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Using Lean Six Sigma and ACFC for Fueling Business Growth

Feb 4, 2008
This is because when employees develop negative feelings for Lean concepts being implemented, it becomes very difficult for the organization to garner their full support and cooperation, something that is vital for the successful implementation of Lean concepts and methodologies. Large scale employee dissatisfaction can in turn also begin affecting the quality of products or services, something that will be quite ironic because the basic tenets of "Lean" state that quality should never be compromised while undertaking steps to reduce operational costs.

What organizations often fail to comprehend is that the main aim of Lean concepts is to make available unutilized or underutilized capacities, already existing within the organization, which can then be used for delivering new products or services. This is exactly how a Lean organization should try to reduce operational costs rather than reducing the headcount.

Using Lean Techniques Such As ACFC

For reducing operational costs in the right manner, businesses can utilize effective Lean techniques such as ACFC that stands for "At The Customer, For The Customer". This technique was first utilized by the General Electric Company and since then it has proved so effective that it is now being used by many other multinational corporations, including big names such as Siemens, Xerox and 3M. This technique is quite different from conventional Six Sigma techniques and methodologies because it functions as a part of the existing customer environment and directly affects the buying behavior of customers.

Lean projects involving ACFC are managed directly by Green Belts and Black Belts who are required to handle only the most strategic customer accounts so as to improve the performance and quality of the deliverables in accordance with specific customer needs and expectations. Most ACFC projects that need to be completed within a 45-day cycle, and aim at passing on the benefits not only to the customers but also to other related entities such as suppliers. As such, ACFC works best for organizations planning to convert their suppliers into full-time business partners.

How It Works

The aims and objectives of the ACFC technique may be quite different from conventional Six Sigma tools and techniques, but it still relies on some of the traditional Six Sigma methodologies such as DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) and DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify). The ACFC process involves identifying and ranking new revenue generation opportunities, after which the opportunity that holds the most potential for revenue generation is selected for conversion to an implemental Lean Six Sigma project.

To achieve the best possible results from ACFC project implementations, it is necessary to consider the cost factor as well and not only the revenue potential, during the selection process. Once this is done, businesses will have no problems whatsoever in reducing the operational costs and that too, without having to resort to extreme measures such as downsizing.
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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