Six Sigma–The 3 Levels of the Breakthrough Strategy

In the first six chapters of their book Six Sigma:  The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations, the authors Mikel Harry, Ph.D., and Richard Schroeder explain the fundamentals of Six Sigma.   In chapter 7, they reveal the “meat” of the book, which is what the Six Sigma breakthrough strategy actually entails.

In this post and the next, I introduce the levels and the stages of the breakthrough strategy implementing Six Sigma.  However, before explaining the eight stages of the strategy, in this post I would like to explain the three levels of implementing the strategy according to the authors of this book.

Here are the three levels, how they are applied within an organization, what they are used for, who ends up implementing them, and how long the implementation period can take on a typical basis.   These three levels need to be coordinated within an organization so that they are smoothly meshed gears.

1)  Business Level–applying the Six Sigma Breakthrough Strategy in a methodical and disciplined way throughout the corporation.   Used to improve market share, increase profitability, and ensure long-term viability.   A Deployment Champion can take 3-5 years to implement.

2)  Operations Level–applying the Six Sigma Breakthrough Strategy through projects which are correctly defined and executed, and incorporating the results of these projects into running the day-to-day business of the corporation (the focus is more tactical as opposed to the strategic focus in the Business Level).   Used to improve yield, eliminate “hidden factories” (rework and/or scrap of units found to have defects), and reduce labor and material costs.   A Project Champion can take 12-18 months to implement.

3)  Process level–applying the Six Sigma Breakthrough Strategy to individual processes that make up the day-to-day operations the corporation.   Used to reduce defects, variation, and to improve process capability in order to improve profitability and customer satisfaction.   A Black Belt can take 6-8 weeks to implement.

The next post shows the eight stages of implementation of the Breakthrough Strategy.


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