Many global companies use the Six Sigma methodology to streamline their manufacturing and production processes with the aim of achieving greater performance quality. But we believe in going one step further: Lean Six Sigma. This collaborative method can optimize your business in a variety of ways, improving everything from sales to company image, just as poor performance can do the opposite. It has become a key feature in successful business leadership, which is why so many companies are implementing Lean principles for improved and measurable results. However, what exactly is Six Sigma, how does it become Lean, and what makes it important?
Six Sigma is a measurement of quality that companies use to ensure they deliver the best products and services. It involves eliminating variation to create a more efficient system. Lean believes that waste comes from unnecessary stages in production. Both methods possess the same goal, but they identify the root causes of waste in different ways. The Lean approach involves removing wasteful practices for a more streamlined, smooth-running process. Both practices can improve efficiency and profitability, and are highly complementary, which is why Lean Six Sigma has arisen, combining important Lean practices with Six Sigma methodology. It relies on a collaborative effort to systematically improve performance via decreased variation and removal of the eight types of waste that arise within production: inventory, transportation, motion, waiting, overproduction, over-processing, defects, and skills.
Lean-related practices are essential to Lean Six Sigma as they demand a team effort that will consistently improve business practices, ensuring your product is high-quality and high-profit. The lean methodology determines the value of something by asking, would a consumer pay for it? By taking unnecessary steps in production, this can affect efficiency as well as your product quality. For example, rather than improving one product by 100%, it is better to improve lots of products and processes by 1%. This will not only allow for gradual, controlled improvements to be made across the board but will ensure sustained profit increase as your business improves.
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For most companies, the average is around 3.4 instances of defect appearing in every million. For technology manufacturers, particularly, this can be a problem. As an example of variation within production processes, if a manufacturer builds a laptop using 100 components, 3.4 DPM for each of the components could result in a much higher level of defect over time. With 340 DPM for every 100 components, this amounts to 1 defective laptop every 2940. Over time, this could lead to significant losses for any business, which is where Lean Six Sigma comes in.
Lean principles improve the standard Six Sigma method as it allows you to not only eliminate waste which leads to variation. The lean methodology works seamlessly with Six Sigma to improve quality. By accepting high levels of DPM from component suppliers, you are setting yourself up for major losses in the future, creating more work for yourself down the line, which can be both costly and time-consuming to correct. By sourcing high-quality components for your products from the beginning, you will ensure defect is less likely later.
Lean Six Sigma promotes Lean-related business performance in which waste which leads to variation is significantly reduced. This then translates to more predictable performance, and a higher likelihood of success, as improved predictability allows appropriate controls to be put in place that will further benefit the business and ensure fewer problems in the future.
Lean Six Sigma can work wonders for any business. Act now. Don’t let your business fall behind. Important factors like sales, profits, and company image can all be transformed with Lean Six Sigma, and your company will reap the benefits for it.
Stop by and contact us at 6Sigma.us and find out how we can positively help you plan and change the culture and operations of your organization. We offer Six Sigma Green Belt and Six Sigma Black Belt training programs, as well as a Six Sigma Master Black Belt program.