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Nuts and bolts of Six Sigma techniques to improve litigation management at Textron

A meaty article in the ACC Docket, May 2010 at 75, details how the litigation group at Textron has put Six Sigma techniques to work. Textron’s initiative aims at “promoting continuous improvement by using specific training, processes and tools.” Several points jumped out at me as I read the article.

The discipline requires a substantial commitment of time. For example, early on the group held a three-day session with key internal customers to obtain feedback. Three days is an eternity, an enormous commitment of time by everyone.

Second, Six Sigma pushed the litigation group to define its “key value streams,” which are “the areas in which we primarily provide value to our internal customers.” Among the 10 that are listed, seven are what you might expect from a litigation group but three are unusual: records retention, manage corporate security program, and crisis management/medical.

Six Sigma not only pushed Textron to articulate and describe what it does but also to attach metrics wherever possible. The article provides a very detailed depiction of the value stream and how much time and activity is involved at different levels and phases.

The fourth point I noted is that the improvement campaign never ends. The Textron group continues to tackle new opportunities for improvement and to become more adept with the tools of this discipline (See my post of Feb. 13, 2008: Six Sigma with 18 references; and July 24, 2009: Six Sigma in law departments and the firms they use with 11 references and 1 meta.).

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