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Feb 15, 2010

LEAN SIX SIGMA

Lean Six Sigma is also referred to as Lean manufacturing, Lean enterprise, Lean service, etc. Lean has been successfully put to use in different industries ranging from manufacturing to service, and sometimes even by customer service centers.
The main goal of implementing the Lean Six Sigma concept is to speed up the processes without affecting the quality. This can be done by the elimination of unnecessary steps or wastage in the processes.
Quality is maintained by the thorough study of the processes based on the data and putting controls in place which help to retain the quality of the products and services. The basis of Six Sigma improvement decisions is the customers and their needs.
The implementation of Lean Six Sigma helps reduction in the operational cost involved in various processes. If you consider a manufacturing unit, obsolete inventory and excess raw material are a major cause of concern.
These can be eliminated to a large extent by using Lean Six Sigma tools like 5S for the elimination of waste. To undertake process improvement, the Six Sigma concept identifies the CTQ for any process - and ensures that the changes are brought about without duplicating sub-processes.
Lean Six Sigma also promotes the need to train the employees to acquaint them with the different tools and techniques of Lean Six Sigma. The training helps to prepare them for the project implementation.
The training covers most of the members at different levels of the organization like the process owners to the top management. Mentors can assist other team members in understanding the minute details about the implementation, which will ensure the effectiveness of the entire project at all levels.
Benefits of Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques are beneficial to companies by reducing the cycle times required for different processes and improving the overall productivity and capacity of existing processes.
It helps to reduce the operational costs involved in processes like production, where the inventory holding cost for obsolete stock take up a major chunk of the profits.
The use of tools like Value Stream Mapping helps quick identification of the improvement opportunities that exist in various processes. However, it may not be useful for the resolution of highly complex issues.
Six Sigma concepts that are aimed to achieve customer satisfaction and delight are useful to achieve high quality levels for the products and services. Customer retention and continual improvement can be achieved by execution of the projects under the expert guidance of Six Sigma Black Belts and Champions.
Integrated Lean Six Sigma projects can bring about tangible and visible results in an even shorter period of time. The winner is the customer, who will get quality products and services achieved by the integrated approach thanks to Lean Six Sigma.