21st Century Quality
Stanley A. Marash

Fusion Management, Part Five

Creating a model that works

This column is the fifth in a series describing how various management approaches work best when designed to function as a synthesized process.

In my June 2001 column, I described the relationships among management systems, improvement methodologies and performance excellence models. The August 2001 column described the evolution of management systems during the past 50 years. The columns in October and December 2001 outlined the development of continual improvement methodologies from early statistical methods during the 1920s to today's widespread use of Six Sigma. To conclude this series, I'll describe how to fuse the best elements of each of these approaches into a working process designed to meet an organization's needs.

Six Steps to Fusion Management


 Six Sigma techniques have demonstrated remarkable results in every size, type and style of organization. It's a management philosophy that uses customer-focused measurements and aggressive goal-setting to drive breakthrough performance in terms of validated bottom-line results. However, many previous methodologies—statistical process control, management by objectives, zero defects, total quality management and reengineering, to name a few—also showed dramatic results, only to wither away after a few years. Why? What will prevent Six Sigma from meeting a similar fate?

 The key to lasting success is recognizing that business processes must be fused into a whole so that methodologies such as Six Sigma and lean enterprise, which function at the tactical level, support the goals and objectives defined at the strategic level. These tactics must be maintained by a sound management system that institutionalizes them as normal parts of the daily business process. Hence, every layer of the business process hierarchy is designed to support the organizational strategy. How does one achieve this objective? This is the process I call "Fusion Management." Following is the six-step process for implementing it:

1. Define the as-is condition (i.e., start-up). Defining where the enterprise stands is essential to figuring out where it needs to go and how best to get there. This includes interviewing key executives to determine their understanding of, and commitment to, Fusion Management; evaluating existing business processes and how well they work; assessing the "gap" between the existing process and the desired one; describing the current organization and responsibilities at the "macro" level; and creating an initial action plan.

2. Launch leadership councils. Next, identify a leadership group that will steer the process, starting with senior executives, and train a core group to act as mentors and facilitators for the process.

3. Prepare and deploy a midterm fusion plan. At this point, management must agree on what the business process will look like. What's being done right? What more is needed? What's desirable? What tools are in place? How well do they work? What new ones are wanted or needed? What financial and personnel resources are needed, both internally and externally? What's the timetable?

4. Develop an integrated strategic plan. This plan is a living document that takes a three- to five-year look into the future and is updated annually. It combines

business, quality and regulatory plans; defines the measures of success; includes benchmarks of the best in class for critical processes, regardless of industry; and

provides a competitive analysis of the organization's own industry. Most important, it lists quantifiable goals and objectives to which the entire organization will be committed.

5. Create and deploy a master plan for Fusion Management. In this step, the emphasis is on deployment. Knowing where to go and how to get there, one can outline and manage the specific steps necessary to build or expand a successful management infrastructure and dynamic continual improvement process—a process that works because it's designed for the organization, its industry, its size and its corporate culture.

6. Cascade business results. Typically, a process such as Fusion Management begins with one business unit, division, facility or product line. Once success is achieved, the process is continued by extending the results to other parts of the organization. I recommend a series of interlinked leadership councils to ensure that successes, and lessons learned, are cascaded throughout the organization.


 This provides a brief synopsis of the Fusion Management process. My upcoming book on the subject will include a detailed blueprint for implementation.


About the author

 Stanley A. Marash, Ph.D., is chairman and CEO of STAT-A-MATRIX Inc. E-mail him at smarash@qualitydigest.com. Fusion Management is a trademark of STAT-A-MATRIX Inc. ©2001 STAT-A-MATRIX Inc. All rights reserved. Letters to the editor regarding this column can be e-mailed to letters@qualitydigest.com  .

Menu Level Above

This Menu LeveL

Menu Level Below

[Contents] [News] [WebLinks] [Columnists]
[Harrington] [Godfrey] [Townsend] [Marash]

Copyright 2002 QCI International. All rights reserved.
Quality Digest can be reached by phone at (530) 893-4095. E-mail:
Click Here

Today's Specials