TOC Lean ERP and Six Sigma

What’s possible:

Take advantage of whatever investment of time, money and energy you have already made in an improvement technology such as Lean, ERP or Six Sigma, even if the results have been awful and people are demoralized and frustrated, and even if there’s a lack of trust in anything new that management bring to the table.

By adding Focus and Leverage we can help you gain fast, and dramatic performance improvements that translate into Competitive Edge advantages and ROI boosts very quickly. And we can do so without any appearance of “mixed messages” or backtracking on any stances you championed.


Owners and managers today are between a rock and a hard place. Maybe it’s always been so but it’s the worst I’ve known it, in 40 years in this industry.

The problem they have is that they are usually smart people, with experience. And they hire smart consultants, with experience. And they implement technologies that are the go-to technologies for high performance, for World Class, according to EVERY authority on this planet. Business schools, Colleges, Universities, Professional organizations. Government organizations intended to help business. All the major consultants. Most of the independent consultants.

Six Sigma.

And many of these companies experience absolutely awful results.

Not all, mind you.

Some Lean implementations are highly successful, even inspiring. Some ERP implementations go fairly smoothly and at the end, people feel they have a far superior business system in place, and their employees value it and use it. And Six Sigma is a very honest technology, when it’s used appropriately it can yield very impressive results.

But while it’s apparently not OK to speak out loud about it, I’d say that the VAST MAJORITY of companies I encounter are highly dissatisfied with their ERP implementations. The same managers who tell me they are happy with their Lean investments, even rave about their Lean implementations and can’t wait to show me the shadow boards on the shop floor —  will also admit — in private — that they can’t point to a single dime of ROI or a single customer they won away from a competitor as a result of their internal improvements.

But here’s the rock and the hard place. In fact, there are more than one.

First is, these things — ERP, Lean, Six Sigma — just make so much sense, when they’re explained, don’t they? And even more so as you get deeper into them.
So if you’re struggling … it MUST be your fault, right? Right.

Then, if EVERYONE is doing these things, EVERYONE says they are the right things to do, then they MUST be good things, right?
So if a company is having a bad experience it must be THEIR fault, right? Right.

And if the consultants can point to other clients getting good results, this reinforces that it must be the company’s own fault they are not getting good results, right? Because the consultant has proven happy clients. And the technology is beyond challenge, of course.

And, management have gone out on a limb. They researched this. They championed it. They hired the consultants or chose the educators or helped select the ERP system, and they spent a LOT of their time and their employees time — and a lot of money and a lot of energy — getting buy in, getting commitment, conducting education and training.
So for them to admit it’s not working … “Steve, our people are going to think we’re idiots.”

Well, here’s the bad news and the good news.

The bad news is, your people probably already think you (management) are … well, if not idiots, then at least not very bright. Sorry, but that boat has sailed. Probably a long time ago. You should hear what employees tell me when I interview them out of earshot of management.

The good news.


Having the wrong ERP system does not block massive performance improvement. It might make it more difficult but it doesn’t block it. And in fact, it’s often the reverse — when you put those things in place that create fast, direct and massive performance improvement, suddenly the real value of an ERP system can become apparent and it can be “pulled in” — rather than, “pushed on.”

Having tried to get value from a Lean implementation and failed … well, 90% of the education will stand you in good stead for the improvements that will in reality generate the massive results you were hoping for. 10% will have to be abandoned but there are ways of doing this that doesn’t leave anyone embarrassed.

And when Six Sigma is a disappointment it’s ALWAYS because it’s being badly deployed. What we do is show you Focus and leverage. When you deploy Six Sigma the right way in the right place with the right goals, it’s extraordinary powerful. Your investment in Green belts, Black Belts etc can be capitalized on beautifully.