Right to the Job

Service: The right tools for the job!

In recent times, I’ve found myself spending increased time training service sector individuals in Lean Six Sigma methods as opposed to on the job coaching.

This presents a great opportunity to really underpin some of the methods and tools with knowledge and understanding but it did start me thinking….

Are we teaching them the right tools for the problems they will encounter?

To try and answer this question I found myself thinking back to my Yellow, Green and Black belt training and the tools and methods I had been shown. I decided it would be a good idea to re-acquaint myself with all the material if only to validate the knowledge was still there lodged in my brain awaiting recall (It’s worth noting that for large parts of this I had a very large folder with lots of notes in front of me).

I failed miserably! I was able to recall around 70% of the knowledge but the other 30% was gone. How could I have forgotten that section about DoE response surface designs or that Box-Cox method for transforming data to a normal distribution…?!

The conclusion I reached was interesting….

The reason the 30% isn’t in there is because I’m not using it!

Wow. Could it be possible that nearly a third of what I have learned has been of so little use to me that I erased it from memory? Or should I be applying more of this in the work I do?

Reflecting on my improvement performance, I can honestly say that much of my training was of little use to me.

So why am I not using this 30%?

Simple. I’ve been working in service all this time but the training I’ve undertaken has been Lean Six Sigma training. Let me elaborate.

Lean and Six Sigma both have their roots in manufacturing. Over the years these methods have been brought into service and along with it the training of these methods. However, the training has struggled to evolve away from its roots to the extent that around a third of what I was shown is simply not required in Service-based improvements.

And so, what does this mean….back to our original question

Are we teaching them the right tools for the problems they will encounter?

Answer: No, not in a service context

The great thing about arriving at this space is that I’m not on my own. At Lean Consulting, we’ve recognised this and looked to do something about it, to the extent that we have designed what we believe to be the first real Lean Six Sigma Black Belt that focuses exclusively on Service.

Hopefully, we can start to better equip individuals with the right tools for the job when solving problems in services.