The following letters were posted using the comment tool on the QP website. To share your thoughts, visit an article’s page and use the online tools on the right-hand side.
I recommend A.H. "Jack" West’s article ("Critical Stage," Sept. 2009) to all those folks faced with a decision to cut the lean Six Sigma function. There must have been a reason why you implemented it in the first place, and chose and hired skilled people who were once your elite supervisors and staff.
Watering down the purpose of the LSS group and negating the successes and benefits proven by the department thus far is not smart. This is especially true for businesses that have only been using the method for three years. Give the process a chance and continue to be very supportive. You will not be dissatisfied.
Bruce P. Wilkins
LSS Black Belt
American Red Cross
Areas of concern
Thanks to Anshuman Tiwari for writing this very useful article ("Danger Zones," Sept. 2009). I think he has identified some very critical areas of the Baldrige criteria.
I did one full cycle of assessment for the California Awards for Performance Excellence and can relate to his questions in many ways. I am also impressed with Tiwari’s quotes from various management books in the appropriate places.
I have no doubt that when Baldrige criteria are applied diligently to an organization, it has a long-term effect on growth and profitability. Regardless of whether an organization applies for the award, it is definitely worthwhile to use the criteria as a framework.
One of the challenges I have come across in other business maturity assessments is in the area of knowledge management. Most organizations underestimate this area and suffer severely during headcount reduction or high attrition, which impacts sustainability.
Another interesting section to consider is best practices. Often, project teams spend months on a particular project, yet it’s difficult to get their attention for a few hours to document best practices and lessons learned.
I like the way Tiwari has explained the questions and identified customers, markets and core competencies. I would definitely recommend this article to my colleagues.
Senior quality manager, Master Black Belt
JDS Uniphase Corp.