Lean Manufacturing

War On Paper with Lean Six Sigma

My Declaration of War On Paper

Yes, I have declared the War on Paper! I’m serious.

This is what happened the other day: I started a project with one of my private clients to improve information exchange for new customers between Sales and Production departments. To make it flow easier. They need to have it standardized because of the different facilities and locations of the company. They each have their own way of working that differs from one another.

When I asked them what information exchange they were talking about, they told me about the different reports they both use when a new customer is being entered in their systems.

Then they showed me the reports they use. And that shocked me!

Unbelievable. I just could not believe my eyes!

75 pages of reports these 2 departments have to fill in just because they got a new customer!

75 pages just to start! I would rather have no customers 😉

But there was another BIG thing that stroke me even more.

1. Was it that they make so many reports?

That was certainly a big issue. Of course there is essential information about the customer and their requirements in the reports. You do not want to make a mistake during production, so you want to capture all the important parameters.

2. Was it that they have multiple reports with similar info?

When the Sales department was entering some of the data, Production was entering similar data in another report. What a waste!

That is one of the 8 wastes of Lean Methodology. Entering the same information more than once is a waste of time and a waste of your intellect. In my opinion, it should be avoided at all times! But even that was not the main reason that stoke me and made me worry.

3. Was it that they had been working like this for years?

75 pages of reporting every time you get a new customer costs you a lot of money. Year in year out. You are very busy with meaningless paperwork and you have no time left for other more important tasks. No wonder you feel like that.

The real thing that hit me like a hammer was…

What do you think it was?

In the next issue of our Lean Six Sigma Insider club I am going to explain the key of your frustration as a manager and leader of your organization.

Join us at www.leansixsigmainsider.com and get insight, real-life Lean Six Sigma project examples, hands-on tips and tricks to increase your personal efficiency.

Watch Over My Shoulder As I Show You How to Solve $20,000, $100,000, and Even $1,000,000 Worth of Problems In My Daily Work Using My Unique Method of 80/20 Lean Six Sigma.

You can benefit now from the introductory price and the special bonuses (like one-on-one consultation with me).

Read more details and join the Lean Six Sigma Insider at…


Make greater work.

Warm regards,


What 4 Garbage Trucks Say About Lean Six Sigma?

It is a bit of a hurry each time. I’m not nearly as good as my wife at preparing the kids in the morning. Finally, we make it and get in the car on time.

But there is something else happening every Friday morning: garbage collection.

While many of the fathers (and mothers) rush through the small streets to get their kids to school, the garbage truck blocks the way. Exactly during RUSH HOUR!! Sometimes I take another route the school to avoid the traffic jam caused by the garbage truck, but even then I hit another one. On one Friday I met the truck 4 times between my home, the school and back to my home. Yes, 4 times in one morning! Very annoying.

This made me think about the frequently asked question: “How To Apply Lean Six Sigma?” Obviously, the local authorities do not know Lean Six Sigma because they would ask themselves the question: “How can we serve our customers, the citizens better?” They would realize – during the Define Phase of their Lean Six Sigma project – what the most critical factors are to satisfy their citizens in terms of Quality, Time and Costs. I developed an effective tool for this called Customer Requirement Matrix.

Concerning the Time aspect of the satisfaction, this matrix would show them that although regular collection of garbage is important, the time of the day is less important as long as it does not cause traffic problems. Measuring satisfaction of citizens with respect to garbage collection as the primary metric of the project would show an increase when delaying the time of collection even by 1 hour.

If you want to apply Lean Six Sigma in your work, ask yourself the same question: “How can I serve my customer/client/patient/college better?”

Just think about every aspect of your interaction with your customers.

This is where you start applying Lean Six Sigma.

This is how we do it in our Yellow BeltGreen Belt and Black Belt programs.

Join our programs and you will only spend time on the 20% of the tools that solves 80% of your problems. Forget the rest!

Make greater work.

Warm regards,


Lean Six Sigma Gives You Freedom To Choose

What is your plan for next year?


Are you still in your current job? Do you like it?


Or would you like to make a big step in your career. Maybe you are tired of the daily hassle and you would like to do something totally different.


You’ve spent maybe 5-10-20 years in your industry but you just cannot imagine yourself retiring from your current job.


It is not that you hate your work but you would like new challenges.  Maybe in a different industry.


Money may be important, but it’s not your primary motivation. Perhaps you’re satisfied with your current salary of $35,000 – $ 70,000 but you see the limitations. Earning $ 100 K is a little out of reach for now.


Getting out of your current job and do something really different with an reasonable $100 K or  more is actually what you want.


But how to get there?


You might be paralyzed by the idea of going for a business education program like MBA (Master of Business Administration).


You just don’t have $20,000 – $30,000 to spend and 3 or more years to study and HOPE you can monetize your efforts once…


Personally I would prefer something quicker, practical and cheaper…


I was in the same situation a few years ago.


While studied Chemical Engineering, working for 12 years in Finance, completing my MBA to broaden my chances…still I was not happy.


After getting my Black Belt Certification in Lean Six Sigma doors went open.


And you can get certified as a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma in 1/3 of the time for 87% less


Actually even during my Black Belt training I was exposed to ALL kinds of business problems that had absolutely nothing to do with my prior education nor with my working experience.


My very first Lean Six Sigma project was in production: reduce size variation of a semi-finished product made of yarn.

  • I have never learnt about how to produce that semi finished product
  • I have never worked together on a specific project with machine operators
  • I have never been exposed to solving a production problem


Applying Lean Six Sigma method, following the 5 phases (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) I was able to achieve significant improvements in 6 months:


  • Variation in spiral size reduced for both width and thickness with resp. 26% and 42%
  • Defect rate reduced from 21% to 4% (target was: 7%)
  • Process was simplified
  • Hard savings: $112,500 per year


Do you want to learn Lean Six Sigma and enjoy the freedom to solve almost ANY business problems without any prior knowledge or experience?


Join the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Program starting on 16th of January 2012


Would you like to know more about the certification program, send me your question to peter.herku@gmail.com


Warm regards,


        +31 55 737 00 02




How to Become Customer Oriented with Lean Six Sigma

3 most important elements of customer satisfaction.

Today I will show you how to treat “over-orientation”.

Case Study: Improving Planning

Some weeks ago I started coaching a Lean Six Sigma project team on improving planning efficiency.

This company is a provider of special training and education programs for blind or visual disabled clients. There program consists of more than 35 modules, highly tailor-made, and planned by 11 individual departments.

The current situation:

  1. The planning of the programs is very time consuming work
  2. The customers have lots of waiting time (waste!) before and during the training program,
  3. The trainers have frequently unproductive hours
  4. The program takes almost always longer than expected (bad on-time-delivery performance)

This company was trying everything they could to improve the situation but it went out hand. It was too complex and became even more complex each time they came together to solve the problem.

Customer Oriented…Really?

In their effort to provide their clients a flexible, tailor-made program, they were lost and bound by all the constraints.

I told them that being customer oriented means providing the best possible service not only to the customer in front of you but to all others as well and even to those waiting to be served.

When trying to solve this planning issue the company was mainly focusing on their own point of view: how can we satisfy all the departments, what are the personal requirements of the trainers, what is the best timing for them to provide with training.

Looking inward combined with all the individual requests of the clients made the problem even more difficult to solve.

My advice: Focus

I advised the team to look at this problem from the customers’ point of view.

–          What do they experience?

–          What do they miss?

–          What is their CTS Tree (critical to satisfaction)?

–          Where is the imbalance between quality, time and cost/effort for the clients as they receive their training program?

Concentrating on the output first, trying to quantify its current level (baseline) keeps the team from getting lost right at the beginning.

The team initially had identified 8 metrics to measure the effectiveness of the planning activities. I advised to focus on a maximum of 2 (waiting times and on-time-delivery) to eliminate the overwhelm.

Focusing on only a few but vital issues during the rest of the project execution will ensure quick results within 3 to 5 months and significant reduction of waiting times – normally between 30% to 50% reduction.

Less waiting times, therefore shorter total lead times per customer increases the capacity of this company without investing in resources.

Do you want to achieve more with your current employees and machines?

Is your team looking at the issues from the customers’ point of view?

And are you focused on the on a limited number of vital metrics?

Let me know your stories.  Please share your stories, comments, and questions below.


        +31 55 737 00 02


“Author of Profitable Empowerment”

Lean Six Sigma Setup Time Reduction and Training New Employees

Furthermore, Lean Six Sigma Herku Method is not only transferrable between different industries but it is successfully applicable in all areas’ of your business such as in sales, in marketing, in production, in administration or in human resources.

Why to Be Concerned About Setup Time?

First let’s look at setup time.

Setup time is mainly known in the manufacturing environment. Reduction of setup time – the time required to change from one activity or process to another – provides you with …

–         Higher equipment utilization

–         Increased productivity

–         Lower waiting times

–         Lower batch sizes

–         Reduced inventory

–         Increased capacity

–         More flexibility

Setup time is non-value-adding time; therefore its reduction should be your primary concern.

How to Reduce Setup Time?

Without going into much detail, one of the best way to reduce setup time is to move internal activities (those that require the production activity to be stopped) to external activities (tasks that can be done while running production).

Only the separation of internal and external activities will help you reducing your setup time by 50% with zero additional costs.

Learn more about setup time reduction at http://www.LeanSixSigmaBelts.com/

How to Apply This in HRM?

Improving the training and orientation period of new employee is very important because you are able to deliver the right quality quickly without losing too much of production.

The team also identified that site tour – showing new employee around the workplace, introducing ever important aspect of the work, to show where to find what – is an important part of the training.

The team admitted, that due to time pressure, even such simple yet very important element, is often not completed during the first days of the program.

This led me to ask the question: How much is such site tour different from one occasion to another? Should the site tour be different for the employees of the same job occupation?

The answer was: NO, and if it does, it is not preferred.

That was the trigger to separate the internal and external activities during the training period of a new employee.

While site tour was an internal activity (it was held during production time, therefore reducing productivity) we agreed to make it an external activity.

We are going to shoot several video’s showing around the workplace, explaining all the necessary details that the new employee should know. The video will be put on DVD and/or placed on the secured website of the company.

The new employee will receive the DVD/access during last interview with his/her boss and HR Manager.

The employee is then required to watch those videos and be prepared before he/she starts on the first day.

No live site tour will be held but of course any specific questions will be answered by the mentor (responsible person to carry out the planned introduction).

Advantages and tangible results of improving training of new employees

–         Increased productivity (due to reduction of lost production)

–         Increased and constant quality due to standardized introduction (video is always the same)

–         More detailed information is available (since watching the video is outside production time, so you can provide more valuable information compared to the life site tour)

–         New employee is more confident from day 1 because he/she is already familiar with the workplace and got the related information required to do his/her job well

–         Training period will be shorter because the employee will be able to do his/her job with less supervision faster

To tell you the truth, the above project was done in a Healthcare company but you can see it is equally applicable in Manufacturing, IT, Government, Energy, Real-Estate or Finance.

Do you want to learn how to increase your productivity by 50% and – more importantly – how to do it even with your less motivated colleagues? You can learn it in 30% faster, guaranteed.

Warm regards,


M.Sc. Peter Herku MBA, Lean Six Sigma Coach

        +31 55 737 00 02

        +31 655 30 10 94