Rocking Your Lean Six Sigma Start-Up

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The premise of implementing Lean into an organization is to get a product from the beginning to the end with as few constraints as possible.

Many organizations begin Lean initiatives with the following goals: to gain a competitive edge over their competitors, to reduce waste within their system, and to supply customers their products on time and within specification.

The reality of this subject is that many organizations do not truly understand the nature of Lean Six Sigma and what it takes to get a brand new Lean system successfully off the ground so that it becomes part of the organization’s culture.

Ultimately, “Lean” means speed. The premise of implementing Lean into an organization is to get a product from the beginning to the end with as few constraints as possible. There are many bottlenecks within an organization that may not be recognizable until a Lean initiative is implemented. With the tools provided by such an initiative, an organization can rid itself of rework, excessive inventory, waiting or stagnation, unnecessary movements, overages due to poor downstream metrics and over employment.

The very first thing an organization must realize before ever trying to implement any type of waste reduction initiative is that the initiative and the support must come from the top. If you are a plant manager or business owner that handles the day to day business, you and you alone have the power to make or break a Lean initiative.

If a plant manager or company president is not willing to sacrifice his or her own time to learn Lean Six Sigma and go beyond the three-hour course offered at a local college, then the initiative will never work. The number one reason I have seen these initiatives fail is lack of knowledge and support from the top. A president or plant manager cannot hire a consultant to come in for a month or two and train key personnel on Lean Six Sigma, and then expect the employees to change the culture within the organization themselves. The leaders of the organization set the tone for the company and if they are not “all-in,” then the culture of Lean Six Sigma will not “stick.”

Lean is a cultural movement in that everything an organization does can benefit from Lean. Personnel in accounting, production, quality, customer service, maintenance, IT and even the cleaning crew will benefit from understanding and implementing Lean into their daily routines. Every person in the organization must be on board and the organization’s most influential leaders must be at the helm so that all the other associates can see the importance and the impact that Lean can provide when implemented and used correctly.

While detailing the actual tools of Lean Six Sigma is outside the scope of this article, my purpose is for upper management to understand that in order to get the most out of your Lean Six Sigma start-up initiative, you must first be willing to learn the tools and methodologies, and you must be willing to eliminate constraints in order for the culture to change and the Lean initiative to “stick.” You can get more information about Lean Six Sigma by using the “search” feature here at MetaOps MagEzine.


Additional Reading

Improving the Order Entry Process with Lean Six Sigma

Integrated Lean Six Sigma and Collaborative Leadership of the E2E Supply Chain


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