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Technological Aids For Lean Six Sigma Process Improvements

Feb 26, 2008
Companies like Safeco, who have been ranked among the largest insurance service providers, took nearly a week for making changes in auto policies they issued. However, thanks to Six Sigma, they now have an online, service-and-sales portal where local agents can make real-time changes and cut down on all the business processes.

Process Cycle Efficiency

As stated by Michael L. George, author Lean Six Sigma, the lean techniques concentrate on process cycle efficiency, or PCE, to determine the speed of the process execution

PCE = Value-Added Time / Total Elapsed Time

Lean process generates a process cycle efficiency (PCE) of about 25% or more. Not many businesses are lean enough. It is said that nearly 20% of activities give about 80% of their waste in this process. Lean generally concentrates on increasing process velocity, as it facilitates getting rid of non-value-added activities from the process. These methods, just like stream mapping, also give a methodical way of identifying and eliminating waste.

There are technologies that have prospered after implementing the Lean Improvement method.

1. Wireless Connectivity

Many casualty insurance and property companies have evened out wireless connectivity for claiming adjusters who are caught up in a catastrophic event like an earthquake or tsunami. A wireless connection can help adjusters who remotely enter the information into the claims software system, reducing the time necessary in the business process.

2. The World Wide Web

Web portals have facilitated organizations business processes, from order entry to customer service to logistics that have to be performed by their employees irrespective of the time and place.

3. Digital Documentation

Scanning and digitization allow circulation of digital versions of documents instead of wasting time on moving paper across the company. Digitization makes it possible for processes to effortlessly move paper at geographically long distances. This makes it easier for employees of various geographically dispersed offices to take part in the same workflow.

4. Automated Workflow Systems

There are times when business processes undergo excessive physical movement of paper from one desk to the other. Automated workflow systems avoid keeping work items stagnant, they raise alerts whenever work items have been put on hold for a prolonged time or reroute them if someone is busy. These systems are efficient in detecting the tailbacks in a system.

5. Document Management Systems

Document management systems enable organizations to perform business processes all over the world. Document management systems enable verification of documents for editing, rechecking before completion.

6. Business Process Management Systems

Business process management systems (BPMS) allow integration and streamlining of various software systems that are a part of any business process. With the help of an outline for the business process, these systems facilitate efficiency in business processes in various functions backend software systems, and departments.

7. Online CRM System Systems

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are a part of websites of various organizations. Customers can login and create a trouble ticket online for a support or service request rather than consulting the customer support representatives.

The basic goal of Lean process improvement is to improve PCE and increase process velocity. Many new information technologies have the potential of enhancing efficacy and velocity. This is usually done by reducing waste, averting transportation and manual data entry.
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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