Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Operational Excellence doesn’t have to be an Either-Or Decision

Six Sigma vs. Lean; Shingo Prize vs. Malcolm Baldrige

Operational excellence programs are not an island among themselvesLean, Six Sigma, and other methodologies and programs are great, but none of them solve all the problems all organizations experience. As an example, Lean doesn’t solve difficult scientific problems with complex interactions. I am a Lean practitioner and certified Six Sigma Black Belt and have used both of them to solve difficult problems, but I don’t wedge my experience with either into every situation or issue I encounter.

Possibly organizations could be better served by the technical community if instead of focusing on a single cookie cutter strategy for improvement for the entire enterprise, they used the one(s) or a blend that best matched their needs, current conditions, and vision for the future. All environments, cultures, and challenges are unique, why should we expect a “one size fits all” program to be the silver bullet?