Feb 15 2020
Whatever became of Six Sigma? | Alfred Kieser | brand eins
“TQM and Six Sigma are management fads that obey similar laws to clothing fashions. There are fashion designers who create the trend, and multipliers who disseminate and popularize it. These primarily include business consultants, but also scientists, managers, non-fiction authors or journalists. And there is the customer base that hopes to benefit from going with the fashion without having to think about it or take responsibility.”
Source brand eins
Michel Baudin‘s comments: Thanks to Ferdinand Grah for drawing my attention on LinkedIn to this interview of German management thinker Alfred Kieser. The article is in German. In it, Kieser paints a bleak picture of Six Sigma at GE and how former CEO Jack Welch leveraged it to his own benefit while wrecking the organization with rank-and-yank management. As for agility, he sees it as “just as content-free as the Balanced Scorecard.”
Jan 24 2022
Does Amazon Use Lean, Six Sigma, or Lean Six Sigma?
In 2019, Christoph Roser posted six articles on his blog about the inner workings of Amazon Fulfillment Centers, based on visits to locations in the US and Germany. His blog is called AllAboutLean but the word “Lean” appears nowhere in his articles about Amazon. “Six Sigma” does not appear either, and Christoph does not mention meeting any black belt.
In addition, in Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon (2021), Amazon alumni Colin Bryar and Bill Carr make no reference to Lean, and all they report about Six Sigma is using DMAIC to define metrics.
Yet you find some published descriptions of Amazon as a showcase for Lean, Six Sigma, or Lean Six Sigma but, if you consider them without confirmation bias, the evidence is underwhelming. The keywords appear, along with a few more, like “Operational Excellence” or “Scrum.”
Based on the small amount of published data, the leaders of Amazon, starting with Jeff Bezos, “learned a bunch of techniques, like Six Sigma and lean manufacturing and other incredibly useful approaches.”
In other words, they learned everything they could get their hands on while staking out uncharted territory. Then they developed their own system. Now they are sharing with outsiders a few homilies but no details, as is their privilege. Their system is to retail as Toyota’s is to manufacturing. It’s not reducible to Lean, Six Sigma, or Lean Six Sigma.
By Michel Baudin • Blog clippings • 6 • Tags: Alibaba, Amazon, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma, Toyota