Articles

Kaizen Events: Are They Any Good for the Non-manufacturing Sector?

Kaizen is a Japanese management tradition that roughly translates to ‘becoming better through change’. It’s a management philosophy that believes in continuous vigilance regarding all the aspects of a production system, and making changes based on this observation so that the system always remains at the peak of its productive efficiency. And one most effective […]

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The Lean Office: Eliminate Process Flab

The lean office system cuts down human effort, investment and working hours to alter how work is done, and thus increases output. Organizations which effectively adopt lean office techniques boost their performance hugely and raise the production per hour worked. In modern management jargon the term “lean” was first coined by John Krafcik of MIT, […]

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Map Your Value Stream: Cut out Waste Visually

Value Stream Mapping is a visual imaging technique developed by the Toyota version of Lean Manufacturing. It is a paper and pencil tool that helps to visualize and figure out the flow of materials and information as a product or service courses through the value stream. It helps to understand and improve work processes using […]

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Good Housekeeping with 5S Implementation

If your business needs a good house cleaning, then consider 5S Implementation. This Lean Office concept originated in Japan and is a method by which a business can get organized and stay organized. The 5S’s are: Seiri – this is a general sorting of the business processes, throwing away what does not work and keeping what […]

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Making Use of the Kaizen Event in the Office

Kaizen is a Japanese word that means continuous improvement in and orderly manner. A Kaizen event is an intensive, short-term project intended to improve a specific process within a business. By improving a process the overall system will be improved – the proverbial weak link is strengthened and the chain does not fall apart. One […]

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The Lean Office Approach

Lean seems to be one of the new buzzwords in business these days. However, it is far more than that. It is a business concept. In order to understand the Lean Office, you must first understand what lean means. This term was first applied by Toyota to the manufacturing side of business, as their Toyota Production System, and […]

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What is Six Sigma Deployment

In the implementation of Six Sigma, an effective infrastructure lays the foundation for success. An effective infrastructure for your Six Sigma or Lean Flow change initiative in an organization requires a clear strategy and comprehensive planning. Strategizing and Planning The planning stage of a Six Sigma deployment is where you can gain valuable traction. A […]

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Make that Lean and Mean!

It Takes a Leader When you hear the words “lean manufacturing”, what springs to mind? That you’re getting an inferior product because cost reduction efforts take precedence over customer satisfaction? That a manufacturing facility is ill-equipped or else has obsolete machinery that no longer meet today’s standards? That the product you just purchased came out […]

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Bench Warming or Benchmarking?

Introduction Benchmarking seems such a high-falluting word, another business concept that has been used ad nauseam. There’s a justification for that, we’re sure. But what’s the simplest way to describe benchmarking so even a high school student can understand it? Our research on benchmarking in process improvement revealed that the concept can be compared to […]

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Go Army, Go Six Sigma!

What’s good for the geese is good for the gander. Or better, what’s good for the private sector is good for the public sector. Our Six Sigma focus now turns to the United States Army. The generals have reason to be proud. That pride is expressed in US dollars. How does a savings of $110 million in 2005 sound? In […]

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Shedding off the Fat

Even the powerful need to lose some fat. Close to two years ago, a report was published online about an award that was given at Hanscom Air Force Base to a Mr. Harvey Dershin, Vice President of Aon/Rath & Strong. Presenting the award was Major General Arthur J. Rooney, Vice Commander of the Electronic Systems Center […]

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Military Order of the Day: Transformation

We’ll clarify that: it’s transformation through Lean Six Sigma (LSS). No less than the Secretary of the US Navy has initiated a three-year LSS action plan. This piece of news comes straight from the Pentagon and was published today, May 8, 2008. Serving as a backdrop to this initiative, we have: Fact # 1: the US Navy […]

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How the Public Sector Benefits from Lean Six Sigma

Taking a Peek into the Public Sector One might be tempted to ask, “Does the public sector really need to integrate Lean Six Sigma into their training requirements considering that they’re a non-profit service-oriented outfit?” While that’s a legitimate question, a more appropriate question should be, “How can the public sector use Lean Six Sigma […]

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Benefits of a Lean Office: Is it for you?

Lean is no longer the propriety process and quality management mantra for manufacturing units. The success of Lean management in manufacturing units was bound to percolate to non-manufacturing processes sooner or later. Needless to add, success stories about Lean Office abound with many organizations proactively adapting this technique to cut down wastage (also referred to […]

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Bringing Toyota Close to Home

Your company need not be in the automotive industry to benefit from the principles of the Toyota Production System. Whether you’re running a critical care unit, overseeing cross-country trucking operations or opening an art school, you can learn valuable lessons from the Toyota Production System. We’ll apply TPS in certain situations to bring some principles into […]

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Design for Six Sigma

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is the application of Six Sigma principles to the design of products and their manufacturing and support processes. Whereas Six Sigma by definition focuses on the production phase of a product, DFSS focuses on research, design, and development phases. DFSS combines many of the tools that are used to improve […]

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Explaining 5S Implementation for the Non-manufacturing sector

5s is another well known business process management principles and quality control certification and has got extensive support in the manufacturing sector. 5S works mostly towards removal of wasteful processes and products within an organization, and has been derived from the Japanese words seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. 5S has also found a lot […]

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Handling Statistical Variation in Six Sigma

Six-Sigma provides a methodical, disciplined, quantitative approach to continuous process improvement. Through applying statistical thinking, Six Sigma uncovers the nature of business variation and its affect on waste, operating cost, cycle time, profitability, and customer satisfaction. The term “Six Sigma” is defined as a statistical measure of quality, specifically, a level of 3.4 defects per […]

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It Can Be Copied But…

Piggly Wiggly…muri…mura…muda… No, they’re not your typical cheerleading blurbs, although with Toyota hugging the limelight these days as one of the world’s major car producers with stellar growth rates and “can’t-be-beat” performance, everyone might as well be cheerleading for the Japanese auto maker.  The praises are richly deserved. The story began when Toyota owners visited […]

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Value Stream Mapping

Reaping the Benefits of Value Stream Mapping

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a proven tool. Well suited for a broad range of industries and processes, VSM is ideal for creating positive organizational changes, developing efficient future states, and producing system-wide benefits in cost, quality, and flexibility. In short, it helps eliminate waste. But like any tool, VSM must be applied properly. That […]

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