Following The Six Sigma Operational Excellence Code
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Written by Tony Jacowski   

Six Sigma concepts and methodologies certainly help in reducing defects and increasing efficiencies, but that does not mean that we can overlook the need for maintaining operational excellence throughout the Six Sigma implementation process and beyond.

Explained below are some of the methods and strategies that you can employ for maintaining operational excellence across all the functional departments where Six Sigma projects are being executed.

Solve Day-To-Day Problems

For successful implementations, you need to have adequate resources at your disposal at all times - because you never know when business processes will be affected by small, frustrating problems. By tackling problems quickly and effectively, you can ensure that the implementation process is carried out smoothly. You also need to be proactive in identifying potential problems, as not all problems can be solved easily once they have actually occurred.

Follow Specified Plans

Business operations can easily be affected due to lack of proper plans such as those related to the procurement of labor and material. If production is delayed or is stopped completely due to such reasons, it will eventually affect the Six Sigma implementations and lead to its delay as well.

Meet Deadlines

Meeting deadlines goes a long way in maintaining operation excellence as the inability to meet deadlines can ultimately affect production or the service provided to customers. Inability to meet deadlines can have a domino effect, as other projects that are in the pipeline may also be affected. This can ultimately delay the ongoing Six Sigma implementation projects.

Make Fact-Based Decisions

You may have plenty of experience in your field and may be tempted to use your instincts or gut feelings when faced with a problem, but this is not the way to go because decisions based on emotions can go terribly wrong, especially when you are dealing with a complex business problem. When the stakes are high, it is always better to rely on hard facts and figures for making decisions.

Follow Standard Business Processes

Innovation may be 'in', but you should use caution, because tweaking existing business processes may not always give the desired results. In worst cases, tweaking can seriously reduce the efficiency of a particular business process, leading to delays and missed deadlines, all of which will ultimately negatively affect the implementations. Only those alterations that have been tested and approved through Six Sigma testing tools should be implemented.

Avoid Repeating Mistakes

You must come to terms with the fact that mistakes will occur no matter how well you plan or execute. All you can do is avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over again by creating proper logs of each and every activity related to business processes. This will help in ensuring the timely execution of Six Sigma implementation projects.

The methods and strategies employed for maintaining operational excellence may vary from industry to industry, but the ones stated above are the most commonly utilized and are applicable in almost all types of industries. You need to be prudent while utilizing the above stated strategies because even the best strategies can fail due to lack of proper guidance and support.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solutions - Six Sigma Online ( offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

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