Sigma and some of the charts utilized, as they confuse and intimidate many people. Lean, which is sort of Six Sigma lite, in my opinion is a better approach for an office/government setting.

    Below are some links to government agencies that have utilized Lean/Six Sigma

    http://www.businessofgovernment.org/sites/default/files/MaleyeffReport.pdf

    http://www.evolvingexcellence.com/blog/2007/04/lean_government.html

    http://www.epa.gov/lean/government/starterkit/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_Government

  • #147329

    Victor S. Paola
    Participant

    Thank you for sharing the oft overlooked aspect of managing change in those not directly involved in the initiatives!

  • #147327

    Robert Eckhardt
    Participant

    Thanks

  • #147325

    Victor S. Paola
    Participant

    Good question, Jim & Robert: I’ll defer to those who have implemented Six Sixma in Gov’t; however, from my perspective, it is simply one of many process improvement methodologies that seek to “systemize”projects in a way that minimizes the chances of missing opportunities. The fact that it was initially developed for manufacturing environments doesn’t necessarily limit its use in other sectors. It seems that a lot of its strength comes from the teams that share the same skills and use the same language when tackling projects. Still, I think another discussion post is warranted – “What is the best business process improvement methodology for government”? Stay tuned for that one! Thanks for posting, gentlemen.

  • #147323

    Victor S. Paola
    Participant

    Thanks for the links, Paul!

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