The Best of Six Sigma Practice in the Philippines: IBM Services

Posted by: meikah | 13 July 2009 | 8:56 pm

This is in continuation of the Best of Six Sigma Practices in the Philippines Benchmarking Forum I attended last April. I have shared with you Bank of Philippine Islands’ Best Practices.

Today, I will be sharing those of IBM Business Services.

For one, the company perhaps has the most number of Black Belts, Green Belts, and Yellow Belts. They really train their people for Six Sigma. Then they combine Quality methodologies and Lean, and then Six Sigma in their initiatives. This is what they do.

  • QIPs (Quality Initiatives Programs) – all employees should complete at least 1 QIP for the year. The QIP encourages all employees to think of a bright idea, share it, and work on it.
  • QPIC (Quality, Plan, Improve, and Control) and DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) – the company uses the two to improve their processes. QPIC for projects with initial root causes and potential solution identified. DMAIC for projects without initial root causes and potential solution identified.

The Benefits of Six Sigma programs to IBS:

  • contributed to numerous productivity improvement and quality improvement benefits – approximately USD3.2M annualized Level 1-5 savings and USD2.7M Level 1 (Hard) savings for 2008
  • total of 195 trained Six Sigma specialists in the center and 100% Six Sigma oriented population
  • turned around two unsatisfied clients to become referenceable after implementing Six Sigma in their domains
  • the Manila Delivery Center Six Sigma program has been lauded by clients as world-class and has been one of the key selling points during client presentations

Some of the success factors:

  • sound infrastructure in place to support the Six Sigma program
  • ownership/accountability of front-line supervisors and middle managers
  • well-trained Six Sigma Black Belts
  • 100% support from top management and Mnila senior management

The important thing is that IBM Services reward their people for a job well done. Project teams are given the 6S Milestone Award, which is 10% of the total annualized hard savings of the project.

Filed under: Best Practices, IBM, IBM Services, Lean, Quality, Six Sigma, Six Sigma Organizations, Technology

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Six Sigma Best Practices in the Philippines Benchmarking Forum

Posted by: meikah | 3 May 2009 | 7:53 pm

Last Thursday, April 30, I attended the Six Sigma Best Practices in the Philippines Benchmarking Forum at Dusit Thani Hotel-Manila. The last forum on this subject matter took place a couple of years ago.

The last time, the spotlight was on manufacturing and semiconductor industries. This time around the spotlight was on the service industry.

The speakers were

  1. Prof. Jose Edgar S. Mutuc, PhD, Center for Lean Systems, De La Salle University-Manila, for the theoretical review and integration
  2. Mr. Alberto L. Villegas, Jr., Director of Quality Management, IBM Philippines, Inc., sharing the Best Practice in IBM
  3. Mr. Randy G. Maranan, Vice President for HR & Total Quality, B.P.I., sharing the Best Practice in the banking operations of Bank of Philippine Islands
  4. Mr. Danilo C. Lachica, President, First Philec Solar Corporation, for the CEO perspective.

The panel of speakers did an excellent presentation, and even the open forum was very dynamic. I didn’t mind at all if we went over the schedule as the exchange was a good learning experience.

So, let me share with you what I learned from these excellent speakers and Six Sigma project champions (my term only for they have really championed their projects and initiatives).

  • On the concept of Six Sigma – Your perception of Six Sigma is crucial. Do you view it as a strategy, a methodology, of a philosophy? As a strategy, it’s more passive as you look at it as something that can help you deal with process issues. As a methodology, you get more into action now and prepare steps or the methods toward achieving the solution to your process problem. But if you view Six Sigma as a philosophy, it becomes a way of life, part of the company culture. Thus you think, do, and breathe Six Sigma.
  • On applying Six Sigma – Anything that has a process, Six Sigma can be applied to it. But not all processes or issues on processes can be solved by Six Sigma or one quality improvement methodology alone. One has to examine the problem first, analyze, and from the Six Sigma or Quality toolbox, choose the tool that best suits the problem.
  • On deploying Six Sigma – A hundred percent support from management, both top and middle level, is very important in the success of Six Sigma deployment or any other quality improvement methodology. Six Sigma deployment should start with investing in training, and I surmise that good consultants is a key to good and successful deployment, too. This is why management support is really needed. I also get the impression that if your management is willing to invest, then it is ready to enjoy the savings. :)
  • On sustaining Six Sigma – It needs a system for continuous training, continuous monitoring, continuous evaluation, and benchmarking with companies in your industry. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or create a new process. You need only to observe what others are doing best, and benchmark your own processes.
  • On saving with Six Sigma – Big savings result from Six Sigma programs. The speakers all attested to that. And this is the part where I really got challenged to embark on lean (first) and Six Sigma (later). Enjoying big savings in these trying times is very very tempting. :)
  • On the ultimate purpose of Six Sigma – To meet the requirements of the customers.

I hope to get results of the email interviews for each speaker in the days to come. So stay tuned! ;)

Filed under: Best Practices, Deployment, Deployment Champion, Services, Six Sigma, Tools/Toolkits

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Six Sigma Best Practices Lead Other Companies to Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 25 November 2008 | 1:37 am

When successful companies like GE, Dupont, and Bombardier shared their Six Sigma best practices, many other companies saw the value of Six Sigma more.

For example, GE, with an already 9-year Six Sigma journey, began using Six Sigma to improve sales effectiveness in year five. Jack Welch said, “We found that Six Sigma isn’t only for engineers. . . . Regional sales managers can use it to improve forecast reliability, pricing strategies, or pricing variation.”

DuPont, which has integrated Six Sigma in their processes for four years, began using Six Sigma for top line growth in year two. According to VP and Corporate Champion-Six Sigma, Don Linsemann, “Six Sigma brought a new focus on the voice of the customer. Customer input is valuable in driving research development, product development, and applications.”

Bombardier’s 7-year Six Sigma initiative initially focused its business improvement efforts on cash flow, cost reduction, cost improvement, cost avoidance and efficiency improvement. Today, many of their Six Sigma projects are focused on growth projects to increase sales volume and sales margins.

Because of these companies, others saw the need of Six Sigma not only in manufacturing processes but also in other processes of the organization. The identified processes where Six Sigma can be used are the following:

  • Client relationship management
  • Sales effectiveness
  • New market development
  • Pricing process improvement
  • Advertising/communication improvement
  • Branding effectiveness
  • Channel effectiveness
  • Lead management
  • Service improvement
  • Product development

Six Sigma has practically invaded other processes. This goes to show that companies are now realizing that a holistic approach to Six Sigma is a much better option.

Six Sigma for Sales: Truth About the Customers’ Needs

Filed under: Best Practices, Sales, Six Sigma, Six Sigma Organizations

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Six Sigma in Best Practices

Posted by: meikah | 12 November 2008 | 9:56 pm

A new best practice report by APQC and Ernst & Young reveals how successful organizations put process measures and analytics to effective use. It proves that the sustained and effective use of process measures and analytics is increasingly a key differentiator separating leading organizations from the rest of the pack.

Two Six Sigma companies were part of the study:

Caterpillar Financial Services: At Caterpillar, process owners, managers, continuous improvement consultants, and Six Sigma Black Belts all work together to identify, measure, and act on process measures and analytics. The measures are tied directly to the organization’s critical success factors and customer/stakeholder requirements.

GE Global Business Services: At GE, the CEO initiated the drive for integrated measures and analytics. Given GE’s background as a Six Sigma leader, he was surprised that the organization had not institutionalized strong process-based measures. The shared services organization was tapped to set an example for the entire business. With a CEO mandate in hand, GE Global Business Services leveraged a process framework and Six Sigma skills by linking process owners, product-line leaders, and quality/Six Sigma experts to establish global performance measures. GE’s leader mandate and collaborative approach has stimulated cooperation and enabled the organization to demonstrate value across the business.

Read more…

Filed under: Best Practices, Caterpillar Inc., GE, Six Sigma, Six Sigma Organizations

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