The Benefits of Thinking Lean

Lean Six Sigma’s aim is to eliminate waste and maximize customer value through sustainable and constant improvements.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma was created in 1986 by the Motorola Company to reduce variation in their products.  It uses a change model called the DMAIC model, standing for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.  Through use of this progressive model, companies who embrace Six Sigma methodologies, can expect to see increases in both effectiveness and efficiency of their processes.  The key to success in Six Sigma is in how entirely the company adopts the policies, this is not a “one person makes a difference” methodology, but “it takes a village” to create the change needed.

  1. Define: First stage, focuses on defining the problem, scope, team, and setting milestones.  This is also where the budget is is allocated.
  2. Measure: Second stage where the starting-point metrics are recorded and data collection plan is created.
  3. Analyze: In the third stage, begin to understand the cause and effect of the system being studied.
  4. Improve: Fully define the causes and seek to redesign the processes.
  5. Control: The last stage focuses on sustaining the change, guaranteeing lasting results.

Lean

Additionally, Lean when applied with Six Sigma processes focus on continuously increasing vital processes within the organization.  Lean is about understanding what the customer wants and remaking the company to fill those wants in better ways.

In America today, we have good people working in poor processes.  What we want are good people working in great processes.

– Michael Hammer, former professor of MIT

The military has fully embraced Lean Six Sigma as a way to improve operational readiness, reduce costs, and improve engagement of service members.  Examples of Lean project goals are:

  • Faster response to customer orders
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced re-work and scrap
  • Improved quality
  • Improve employee involvement, increase morale and build company culture

Final Thoughts

Through embracing the DMAIC change model, Six Sigma, and Lean, your organization stands to make marketable and sustainable improvements to its processes and increasing the longevity of the company.  Lean Six Sigma projects can be as simple as a change to a mail sorting system and as large as reorganizing/redesigning the office to increase flow.  If you are interested in seeing what these methodologies can do your company, please contact us and we would be happy to assist you with a consult.

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