TQM, six sigma & lean manufacturing

Apr 22, 2014

Lean Six Sigma vs Six Sigma

There is always a debate in the business world between lean six sigma and six sigma what is the best suitable process to implement when it comes to organizing processes pertaining to business and eliminating wastes. Both these systems have their supporters, claiming theirs to be the best. For clearly understanding the debate, it is essential that the differences between the two systems should be understood. Let us figure out and get deep into this: Six sigma fundamentals: The main objective of Six Sigma is the elimination of wastes and defects for ensuring that efficiency and quality improvement is possible by streamlining processes. Initially, even though it was designed for use in manufacturing, it was quickly identified that it can be useful when applied to all aspects of a business; right from introduction of product/service to providing the appropriate support to customers post sales process. Nowadays, it plays a critical role in leadership and large-scale implementation of this system will be helpful for a company to achieve measurable results. What is Lean Six Sigma? This methodology is also used by companies in production and other processes. The purpose behind its usage is cutting down any unwanted steps in the process of product manufacture in such a way that steps that can directly add value to the products. When the unwanted processes are removed, the production can be quickened as well. When it comes to the lean approach, the only ideal method for determining if something has value or not is to find out whether a customer will be ready to pay for it. Combining both: Both have the same objective. Both of them try to eliminate waste and aim at creating the most efficient system possible. But, different approaches are taken by them for the achievement of the goal. The important difference is that they discover the fundamental reason behind the waste in a different manner. It is believed by lean practitioners that wastes arise out of unwanted steps in the process of manufacturing. These unwanted steps do not even add value to the product. On the other hand, it is pointed out by Six Sigma supporters that wastes can differ based on the variations taking place within the processes. The fact is that both of them can be highly helpful and this is the reason behind many businesses using them and is suggesting their employees to join in six sigma green belt certification and black belt programs. Experts suggest that these training programs can be very helpful in quality management for businesses. They suggest the following reasons as to why this tool should be used. When the employees are provided with the appropriate training, they can make use of statistical data for ensuring optimum profits to their employers. The usage of data can also help in meeting the satisfaction of customers with respect to quality of products. It will also be possible for them to compare each and every process within the organization. This will ensure better assessment. The training can enable efficient use of working force and their abilities. Differences between lean six sigma and six sigma: Wastes can be eliminated when both the techniques are applied. The team of personnel trained under the lean technique can focus on improving the speed of the process by effectively reducing wastes. On the other hand, team working on six sigma can focus on eliminating chronic problems. Both these teams can implement DMAIC and DMADV in an efficient manner and prove to be valuable assets to their companies. To conclude based on comparison, it purely depends on the requirement of the employer whether they provide training to their employees in six sigma or lean. Even though, removal of unwanted wastes is essential, unwanted problems arising in the processes can create issues in the whole process itself. So, many employers prefer six sigma certification over lean training. In today's education scenario, since the online learning or e-learning became popular, professionals need not travel all the way to the venue of the training institutes and straight away pursue online training for this kind of course. Care should be taken whether the institute is accredited to ASQ examination body or not. Any registered institute is termed as ATO.
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Apr 21, 2014

How to Reduce Processing Time By 50% in your Office ?

Since 1973, family owned Dalco Metals of Walworth has been a premier supplier of flat-rolled steel-processing services to manufacturers throughout the Midwest. John Ring, executive vice president of Dalco, credits this long-term success to the company’s focus on the customer’s needs, close relationships with suppliers, and constant attention to quality in every manufacturing and business process. “About eight years ago, it seemed that everything pointed toward adopting lean manufacturing methods: a customer recommended we look into lean manufacturing, a classmate in my MBA program recommended 5S (a lean method), and I attended the Manufacturing. Matters! conference and participated in a Lean workshop presented by WMEP. 5S is not a static tool – Dalco Metals continually works at sustaining the changes they’ve made and to continually find new ways to make the process better, cleaner, faster and less expensive. “Dalco Metals is a great example of what it takes to generate the benefits of Lean manufacturing over the long-term,” said Thiltgen. “Many companies start lean programs, but lack the stamina and commitment it takes to fully realize the benefits gained when Lean is a way of life. Dalco Metals has tremendous executive support of Lean – it’s a part of everyone’s job.” Chuck Ferguson, inside sales and applications manager, agrees. “The ‘sustain’ part of the program is the toughest part. We are trying to ingrain the 5S mentality in everyone’s minds here at Dalco and I think it is working. As long as we have the support of the management, Dalco will continue to operate at peak efficiency.”
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Jul 22, 2012

Lean Manufacturing Concept VS Traditional Quality Concept

Have you ever thought "quality products are expensive"? You might be prepared to pay some extra money for a high quality product. I believe you have taken the correct move. It is always better to buy a better quality product or service than a low quality one. But I have a small problem regarding your concept about higher price you are paying. Why you should pay extra money to get good quality product. Strange question isn't it? But I believe it is very much a valid question. I do not believe that you have to pay extra money for the quality. I will explain why. There are two types of manufacturers around. One is quality manufacturers. They produce quality products and services. Lean manufacturers are naturally quality manufacturers. The other type is average manufacturers. They produce average quality products. They pick best from these products. These selected products are high in quality of cause. Then they sell these products as high quality products. Remember these are not quality manufacturers. They are quality pickers. When your manufacturer is a quality manufacturer, you will be paying only for the products you are buying. It is obvious isn't it? You will pay only for the products that you buy. But when you buy a product manufactured by a quality picker, you are paying for the other low quality products as well. Have you thought before? You are actually paying for the product you are buying, and you are also paying for the products which are removed in selecting best quality products from the bunch of average quality products. The cost of low quality products are added to the high quality product. That is why most of the manufacturers will say "High quality products are costly". If this is a lean manufacturer he will say "Cost is free" instead.
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Jul 14, 2012

Lean Six Sigma and Productivity

Lean Six Sigma is all about improving quality and minimizing errors. It can help to speed up manufacturing and most any other business process. This is mostly because it creates an infrastructure of people in an organization that are experts at their given level of Six Sigma knowledge. They have a specific job, know how to carry it out and will help reduce cost and increase profit. This is their main mission. Since 1986, this method has been working. There are six steps to the process that have to be carried out exactly for it to work properly. These steps concentrate on getting more out of less work and eliminating the defects that exist in product development. It basically accelerates the decision making process within the company. In today's economy, that is priceless. Most companies these days could use more production with less pay. With big companies like Toyota adopting this philosophy, its success is easy to recognize. By identifying waste, transportation issues, inventory issues and equipment failures, companies can significantly cut costs and speed up production. Many times it can cut costs by 50%. In this economy, that is amazing. It can actually help to eliminate layoffs. Employees find that adopting this methodology a much better solution to declining sales, especially when they get to keep their jobs. Since Lean Six Sigma focuses on management, it works. The employees will not only accept the changes but will be less frustrated in the end. They will be able to do their job and do it much easier. In fact, using the Six Sigma process will end up creating stronger communication between management and the employees. When tensions are very high, this can really be a blessing. No company really likes to have problems with communication between management and employees. The strategies are simple. They include defining, measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling for process improvement. This is otherwise known as the DMAIC method. When these elements are attended to, they can be powerful tools for identifying and eliminating waste in process and productivity. This method minimizes inputs and wasteful outputs, and will result in overwhelming inventory at lower cost. When productivity is low and stagnate, a new way of management needs to be developed. That is just the way manufacturing works. Changing things up can accomplish a lot and sometimes be so vital that the future of the company may be in jeopardy without it. Having the proper training and implementing a new process can take time and money, but in the end it is very much worth it.
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Jul 9, 2012

Steps to Improving Cycle Time

Step 1-Define the Needs of the Customer Any customer or client-based business should understand that the overall success or failure of their endeavor relies almost entirely on how well they can satisfy the needs of the customer or client. One of the many goals of the Six Sigma Methodology is a happy client. Whether a business is product or service based, all customers have expectations about how they should be serviced or how their products should be manufactured. Defining the needs of the customer is important when trying to improve cycle time as nothing should be compromised that is necessary to meet customer requirements. For example, it would be unwise to skip a specific manufacturing procedure to save time when the procedure itself is what brings an item on an assembly line within the target specs designated by the customer. Step 2- Identify Problem Areas Once you have a clear understanding of which areas of a process are absolutely essential for meeting customer demand, you probably also have a general idea of which parts of a process might not be as important. Granted, every stop on an assembly line serves some sort of constructive purpose, but it is often the case that two or three steps in a procedure can be abbreviated or combined to save time and cut back on costs. Step 3-Eliminate Undesirable Aspects of Production Once the problem areas have been identified, considerations can begin being made about removing these problems from production. As previously stated, it isn't uncommon for tasks to simply be combined or altered in some minor way. However, it is of great importance that attention is paid to how removing or changing any aspect of production will result in a change in the overall efficiency and output variation of the process in question. An improvement in cycle time is important to achieve, but not at the expense of the entire company! Step 4-Test for Efficiency After actual Six Sigma changes have been put in place, steadily monitoring the process is crucial. Even with modern day dashboards and data processing, it is possible that a change in production methods - even if intended to be beneficial - could result in a higher percentage of defective finished products. As soon as it can be determined that the process is indeed stable, monitoring can become more casual.
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Jul 8, 2012

Quality Control Circle (QCC)

A quality control circle is a small group of workers who come together to discuss ways of identifying, analyzing, solving, and selecting work related issues. More than 95% of work related problems can be resolved using various QC tools. Some of the tools used are the cause and effect diagram, check sheets, scatter diagram, control charts, pareto diagrams, stratification, histograms, and graphs. For a quality control circle to be implemented the management has to be informed about the intentions of the group of workers that plan on meeting and approval must be granted by the management. A committee is set up, and persons to fill principal positions are selected. Principal members of a circle include the Facilitator, the Team leader, the Secretary, and members. After the selection process, the scope of focus point is defined and effort is channeled towards resolving issues in that sector. Circle coordinators are trained extensively in order that they may efficiently execute their various roles. Employees are then invited to become members of the quality control circle and are trained accordingly by coordinators. The aim of the QCC is to discuss problems in the company and come up with possible solutions to those problems. Hence problems are discussed and solved systematically. It is important that practical solutions be reviewed by the company's administration and implemented without delay. As the circle grows, different circles emerge, and the higher a member rises, more sensitive issues are dealt with. These programs must be functional in all sectors of a company. For the circle to run efficiently, the employees have to be given the power to make decisions, and the solutions they come up with have to be implemented. The management has to approve and support the program by making time available for meetings, and if necessary, training of members. Also participation must be voluntary and team work must be present for the problems to be effectively resolved. QC circles have the same structure of quality improvement systems like Kaizen, Six Sigma, and ISO 9000. Hence, it is important that these circles be part of the company's total quality management (TQM) initiative. With active quality control circles in place, there is a reduction of quality lapses due to heightened quality awareness in the company. There will be an increase in output with the elimination of certain delays due to bottlenecks which translates to a higher profit for the company.
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Jul 1, 2012

Creative Problem Solving Techniques

Do you ever need to find some good ideas, or come up with a solution for a persistent problem? Learn some simple problem solving techniques, and start applying them. Choose a few of the methods below, and get in the habit of using them in your personal life and your business. Problem Solving Techniques 1. Clarify what a successful solution is, and that will guide your efforts. In fact, sometimes just clarifying the desired outcome will suggest immediate solutions. 2. Get opinions and/or advice from several people. They might have good ideas, and you'll be sure you're not overlooking the obvious. Also, you clarify a problem when you explain it, and that may help in itself. 3. Challenge assumptions. Are you trying to solve the wrong problem? Do you really need a vacation, or is your job the problem? Don't let your assumptions limit your possible solutions. 4. Break it into parts, and solve the parts individually. Many problems are really a collection of smaller, easier-to-solve problems. 5. Change perspectives. What would the problem look like if you were rich, poor, or from another planet. Einstein imagined riding on a beam of light, which lead to his theory of relativity, so this technique has been known to work. 6. Solve the problems while you sleep. Leave a tape recorder or pen and paper next to the bed for those middle-of-the-night ideas. 7. Write it down, and then find another way to express the problem. Write down all solutions and ideas that come to mind. Later you can pick the diamonds out of the dirt. 8. Try "random presentation." This is a fun one. Randomly pick an object and ask what it might teach you about your problem. A speed limit sign might suggest that you're growing your company too fast, for example. Don't be too dismissive of all the silly ideas this technique creates, as they'll sometimes trigger more useful ideas. This is also great for putting driving time to good use. 9. Look at what others have done. Problems aren't usually unique in every aspect. What have others done in similar situations? 10. Look at ways to cause the problem. Too much stress? Find ways to cause more stress. Over-promise, sleep poorly, be constantly interrupted, leave many decisions unmade, and so on. Each way to cause stress can suggest solutions: Fewer promises, sleep more, don't allow interruptions, make decisions now, etc. The Key To Solving Problems Some of these problem solving techniques will work for you. The key is to get in the habit of using them. Do they require a little work? Sure, but isn't work better than worry?
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