Systems Thinking for Business


Integrate Six Sigma with
Business Process Management


Andrew Spanyi



Six Sigma is frequently implemented in a traditional departmental paradigm without much reliance on business process thinking.





It is little wonder that many thoughtful Six Sigma practitioners complain of the difficulty in identifying the best opportunities to apply Six Sigma techniques, and of the fact that there are frequently overlapping and redundant Six Sigma projects.

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The practice of piecemeal thinking with respect to various improvement initiatives is a serious issue and the failure of integrating business process thinking with Six Sigma methods, results in firms incurring such significant opportunity costs that it is downright tragic. It's tragic because there is a better way.


Synergistic Company

Synergize Business Processes

Synergize EBPM, TQM, and Six Sigma





Integrating Six Sigma with business process management principles will help you realize significant opportunities versus the traditional methods of implementing a Six Sigma program.

Just consider the few examples cited below.


Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma

Six Sigma and Quality Revolution at GE




① By asking and answering the question 'Which business process would have to be improved by how much, by when, in order for us to realize our strategic objectives?' your firm would have greater clarity on where to apply Six Sigma techniques and for what results.



Assess Your Organization's Progress Toward Excelling in Business Process Management




② By structuring the entire improvement initiative according to business processes there would be fewer overlapping initiatives and more cross-departmental collaboration.


Process-managed Enterprise

9 Steps





③ Since process ownership relies on managing by influence as opposed to authority, process owners would collaboratively sponsor projects and project progress would be monitored by a 'Steering Team' of executives thereby reducing the frequency of project collapse which sometimes observed when Six Sigma is deployed on a traditional basis due to tribal warfare.


Successful Company

5 Basic Elements

Balanced Business System


8 Principles




④ Because of the big picture view, leadership could decide, based on the size of the performance gap that needs to be bridged and the firm's appetite/capability to absorb change, when to deploy DFSS (design for six sigma) methodology or better yet, process redesign techniques as opposed to the traditional DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control).


Performance-based Company

3Ss of Outstanding Performance

Most Innovative Company




⑤ The application of business process thinking in conjunction with Six Sigma would inject greater sensitivity to the human side of change and help address one of the pervasive criticisms of the Six Sigma in that it is less effective in solving historically "soft" issues.


Process Thinking

Leadership's Mental Model

Top-Management Attitude




⑥ On the other hand, process improvement methods would benefit from the rigor of Six Sigma measurement techniques and its disciplined training regime.


Deming's 14 Point Plan for TQM

Barriers to TQM