The role of a process owner is enormous in Six Sigma roll out. A Process Owner is a person, who is accountable for the performance of the process and manages the process on a daily basis. Sometimes, he is the leader who commands his team on the deliverables and action items. Sometimes, he is a Subject Matter Expert who designs and manages the technical features of the process. Both ways his support and coordination is inevitable for the success of a Six Sigma Project.
Characteristics of a Process Owner:
- Is a SME: He is aware of the entire process in detail, including the inputs, output, raw materials and resources required, supplier requirements, customer requirements, Interactions with other processes and so on.
- Owns the Process Performance: He is the person responsible for the KPIs, Metrics, Cost incurred, Profit & Loss Account of the process, ups and downs of the performance, Corrective and Preventive actions to be taken, and changes to be done in the process.
- Manages Training & Feedback: He is responsible for the skills and knowledge of his team members and Leads. He specifies the skills to be looked at while hiring, identifies training needs, designs the training curriculum, assess and provide performance feedback for his team.
- Manages the Team: He sets the goal for the team based on organization’s vision and goal, leads the team on adhering to the process and policies, encourages and motivates team for performance improvement, sets a career path for his team members.
The above roles played by a Process Owner, clearly conveys that without his involvement and support no initiative can be succeeded.
How to utilize the strengths of a Process Owner for Six Sigma:
- Train him in Six Sigma: No employee will contribute for a new initiative without understanding the concepts, realizing the benefits of it. So, train the process owners on Six Sigma concepts, so that he realizes the need of it and thinks of the benefits he reaps on Six Sigma.
- Involve him from the early stage: He should be involved from the early stages of Six sigma implementation. He should be a part of meetings discussing the planning of department level ROl and Six Sigma’s contribution.
- Let him point out the pain area and Project opportunity: The Black belt and Champion should consult the process owner in identifying the pain areas and opportunities of improvement. Imposing ideas or projects will lead to resistance and he will tend to be defensive.
- Consult him in Team Member Selection: He knows the strengths and availability of his team members. Thus his opinion in team member selection will be beneficial for the project and least disturbance to the normal operations.
- Utilize his process knowledge: Involve him in the process of root cause analysis and solution identification. Without his support, the changed process cannot be implemented continuously.
- Credit him for the entire Success: Publicly appreciate his involvement and support in the Project’s success. Also his team members can be rewarded for their commitment and contribution. Six Sigma can be made as a bonus parameter to encourage the process owner and his team for effective participation.
Thus any organization can reap big successes easily by involving and giving adequate importance to the process owners.