Importance of Control Plan in a Lean Six Sigma Project

Importance of Control Plan in a Lean Six Sigma Project

When we talk about the success of a Lean Six Sigma project, we in most cases refer to the long term gains from the project or in terms of Return On Investment (ROI) of the project. Industry practices 4x return i.e. if a Lean Six Sigma project involves INR 10lacs as an investment for improvement, stakeholders expect a return of INR 40lacs. This significant return can only be achieved in the long run, short-sighted projects cannot provide significant returns.

In order to achieve significant returns, having a good action plan in the Improve phase of Lean Six Sigma to counter the problem is not sufficient. Even if the action plan is not up to the mark, projects will still see some improvement because people impacted or involved in the project know that they are being monitored by the management.

At first, people impacted by the change process will most likely be reluctant to the changes offered but given time those changes offered/suggested/implemented should become the habit of the people involved in order to gain the long term returns. The objective of the action plan should be to make people involved commit lesser errors than before but, unintentionally. This unintentional behaviour can only be observed when a SMART long term sustenance plan in the Control phase of Lean Six Sigma is carefully drafted and implemented.

This long term sustenance plan is often referred to as the Control Plan. The control plan should answer all the “W-H” of the controlling process. What is to be controlled, Where is the control being carried out, Who is responsible for the control mechanism to carry out, What is the frequency to measure the effectiveness of the change?, Who will monitor the change?, How will the effectiveness of the changes implemented be measured?, What happens if those changes are not adhered to or what are the consequences? etc.

For instance, if the need of training has been identified in action plan then the control plan for this action item should answer all the above mentioned questions. Unless these important questions in the consolidated form of control plan are answered, it is very likely that the action plan of imparting training to counter the problem will not be sustained for a longer period of time which in turn will not contribute towards gaining the desired returns.


Summary What`s Controlled Goal/ Specification Limit Control Method Who/What Measures Where Recorded Decision Rule/ Corrective Action
For a project on reduction of average handling time, need of training was one of the action itmes Count of trainings / ajent Fortnightly for next 3 months Detailed process training Process Manager/ Number of trainings imparted Training record on internal portal If planned training calendar is not adhered, cause notice to be issued to training team
Marks obtained in a training by an ajent LSL = 85% Detailed process training Process Manager/ Marks obtained in trainings Training record on internal portal If an ajent fails to achieve 85% marks, he/she will have to go through refreher training again
For a project on reduction of a defect count in a manufacturing process, it was found that number of machine breakdowns significantly impacted increase in defect count. To counter this, Preventive Maintenance plan was implemented Count of Preventive Maintenance of a machine as per criticality of the machine

Monthly for Type I

Fortnightly for Type II

Preventive Maintenance Plan Sr. Manager Maintenance/ Plan vs Actual of machine PM Maintenance Record If maintenance dept fails to adhere to the plan, cause notice to issued by Sr. Manger Maintenance to Maintenance Manager