Customers care about high-quality products at affordable prices, but they also are willing to pay more for products produced by companies that illustrate corporate stewardship. Samuel Silva, a Lean Six Sigma black belt at HiPower Systems, realized this trend and put together references for understanding how to combine the concept of Lean and the concept of Six Sigma to maximize efficiencies, reduce waste, eliminate unnecessary movements and improve quality. Combining these two concepts is an ingenious way to capitalize on improvements on all fronts. “Lean Six Sigma involves five distinct steps: define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC),” says Silva.
Most organizations use Six Sigma in a small way; however, it is not the implementation that causes the benefit, rather the continual feedback that allows companies to refine processes. Many quote DMAIC; however it is in the companies that truly embrace the process, from top to bottom, that realize the benefits. Six Sigma is a framework that requires diligence and patience. Its effectiveness is proven through validated results, either financial or customer feedback.
Silva notes that there are eight core competencies necessary for successful Lean Six Sigma implementation:
- Organizations must have a compelling reason for implementing Lean Six Sigma.
- Senior management must be 100% invested in and committed to achieving Lean Six Sigma.
- Companies must be willing to invest in appropriate, qualified resources for the initiative, whether those resources are employees, materials, technologies or a combination.
- Stakeholders and participants must work together as a team.
- Team members must be empowered to carry out initiatives without the need for constant evaluation and approval.
- Organizations must commit sufficient time and resources to training, which is crucial to achieving a positive outcome.
- When companies work on their priorities, they should focus not only on improvements that create change quickly but also on improvements that have the most impact on quality.
- The feedback loop is pivotal to incremental and long-lasting improvement and cannot be bypassed.
After these requirements have been met, and the Lean Six Sigma process has been in place for awhile, a company can expect a wide range of benefits. Lean Six Sigma increases the overall value to the customer, recognizes innovation within a firm, and positions companies to be more competitive within an industry. It has been shown to not only increase workforce productivity, but also to improve employee morale. As for the financial side,there have been documented savings of $2,000 to billions of dollars per improvement. The U.S Army recognizes Lean Six Sigma as saving them almost $14 billion.
How do one go about becoming proficient in Lean Six Sigma techniques? The Master of Science Lean Manufacturing program offered by Kettering University Online delivers the manufacturing process knowledge and Six Sigma skills needed to improve quality output, streamline processes and reduce waste on a global level. Ready to get started? Fill out the form on this page for more information.