Embedded Six Sigma Experts Vs. Separate Six Sigma Organizations

Updated on January 11, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Introduction

You've decided to roll out Six Sigma across your organization. How do you deploy your Six Sigma experts? What are the advantages of embedded Six Sigma experts in each department compared to separate Six Sigma organizations within the company?

Should your six sigma experts be embedded within your different functional groups or exist as a separate, stand alone department?
Should your six sigma experts be embedded within your different functional groups or exist as a separate, stand alone department? | Source

Separate Six Sigma Organizations

A separate or stand-alone six sigma organization can be part of the quality department or a dedicated core of six sigma experts. When a company has a separate Six Sigma organization within the company, they work on whichever projects and at whatever locations they are assigned.

Companies that set up Six Sigma experts within their own organization garner a number of benefits from this structure as well as take on a few risks.

Advantages of Separate Six Sigma Organizations

  • Each Six Sigma expert gains a breadth of experience. Their experience spans multiple product lines and functional areas. This diverse experience creates a cross-pollination of ideas that can lead to significant breakthroughs.
  • A small set of Six Sigma Black Belts can service a very large number of projects or products.
  • Six Sigma experts can devote themselves to training others, completing advanced training themselves and honing skills.
  • Six Sigma experts within a separate organization naturally bring lessons learned from other departments, sites and projects to the next project - without violating company proprietary information agreements.
  • It is easier to bring in a Six Sigma expert on overhead to a problem area than it is to find the budget to hire an outside consultant. It is usually cheaper, too, to bring in an internal expert than an external consultant.


Disadvantages of Separate Six Sigma Experts

  • Travel costs are high when Six Sigma experts visit different locations, especially for companies with sites dispersed around the country.
  • Six Sigma experts who work on an as-needed basis around the company may not be available to troubleshoot operational problems brought on by their recommendations.
  • Experts must be brought up to speed on the product or job function while mapping the current state of operations.
  • If process improvement efforts hit a point of diminishing returns, the organization may shed six sigma experts as a cost-cutting measure. The expertise, once lost, is difficult to recover. If experts are needed later, the consulting fees are costly.
  • When greater credence is given to experts brought in from outside the organization over local talent, employees are reluctant to contribute.
  • Six Sigma experts working for a short term can discourage buy-in for long term changes by employees. When the expert is gone, it is more difficult to sustain the gain.
  • When a Six Sigma expert is brought in, the focus often shifts to very large projects to justify their presence. A coordinated group of related process changes with the same benefits may be ignored in favor of sweeping changes and serious disruption just because an expert is involved.

Embedded Six Sigma Experts

Embedded Six Sigma experts are embedded in the organization in which they work. Six Sigma experts in this model are local to the operation, continuously present through all phases of a project, and thoroughly familiar with the group they support.

Advantages of Embedded Six Sigma Experts

  • Experts are local. Tighter travel budgets do not prevent cost-saving projects from being implemented properly.
  • Six Sigma experts are available whenever ideas for projects arise. There is no need to schedule projects upon the availability of experts.
  • Embedded Six Sigma experts can listen to a potential project that might not be taken seriously by a manager. This prevents ideas being lost pending management review and approval.
  • When work loads are light, Six Sigma experts can focus their time on smaller projects with quick turnaround. The organization gains higher productivity from these individuals as a result.
  • Embedded Six Sigma experts can act as local Six Sigma champions within their division or functional area.


Disadvantages of Embedded Six Sigma Experts

  • Six Sigma training takes time away from someone's official job duties, if the Six Sigma expert does not work on process improvement initiatives full time.
  • If job demands are too high, the individual trained in Six Sigma may not have the time to utilize them. The training costs are then wasted.
  • When a Six Sigma expert is part of an organization or division, they can reach a point of diminishing returns with projects within that group. Once this point is reached, they either perform their original job or are loaned out as six sigma experts to other groups.
  • Six Sigma experts embedded in an organization without any other type of responsibility may push further quality improvement projects despite diminishing ROI.
  • When a manager or team lead is trained in Six Sigma, any changes in process or equipment change can evolve into a Six Sigma project. This is especially true when performance reviews for six sigma trained staff are rated on both their full time jobs and Six Sigma performance. Their basic job is performed but performance can actually be hindered by additional meetings and Six Sigma project management.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • tamarawilhite profile imageAUTHOR

      Tamara Wilhite 

      6 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      My personal experience has been that many good ideas originate from within but are not implemented due to internal bias against ideas coming from "below".

    • LeanMan profile image

      Tony 

      6 years ago from At the Gemba

      In my experience it is always far better to bring in someone from outside your company or even your industry if you are looking to make breakthrough improvements. If you continue to use people from your own industry you tend to just improve what you have; people from other industries are more likely to say, "what the hell are you doing, what about...." and the revolution begins!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)