Blame the Process, Not the People

“One of my favorite core doctrines of the Six Sigma methodology is: Blame the Process, not the People. As managers and owners it is often easier to blame the people who work for us rather than looking at the process, or lack thereof, we have in place. Generally speaking, most people want to do a good job and while everyone has different capabilities, no business can sustainably grow if only “rock star” employees can be successful. A good process can make a mediocre employee successful just as easily as a bad process can cause a good employee to fail. While it is one of the hardest core doctrines to implement, the moment owners and managers stop blaming their employees for failures and blame the process, positive change happens.

When faced with a major problem, such as “not getting paid fast enough” for example, a common issue in the restoration industry, blaming the AR clerk, bookkeeper, or project manager is not an effective place to start. Rather, look at the process that has been setup for collection and see how it can be changed to shorten the time it takes to get paid.”

– Garret Gray, President of Next Gear Solutions

What is Six Sigma?

Simply put, Six Sigma is a methodology that uses data to develop effective and efficient processes that have a positive affect on a business’ bottom-line. Fully utilized, Six Sigma is primarily for large-scale manufacturing; however, the business section of any bookstore includes a variety Six Sigma books on every topic, including restoration. (See Recommended Reading) In fact, Six Sigma principles can be applied to almost anything, even personal life.

Created in 1986 by Motorola, most of today’s Fortune 500 companies, such as GE and Verizon, adopted Six Sigma in the mid-to-late 1990s to eliminate weaknesses in any process. Six Sigma is unique in that it creates trackable information that affects all of areas of a business, especially the bottom line.

While Six Sigma at its core is full of math, there are two primary methodologies that can be used to evaluate any process. This first is DMAIC, which stands for its five steps: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. The DMAIC method is primarily use to measure and identify weaknesses, or defects, in existing processes. Established organizations of any size can effectively use these steps to improve any aspect of its operation at any point.

The second is DMADV, or DFSS, is also an acronym for its five steps: define, measure, analyze, design and verify. Also called Define For Six Sigma, this methodology is particularly useful in creating and designing new products and/or processes.

General Electric explains the goal of Six Sigma in this way: “If you can measure how many ‘defects’ in a process, you can systematically eliminate them”. Six Sigma has proven so effective that GE estimates its benefits at more than $10 billion in just five years.

President and CEO of Next Gear Solutions, Inc., Garret Gray, has spent the last seven years studying and implementing Six Sigma into the restoration industry with great success. Gray believes that using data-driven process development and management leads to better company cultures, increased profitability, and higher customer satisfaction. While there is a lot to Six Sigma and much more to learn, there are simple truths that can transform a restoration company by making positive changes.