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8 Basics Of Lean Six Sigma For Manufacturing Firms

Jun 5, 2008
To achieve sustained and tangible growth, it is crucial for companies to embrace Lean Six Sigma for manufacturing.

Six Sigma is a philosophy of doing business by focusing to eliminate defects, reducing waste and increasing speed. Six Sigma tools are used to improve processes in all the departments like Sales, Marketing, Production, Administration, and so on. It helps to give a quality performance by understanding customer requirements and improvement in products and process, using internal resources.

Lean manufacturing allows value addition to business by reorganizing operations, reducing inventory, reducing floor space requirements and reducing waste. For manufacturing companies, the combination of Lean and Six Sigma provides the tool needed to meet high demand with superior quality product in minimum possible time.

This combination focuses on continuous improvement resulting in a steady flow of benefits. It initiates organizations to do better things, innovate and benefit from cost reduction, inventory reduction, shorter cycle times and greater flexibility. It facilitates immediate response to customer demands.

To succeed, companies should start with the basics. Without the knowledge and use of the basics, the companies can hardly dream of attaining full growth and maximizing profits.

The eight basics of Lean Six Sigma for manufacturing firms that all managers should know are as follows:

1. Information Accuracy: Any system is bound to fail if it is based on inaccurate data and inappropriate documentation. Upper management will become disillusioned with the implementation if the results that are expected are not achieved.

2. Performance Management: A balanced scorecard is often successful in motivating key employees to perform. Individual goal setting provides little or no contribution to the growth of the organization.

3. Continuous Production Lines: Using the simple technique of sequential production, organizations can make timely deliveries and gain substantial profit margins.

4. Production point Logistics: Cutting down existing inventory and making an attempt to move production parts and components to their point of use can prove to be substantial cost savers.

5. Shorter cycle times: By eliminating waste in production, companies are able to manufacture goods quickly. Long cycle times lead to high non-value added costs.
6. Smooth schedules and linear production: Many companies sabotage their own profit margins due to delays in production scheduling. Maintaining constant emphasis on the achievement of daily targets is necessary. It will create awareness among the team of how critical it is to execute timely production planning details.

Managers have to use their skill to ensure successful linear production.

7. Resource Planning: Timely planning with the appropriate workforce size is necessary. By adopting a lean approach, market share can go up due to improvements in quality and lead time.

By reallocating employees onto other avenues rather than laying them off due to efficient processes, staff will become more confident in the organization.

8. Customer Satisfaction: Customer Satisfaction has to be grounded in reality, and cannot simply be perception-based. All communication regarding actual quality of products and expectations should flow directly from customers.

Companies will achieve profitable growth by following these basics. Once the areas of improvement are identified, planning and implementation need to be aggressively pursued. This will form a good groundwork for future planning and profitable growth.
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 including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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