LSS Deployment Benchmarks – How do you stack up?

Karen Welch from Abbott Nutrition presented in October at the 4th Annual Global Lean, Six Sigma and Business Improvement Summit. She quoted a few interesting (or depressing, depending on how you see it) statistics from Leap Technologies. I thought I’d share the ones that really caught my eye.

  • Close to 50% of organizations making a significant investment in LSS complete fewer than 10 projects in the first two years despite significant training investment.
  • Less than 15% Green Belts trained in LS methods (80 hrs classroom time) actually complete a project.
  • Close to 40% BB training is devoted to teaching DOE, yet the majority report never using the tool in an actual project.
  • Despite a goal of changing the culture, employee participation in LS projects average less than 10% of the workforce

How does this compare to your organization? We’ve spent a great deal of time on these very issues, and I’d like to think we’ve made progress in our organization, but I’m curious as to the state of the practice in other companies.
So how many of these four items would you dispute on your team?

What Makes a Good LSS Belt Candidate?

I’m working this morning with a potential candidate to assess fit and likelihood of success.  Traits I’m hoping to find…

Action oriented
Comfortable with responsibility
Comfort with numbers (I’m not as concerned about their specific statistical ability.  We can teach that if they have the mindset.)
Desire to learn
Willingness to change how you look at the world (I guess that’s flexibility, but on another level.)

Project Ownership

In the last few weeks we have been busy building out the plans for Kaizens, JDIs and belt projects to reach our cost savings / productivity gain targets. One thing has come to light that I find very disturbing.

Our project champions/sponsors have a number of reasons for failed projects, many of which are due to the belt/team leader moving roles. We tend to nominate high potentials and high performers for the training, but then allow the projects (and therefor the certification efforts) to wither away in favor of “real work” or new positions.

The message for the month, then, is this. Champions own projects. Sponsors own projects. Team leaders and/or belts do not own projects.

We have established metrics on belt utilization levels (how many projects are being completed per belt/candidate per year) and ROI for the program (hard net savings/investment in training). I’m taking it as an action to also start reporting out completion rates for projects by Champion. If the leadership is not engaged in the process, it’s all just wasted effort. And we all hate waste.

Translating “Corporate Strategy” methods to the HR world

In reading through “Lean Six Sigma for Service” (Michael L. George), I started thinking about the ways we leverage our HR team’s priorities in our LSS deployment. 

George talks about how to benchmark against competitors on ROIC, WACC and EP (Economic Profit, the difference between the ROIC % and WACC %).  These are fairly easy numbers to obtain through annual reports, and can certainly be used as the cornerstone of resource deployment in an organization.
But we live in a slightly different world.  We are, in some respects, one of the largest costs of an organization.  These calculations, while meaningful, don’t always help in deploying resources through HR.  I’m curious as to how we benchmark performance with that in mind. 
Do you benchmark against HR teams in your market sector, direct competitors, local companies, similar sized organizations, or some other group?
What are the key metrics you use for that comparison?  HR cost per FTE?  Total HR spend?  Turnover?  Something else?
Finally, how do you leverage that information to drive your deployment, and how often do you re-examine that strategy?

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