If you are planning to start your own business or you have already started and you aim to increase your productivity and profit, then you might be familiar or you probably have been introduced to Six Sigma —the concept which aims to produce almost 100% defect free goods. Over time, several methodologies that aim to develop certain system in business that increases productivity, reducing defective products and improve the decision-making strategy emerged, hence giving birth to Lean Six Sigma philosophy.
What is Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma, also referred to as Lean Sigma, is a union or a combination of the concepts of two known business strategies — Six Sigma system of Motorola and lean manufacturing. As you probably know, Six Sigma aims to find out and get rid of defects in the production process. On the other hand, lean manufacturing is a business strategy that focuses on making and increasing value with less work. Therefore, Lean Six Sigma is a business technique that helps speed up the decision-making process of a company while decreasing inefficiencies in the production and increasing the quality of the products.
The Six Sigma, developed by Motorola, is a kind of management strategy for business that depends on statistical analysis to enhance or improve the production process of the company. The concept is used to count the number of defects that happens in the production process and finds out how far the number deviates from the target outcome. Through defining, measuring and analyzing the processes in business, Six Sigma was successful in improving the effectiveness of a business’ operations and the quality of the products suits the needs of the customers.
Conversely, the Lean Six Sigma manufacturing management strategy aims to improve the production process of an organization by decreasing the costs in product development. The consideration of the product value in Lean Six Sigma manufacturing is based on the perspective of the consumers. Moreover, the concept of Lean Six Sigma also questions all the necessities of the costs related to product development. The concepts of lean manufacturing were derived from the Japanese manufacturing industry and Lean Six Sigma became a popular strategy in business after being adopted by Toyota Motor Corporation.
Wastes determined by Lean Manufacturing
When Toyota adopted lean manufacturing, they were able to determine three kinds of wastes, namely: muri, pertaining to wasteful design; mura, referring to wasteful implementation; and muda, concerning with the wasteful activities. Lean manufacturing gives great attention to wasteful activities than the inefficiency of design or production process. With this, Toyota was able to find out the seven deadly wastes in the activity than in the design and production. The said wastes are: defects on products, concerns in overproduction, flaws in time management, over-processing, issues in inventory control, transportation issues and needless movement or transfer or people of equipment. Important costs may be attached to each kind of waste, and these costs are most likely going to be passed on to the buyers, hence decreasing the value of the product.
Lean Six Sigma and the organization structure
When Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma manufacturing are combined, the different concepts of the two strategies will help in increasing the production speed while decreasing the variations of the production. The methodology of lean manufacturing is commonly used by the leaders of an organization and engineers to fine-tune the daily operations and Six Sigma is used to support the innovations and modifications in the production process. Hence, while lean manufacturing is helping in lessening the waste in production, Six Sigma is helping to create or design procedures that can increase the quality of the products.
With this, in Lean Six Sigma managers can address issues related to cost, speed and quality effectively than focusing on eliminating processes that seem wasteful or spend a lot of time trying and designing innovative options. Lean Six Sigma creates balance between the worth of each methodologies from where they came from.
Benefits of Lean Six Sigma
The companies and organizations that decide to apply methodologies relating to lean manufacturing and Six Sigma will be able to lessen the cost of their operations and can survive unstable and chaotic economy. Any costs or expenses in operations due to maintenance of additional inventory will be greatly lessened. Moreover, the strategy helps reduce time that is usually spent to clear orders of customers, plus, there will also be fewer complaints from the buyers. Lean Six Sigma also pays attention on providing employees training to the extent that they’ll be familiar with the techniques and tools that will be applied and used.
Using Lean Six Sigma brings a lot of benefits. One of the primary benefits of the strategy is that Lean Six Sigma will involve the usage of more advanced techniques and tools to help companies and organizations decrease times of the production cycle, lessen costs in operations, expand the capacity and enhance the general production. The Lean Six Sigma will also require the company employees to work as a team to attain success which will result to having more well-rounded employees who are in totality a lot happier than employees who work alone.
Through learning about how Lean Six Sigma can be used and implemented to reduce and eradicate waste in the aspect of inventory, businesses, companies and organizations can effectively streamline their operations which will in turn make them more efficient.