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How The Packaging Industry Is Benefiting From Lean Six Sigma

Apr 9, 2008
However, associating Lean with just the big boys is certainly not the right thing to do - because the reality is that Lean is quite versatile and can be implemented by any business organization, irrespective of its size.

For proof, you just need to have a look at some of the relatively smaller businesses such as a packaging firm that might have implemented Lean Six Sigma.

For better understanding, we'll focus specifically on this particular industry and find out exactly how it is benefiting from Lean Six Sigma.

Packaging Materials: A Major Contributor to Overall Costs

In the packaging industry, packaging materials are like raw materials - and as such, contribute significantly to the overall packaging costs. However, that should not be a cause for concern because if a packaging firm were able to make even a small percentage change, it would result in a significant reduction in overall costs.

Additionally, since the packaging company will only be required to concentrate on a single cost component, the probability of achieving the desired results will increase dramatically. These are the very reasons why the packaging industry is nowadays becoming increasingly dependent on Lean Six Sigma. Lean helps because it streamlines the existing packaging processes, allowing businesses to make the best possible use of existing manpower.

As processes become more and more streamlined over time, businesses will no longer be required to hire additional manpower, something that automatically results in huge cost savings.

Depending on existing market demand, businesses can also launch retrenchment schemes once the desired level of efficiency has been achieved using Lean Six Sigma.

Maintaining Quality: The Primary Client Requirement

Clients of packaging firms expect and demand the best possible quality in the least possible costs and this is why most packaging firms have implemented Lean inside their organization. Lean helps because it is designed for the very same purpose (i.e. reducing costs without affecting the quality of the final outcome).

This becomes a possibility because Lean stresses conducting detailed analysis of all the components or say raw materials that might contribute towards the making of the final product. The analysis is done to find which components affect the quality the most and others that only play a minor role. This helps because it allows packaging firms to allocate the available funds mostly to the major quality determinants and spend relatively less on peripheral components and inputs that may not be contributing much to the overall quality of the final outcome.

This eventually results in significant cost savings, especially when a packaging firm takes adequate care to ensure that the Lean analysis is done in the prescribed manner. Inability to do so can adversely affect quality and undermine the very significance of Lean principles.

Lean is a complex system obviously because it aims to achieve that perfect balance of quality and low-cost operations. To get the best results and to avoid Lean disasters, it is recommended that only the experienced Black Belts be given the responsibility of implementing Lean projects, especially in the highly competitive packaging industry.
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 six sigma professionals such as, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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