Recently, in a Swedish company (about 300 employees) I have implemented my business improvement program, based on Lean Six Sigma.
The Managing Director was in charge already for several years and he did a good job: his company was one of the most profitable in its group, attracting millions for new capital investments.
Now, the times were changing and the customers were more reluctant to order. As a result, profits were going down. Results were still OK but the Managing Director wanted to stop this trend but had no idea how to do it.
Thanks to the improvement program, the trend was changed. The Managing Team and their project team members (about 20% of the total number of employees) has been participating in our intensive training and coaching program.
During this program, the main focus was on cost reduction and efficiency increase. Here are just a few projects the teams were able to conclude within 6 month:
- Reduction of energy usage by 53%
- Reduction of processing time at needling department by 18%
- Material savings by 32%
The Managing Director told me that the profit after the first 6 month of this improvement program was the highest in the company’s history.
Most importantly, the Managing Team together with the Managing Director follows these sequence:
1. Identify most important challenges holding back the company in achieving their financial objectives
2. Set up projects and project teams to solve those challenges
3. Apply a few Lean Six Sigma tools when solving the problem
4. Monitor improvement
5. Hold regular meetings with MT to discuss the status and identify new challenges
Leadership and discipline are required to repeat these steps and learn to use those Lean Six Sigma problem solving tools better and better.
A few weeks ago, I called the Managing Team member coordinating all the improvement projects. He said that they still hold a monthly meeting with all the project teams together to exchange information and help each other.
They were also able to reduce the project time significantly; therefore the cost savings and capacity increase are much faster realized now.
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