Business process management and Six Sigma: why neither can stand alone

Business process management or BPM is a comprehensive methodology that helps design and maintains all aspects of an organization with the sole purpose of meeting their customer’s wants and needs both effectively and efficiently. Such ambitious endeavors require equipping BPM practitioners with powerful computerized tools and an overarching infrastructure to enable a wide range of problem-solving solutions. BPM tools can be classified into four groups and they are Strategy, Analysis, Design, and Implementation.

On the other hand, Six Sigma is also a comprehensive and highly disciplined methodology that helps you focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services, by analyzing the underlying business processes and removing defects or errors. Six Sigma also is a wide range tool and they are Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control.

What does BPM lack?

BPM tools are very effective in creating business interactions and communication models. But, very often, BPM teams struggle to understand which processes are the top priority for the business and which defects are the most critical to solving for any given process. BPM lacks quantitative ranking methods and statistical tools to prove significance. Here, Six Sigma has much to offer BPM teams in this area through tools like Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA), risk prioritization index and Value Stream Mapping (VSM).

BPM is a thin methodology to monitor the sustainability of any process change after implementation of such changes. Once process changes have been deployed, the project is closed. Six Sigma offers SPC which is a robust tool that is specifically tailored to particular quantitative variables; designed to monitor stability, trending and within control operational status.

What does Six Sigma lack?

Six Sigma usually tackles specific defects in a specific set of operations within a specific business process. This approach is very effective in eliminating defects. But in general, Six Sigma lacks a wealth of enterprise-wide view of the organization strategy, objective and goals, its factors and the organization surrounding. This is an area where BPM has a very strong approach. So, conceptually, BPM and LSS should be a great fit.

Six Sigma also falls short when tries to incorporate tools for computer automation and information technology designs. BPM lends a helpful hand with use cases, event modelling, business class models, subtype and package models. So, it can be again concluded that both Six Sigma and Business Process management can give a compliment to each other.

It becomes very apparent that Six Sigma and Business Process Management (BPM) neither can stand alone. Organizations that master the integration of both will have a higher rate of financial success when designing and implementing a process to take any organization for a closer level of customer satisfaction and global competition.