With the recent advent of modern technologies, the need to implement sophisticated solutions to increase the productive capacities of project management currently utilized and elaborated by international and domestic business communities has become conspicuous. The most effective and acknowledged schemes have been elaborated by Motorola in 1985. Nowadays, this scheme of project management is known as Six Sigma (Adams et al., 2003). The industrial objective of this set of strategies and toolkits is to identify the facts and flows of the productive process, to propose solutions, to explicate how to effectively remove or minimize the negative facets of industrial cycles, and analyze the practical aspects of the solutions’ implementation and deployment (Phadnis, 2011).
The cornerstone of this system is effective purchasing of statistical information inherent to a specific manufacturing process. Moreover, the fundamental changes in data processing and intellectual technologies paradigms and the productive capacities of the software constructed on the basis of Six Sigma fundamentals have been rapidly intensified. Therefore, this makes the managerial process more congruent and flexible, bringing it into consistence with the permanent vacillations of the market.
Although a large number of different alternatives are routinely proposed by the critics of this solution, the practice explicitly indicates that the popularity of this strategic tool reflects its efficiency and effectiveness. Nowadays, the managerial process in various spheres of production has been substantially modified due to the intense presence of the technology. The discussed Six Sigma paradigm has also been subjected to these changes, and the way it is practiced now is drastically different from the methodological toolkit utilized by managers in the 90s (Jacowski, 2008).
The objective of this paper is to illustrate how the Six Sigma concept was successfully integrated into the managerial approaches of the Red Cross hospital, in the Netherlands, what problems it helped to solve, and how the solutions offered under the concept of Six Sigma can contribute to the efficient enhancement of the organization.
Red Cross Hospital Beverwijk Case Study
The Situation before Six Sigma Deployment
Red Cross Hospital in Beverwijk, the Netherlands, is a medium-sized general medical facility. The staff of the unit numbers 930 professionals, and the budget of the organization is reported to reach $70 million. The discussed medical facility provides services to approximately 12,000 patients annually, and its visitors’ turnover is reported to be almost 190,000 visits yearly (Does & Bisgaard, 2005).
In accordance with the statements published by the officials of the discussed healthcare units, the following problems have been diagnosed in the managerial practice of the organization before the discussed concept was implemented.
First, the objectives of the targeted healthcare facility were not identified correctly. Secondly, the goals that were identified were not aligned; there was inconsistency between the long-term objectives of the project and the general healthcare course of the country. Thirdly, the managers of the facility failed to establish a unified procedure to assess the cost-effectiveness of the facility functioning. Then, the implementation of alternative decisions was poorly conducted, with only superfluous evaluations of the alternatives (Does & Bisgaard, 2005).
The Issues of Implementation
The system was implemented by an independent consulting research unit in 2001. Starting from June 2001 to January 2002, necessary amendments were made to the clinical and managerial departments of the facility in question. Specifically, the required software connected with the implementation of Six Sigma tasks was installed on working computers of the staff.
It is necessary to highlight that Six Sigma is a conceptual basis for the customized software development for this clinical unit, since a number of logistical and other individual peculiarities of this hospital have to be considered, and conventional, ubiquitously applicable approaches could hardly be considered implementable (Does & Bisgaard, 2005).
The staff of the hospital was instructed accordingly. During the first stages of the project development, the team was instructed to implicate the system on a part-time basis in order to get adapted and not to disrupt the working cycles of the hospital. Within one year, the system was integrated on a permanent basis. Generally, the workforce of the hospital appraised the integrated solutions as positive.
The Outcomes of Six Sigma Integration
The outcomes received by the clinical unit can be classified into two groups. The first group illustrates the results that are of medical importance, while the outcomes of the second group are focused on the managerial aspects of the analyzed integration.
Medically, the treatment and diagnosis procedures have been substantially accelerated, primarily due to the reason that the physicians were allocated on the basis of the specialty, core competence, and skills in accordance with the urgency of the medical cases. Secondly, the efficiency of the treatment procedures was greatly enhanced, since the system helped to identify the medication that was the most efficient for a particular type of disease, on the basis of the aggregated statistical data. This aggregation was possible due to the peculiarities of the customarily developed software systems. Practically, the number of patients with the intravenous antibiotics intake was minimized, since it was found out that the intravenous intake was more expensive, but no more efficient than the oral one.
Managerially, significant accomplishments were made in the financial and controlling areas of the project development. First and foremost, errors typically made by the accounting department in invoice treatment and processing were dramatically reduced (the annual savings from this practice reached $75,000). Secondly, the standardized procedure to exercise payments for their organization’s suppliers and providers helps to economize $35,000 annually. Lastly, it was identified that the children’s department should have been expended. Having allocated more premises for the children department, financially, the organization raised its annual revenues to $30,000.
Six Sigma Lessons and Our Organization
Having analyzed the existing empirical evidence upon the subject in general and the Red Cross Hospital case in particular, several important observations have been made. Most importantly, the managerial process can be exponentially enhanced (Anbari & Kwak, 2004). Practically, it results in more parsimonious financial policies of the discussed establishment, whereas the same objectives are achieved and no salary shortcuts are administered. Secondly, the decision-making process can be substantially accelerated, while the evaluation of the available strategic and tactical options can be done with increased accuracy. Thus, the statistical evaluation of the metadata is reported to be highly effective within the frameworks of this managerial solution (Adams et al., 2003). Moreover, the concept of Six Sigma enables the managerial department of a particular institution to exercise control, monitoring, and surveillance procedures more effectively. In particular, organizational errors are reported to be identified more easily; therefore, time resources are becoming available for the elimination of mistakes. In other words, the required organizational and procedural interventions can be made and the strategic course of development stabilized.
Scholars and practitioners are unanimous in their opinion that the simplification of the managerial process inevitably has immense positive impact on the way the tasks of a particular entity are performed. As far as our institution is concerned, it should be highlighted that the industrial process can be accelerated and the financial funds can be economized, while the quality standards of the product delivered can be increased.
To sum up, it is necessary to recapitulate that the Six Sigma Management kit has many times proven its efficacy. The case of the Red Cross Hospital is one of the most illustrative of the subject. Overall, the integration of this managerial toolkit is highly recommendable for the needs of our institution.