15 things Lean Six Sigma will bring to my Business

By Paul Swift

Another favourite question that I was asked this week by an employee working in my client’s organization was the one above. He asked me for one thing, so I gave him 15 !

Optimizing opportunity is the name of the game with #lean six sigma. Moving faster and with quality in mind, lowering cost and waste in the process, will have you reaping rewards in no time. Make the most of the fact that some of your competitors are rather ‘slow pokes’

You might be having all sorts of questions at this point, like: What does Lean Six Sigma bring to business? What is the value propositions really? Why do it?

Many have defines Lean Six Sigma as the streamlining of manufacturing processes to get the most out of equipment, inventory, and people.

To keep things really simple, Lean Six Sigma (or LSS), has a base premise and overall goal ‘to get more done with less’ This is effectively done, by

  • minimizing inventory
  • at and through all stages of production
  • eliminating waste,
  • reducing wait times, queues
  • shortening product cycle times from raw materials to finished goods.
  • Improving quality and reducing variation

LSS processes involves some real positive, productive changes in businesses that will have a measurable impact on the bottom line.

Benefits of LSS could include

  • Reduced lead time, wait time and cycle time
  • Liberated capital
  • Increased profit margins
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved product quality
  • Just-in-time, affordable, streamlined, cost-efficient processes, products and services
  • Improved on-time shipments
  • Customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Employee retention

As a business, regardless of the scope, range, condition, small, large, start-up, growing or expanding, improvement, quality and time, cost and waste all matter. LSS affords you the opportunity to ensure your business grows stronger, quicker, consistently, getting higher value and improving competitiveness. Effectively positioning yourself above the masses and mediocrity.

What is Lean Six Sigma and which tools can I use in my business?

LSS is an on-going process. This approach and paradigm focusing on time and quality, cost and waste reduction, streamlining operations can assist you in reducing inventories, work-in-process (often referred to as WIP), required floor space, cycle times and lead times.

LSS (even when combined with business improvement efforts such as Six Sigma methods and discipline), can lead to meaningful and measurable improvements, quality. Most of the tools focus on really simple concepts and are easy to use and implement. It focuses on the visible, what you can see, change and control. It does connect steps, processes and people. It spots waste, problems and allows us all to identify, spot and deal with errors quicker and more effectively, saving more money in the process!

There is nothing really complex or mysterious about it. Everyone can apply it to your business, no matter what industry you are in. It does not have to be intricate and only set aside for a chosen few. It can be a great tool to mobilize your organization.

The basic toolkit of LSS has basic tools (which we will get to), that will consistently and constantly enable you to change ineffective processes to smoothly operating and flowing production lines. It provides everyone the opportunity to ‘take control’ and pride in the work that they do. It is a hands-on enabler. When people understand how and what affects process and outcome and take a cause-effect, analytical approach to things around them, like work-processes for example, a whole new world of understanding, accountability and change erupts! It reenergizes your business and when the rewards start trickling in, everyone partakes and shares in the success and results.

On myth that needs dispelling right off the bat is that LSS is ONLY for high-volume or standardized processes. This is simply misleading and far from the truth. LSS is versatile and robust enough to be applied in any context on any process in numerous forms. Batch operations, mixed model production systems, shift-by-shift changes, switching of dyes etc. all qualify! Whether you are making appliances, light bulbs, providing a service or niche product, LSS can help you in all aspects of your business, even financial, transactional, ordering, inventory and HR processes (payroll, hiring etc.)

You pick your priority, streamlining operations, improving productivity, eliminating waste, LSS has a tool for that!

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i&iPaul SwiftLean Six Sigma