Role of Six Sigma in Public Utilities

Many studies have been conducted on the possibilities of introducing public sector performance management methodologies such as Six Sigma and Lean in the public sector. Most governments around the world conduct large-scale projects that are very expensive and critical to the development of the country. Governments resort to outsourcing, privatization, etc. deliver services to their citizens. This adds to the existing cost of the project. The permanent solution is therefore to improve the managerial system of the government. Methods like Lean and Six Sigma focus on value and process improvement and have the potential to create great managers and leaders.

The main motivation behind the adoption of Six Sigma methodologies for the Private sector is profit. These methodologies can:

• Measure performance
• Determining inefficiency
• Improving processes
• Eliminating defect

Now let us compare this to the Public Sector Scenario. Here the motivation of the profit is not expected. There are however many ways in which through Six Sigma organizations of the public sector find ways of improving their value and re-evaluating their functions.

This re-evaluation is the process where new leaders are encouraged to take on new roles and engage themselves in improving the existing processes. This brings in a new way of thinking and innovative ideas to the fore. Lean and Six Sigma also encourage the employees to work in teams and departments to work with one another. This improves communication and cross-collaboration of teams. There are some questions that arise while we think about implementing Six Sigma in the Public Sector. Let us take a look at these.

1. Transferability:

While there are many advantages to employing Six Sigma in the public Sector there is still the question of who should introduce these methods into this sector. If the government or managers of a particular body decide to take it up and implement it, they may be able to see the great improvements in the outcome of the team.

2. Who is the Customer?

A large part of Six Sigma focuses on rendering services to customers. In the public sector, the question arises on who is the customer in such a scenario. It may be right to consider the taxpayers or the general public may be considered as the customers here. In some cases, however, the taxpayer is not directly the recipient of the service. But it is to be kept in mind that the main motive behind the public sector is the welfare of the citizens and the development of the nation.

3. Legislative Obligations:

In the private sector, it is quite easy to identify which processes may bring more profit and reduce defects using Six Sigma. But in the public sector, there are legislative obligations that can allow you to make changes to processes only to a certain limit. But it is to be taken into account that these methodologies bring in sufficient drop in costs and improve user satisfaction.

From studies conducted in various locations, we can conclude that Six Sigma does improve Cost and Savings, stable leadership and organizational structure. Unique characteristics such as politics and resource constraints may impede its overall success. Therefore all the Pros and Cons have to be analyzed carefully before implementing such schemes in the future.