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Guide to Understanding Lean and Six Sigma for Manufacturing

Lean and Six Sigma is an excellent combination of two powerful and improved business process strategies. There are multiple ways in which manufacturing companies can accomplish their goals. by adopting Lean and Six Sigma. They would not only be able to exceed the expectations of customers but would also minimize cost, maximize profits, and build an efficient workforce.

Lean and Six Sigma can benefit the manufacturing companies, but you’ll want to understand each of the tools individually.

Defining Lean

Lean is basically a guiding principle that defines the behavior of people that helps in improving the process as a whole. Adopting this lean methodology not only involves continuous improvement, but it also enhances the focus of the customer on the optimized flow of information.

Lean helps in achieving small yet incremental changes that positively change the speed, quality, and efficiency. Though it eliminates the waste tasks but adds no value to the customer or business as a whole.

Some of the waste tasks which can be eliminated using Lean methodology include:

  1. Error – Work that contains defect and error, needs to be reworked as it is not up to the business requirements.
  2. Excess production – Production of surplus which is much more than what is actually required.
  3. Reduce waiting – It lessens the waiting time for materials, equipment.
  4. Inventory – It reduces the overstocking of supplies.
  5. Transportation – Unnecessary transport of materials.
  6. Motion – Time that gets wasted because of excessive motion.
  7. Over process – Doing tasks that are not really required.

As Lean helps in reducing all these wastage’s, it helps you establish refined goals for your business.

Defining Six Sigma

The Six Sigma specifies a series of phases in order to reach the root causes of the problem, eliminating the impact, and making sure that the solution is sustained.

The Six Sigma technique mainly makes use of five tools, which are — Define Measure Analyse Improve Control, also known as DMAIC.

Six Sigma is used to makes business processes much more streamlined and effective by applying statistical methods. The statistical method also helps in reducing variation. It basically provides a structured method to an organization that helps to fix complex and chronic problems.

Mr. Peter Peterka, President of Global Six Sigma, stresses the importance of Six Sigma in strategic planning, “We understand that the better an organization manages processes and changes, the more successful they are. Six Sigma leaders must be actively engaged and connected during strategic planning so they can more effectively apply the methodology.”

Lean and Six Sigma in the manufacturing industry

Lean helps in achieving small yet incremental changes that positively changes the speed, quality, and efficiency. The Six Sigma specifies a series of phases to reach the root causes of the problem. These series of phases eliminate the impact and make sure that the solution is sustained.

The main aim of this technique includes improving the conditions of the manufacturing industry as a whole. It not only quantifies but also measures the financial returns of any given project.

These features help in defining the roles and responsibilities of everyone working in a team for enhancing the efficiency of the manufacturing process in a given organization. Lean Six Sigma also ensures that the manufacturing process has minimum defects, thus ensuring the quality of the produced goods.

The benefits of Lean Six Sigma can be summed up in the following points:

  1. It improves customer satisfaction and their experience – This improves the state of the company and its integrity as a whole. The tools help in achieving the organizational goals at a much faster rate.

    The faster rate can be achieved by reducing the defective pieces factory. The lesser the defects, the more time and cost would be saved, and hence customers will receive their products sooner.

  2. Boosts productivityThe efficiency of employees would improve as they will start to feel that they are contributing to the growth of the company. It helps in motivating and engaging the employees towards their work.
  3. Improves planning and execution – The tool helps in planning various strategies for the organization as a whole. It helps the company to reach its goals. Each organization carries out its own analysis for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT ). The analysis then helps the organization to identify the quality they possess.

    The analysis helps the company focus and improve on any weaknesses, and convert these into strengths.

    The tools can be implemented to reduce costs by eliminating all the production complexities.

  4. Minimizes errors – Suppliers play a very vital role in the manufacturing process of each organization. They directly influence the productivity of the company as a whole.

    In case there is a delay in the delivery of raw materials by them, then there would be a delay in the whole production cycle. Lean Six Sigma lowers the error levels. Thus the suppliers for each process can be reduced effectively.

  5. Speeds up turnaround times – The amount of time taken for the manufacturing process as a whole known as cycle time can be reduced with the help of Lean Six Sigma.

    When a company wants to increase its productivity, it would need to lower its cycle time. But one thing that companies should avoid is proceeding without proper planning.

    Proper planning can lead to solving complex problems before they begin. This includes understanding the crossing of deadlines and preserving customer relationships before they become strained.

    By going on with the principles of Lean Six Sigma, companies can easily lower the cycle time and deliver products at a much faster rate.

Lean Six Sigma has become popular in recent times as a consequence of its high success rates. Organizations around the world adopt these tools and techniques.

Organizations putting Lean Six Sigma to use are on the way to reaching their goals and organizational vision.

Leslie Wilder

I’m a Creative Writer, I’m also a a self-proclaimed happiness junkie,and someone you would generally consider confident and well balanced. I would say it is more accurate to say that I live a normal life along with all the usual stresses that come with life and running a business. But. no matter how messy my hair is, or how much falling apart I seem to be doing at the moment, I LOVE IT ALL!

Source: ReadWrite