It can be deeply frustrating to run a business knowing that the operation itself is flawed and costing you time, money or compromising quality. The good news is that there are ways to make changes that significantly reduce and, hopefully, eventually eradicate such problems. There are a range of strategies out there. Here at WLP, we chose to use one or a combination of these two internationally recognised techniques – Lean and Six Sigma, collectively Lean Six Sigma.
Both approaches are incredibly useful when you need to improve how cost-effectively your business meets customer expectations. Used together, they are incredibly powerful.
So how do they work and how are they employed by companies’ intent on operating more efficiently?
Taking the Lean approach will mean you look to significantly simplify any delivery process. By examining the components that make up your operation, you can find out where the activities that don’t add to your product and your service are. This process of deconstructing your operation means you can consider each part of your process and company behaviour in turn, and then identify what can be eliminated. You’ll see your operation streamlined and your costs lowered. A win-win for your business, as it was for the Toyota Manufacturing System which so successfully employed this approach.
Six Sigma works differently. The genesis of this approach was by Motorola in the 1980s, who were looking for a way to compete with the quality and reliability of Sony and other Japanese supplied electrical devices, such as the Walkman. It works by minimising the variability of products or services, and solves those problems that repeated efforts have failed to solve. By using this technique you can zone in on quality and make sure the service or product you are providing is the best it can be.
Given the effectiveness of both approaches, imagine the potent combination they are. Time and time again they prove to be a powerful toolbox that can help any business achieve better quality and consistency, as well as improved delivery with reduced costs. The effect in the long term is to lead your company towards a more harmonious and profitable business future.
We regularly achieve improvements worth between £50k – £1m per annum in SMEs.
Here is an example of success using Lean Six Sigma: Efficiency Savings Boost Bottom Line
If you are intrigued by Lean Six Sigma and how the approach might be applied in your business, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org. Our consultants Steve Palmer & Jay Ereira will be happy to provide further information.