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Applying Kaizen Principles to Six Sigma Implementation Projects

Mar 24, 2008
Even though the implementation techniques and tools put into practice by Black Belts could differ, Kaizen is by far the basic methodology used for such purposes. Additionally, it has been observed that principles of Lean Six Sigma are time and again merged with Kaizen concepts for providing faster and much better results.

Kaizen Basics

Six Sigma and Kaizen are said to be alike as they both are based on the principle that every organization is composed of a series of business processes, which have to be changed occasionally to accomplish better quality and efficiency.

The following are some basic Kaizen procedures Black Belts put into practice for identifying problem areas and looking for operational results.

Identifying Key Problem Areas

During this procedure, the Black Belt and their team members focus their strengths on recording the various features of the business process for making the identification process considerably faster and easier. After the various elements of the given process are recorded, it turns out to be very easy for the implementation team to identify problem areas and advise corrective measures to solve them.

Mapping of the process is useful in recording the aspects of a complex business process that has many sub-processes or sub-parts.

Getting the Timing Right

Analysis of the time value is conducted whenever the efficiency of a particular business process relies on the time spent for completing various sub-processes within the main one. This helps the Black Belts in weighing the actual time taken for the process against the standards that have been set. When the less efficient sub-process is identified, the Black Belts use the previous process maps for identifying the problem areas causing the slowdown, contained by the sub-process.

Focusing On Key Processes

There are instances where, due to limited time, it is impossible to evaluate every business process. In times like these, Black Belts employ value stream mapping for recognizing processes that offer maximum value and the ones that offer minimum value. Value stream mapping is very helpful whenever there is some improvement in quality that has to be carried out in a diminutive time for making it easier for Black Belts to focus their quality improvement programs only on maximum value providing processes.

This procedure is usually used in organizations where the real number of low value processes is considerably larger than the high value processes. This procedure may not be necessary in organizations with fewer processes or in organizations with high value processes.

Every Kaizen procedure illustrated above can be independently or simultaneously used on the basis of the type of business process in question. The Black Belts can always put their innovative skills and experience to use in conjunction with the given procedures to easy identify and solve critical issues with regard to Six Sigma implementation projects.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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