In a memo to employees this fall, Xerox president of corporate operations Herve Tessler said this, “having met our goal of embedding the principles and practices of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) within the business … we no longer have a need for a centralized LSS function and will disband the corporate LSS team.”
You can form your own opinion, but to me this sounds like the politically correct way of saying that the implementation of Six Sigma is no longer a priority.
Where it all began
The system aims to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of errors and minimizing variability in business processes through the use of statistics-based, quality management methods.
Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified value targets, for example: reduce process cycle time, reduce costs, increase profits, and increase customer satisfaction.
Becoming an expert in Six Sigma is a science. As you become more knowledgeable, you proceed from a novice Yellow Belt to a head-of-the-pack Champion, and through the last years of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st, an entire industry sprung up around training employees in Six Sigma.
How the mighty have fallen
It seemed like Six Sigma might be a trend that withstood the test of time – until now. I was interested in a recent study cited by FLO Partners that documented the gradual downfall of Six Sigma. The results illustrated that Six Sigma “has continued its decline from the heady heights of 2005 when 71 percent of respondents reported using pure play Six Sigma to 33 percent in 2013.”
“Companies are moving away from overly structured and rigid approaches to process excellence. Instead, many are taking a more pragmatic approach and drawing on a wide range of tools that fit the business situation and need,” commented the study.
For more on why organizations are moving away from Six Sigma, head over to the full post on Intuit's Fast Track blog.