What is your reason to start with Lean Six Sigma?
Recently I have started with a complete Lean Six Sigma improvement program at a small maintenance company. This involves the following:
- Training 9 employees – including the Managing Director – in Lean and Six Sigma methodology up to Green Belt level
- Coaching them on 5 different projects like reducing lead times, improving sales, improving on-time-delivery performance
- Setting up a company cockpit to follow the overall performance of the company and our Lean Six Sigma improvements
- Identifying new projects for the next wave (2nd 6 month of the program)
- Training the project team members as Yellow Belts – they are the “bridge” to the rest of the company
- …and do it all in Dutch…
We did not start with this program right away but first I had a single Lean Six Sigma project so that the company – and the MD – could “taste” Lean Six Sigma.
I have conducted a project there to reduce welding hour variation compared to the budgeted hours. This project has reduced the variation – therefore increased the predictability – in the welding shop by at least 40%.
Meaning: after the complete implementation of the findings of our project (I was the project leader and my team consisted of foreman, dept manager and 3 welding operator) this little company has increased its welding capacity by at least 40% without any investments and additional manpower.
Both the team and the MD was surprised by the results but also realized that other steps were required if they wanted to utilize the results of our Lean Six Sigma project.
Because they needed more welding orders to monetize the extra 40% capacity otherwise they had to reduce manpower.
The MD believed that they could get more orders.
Seeing the impact of a single Lean Six Sigma project and the new challenge (extra sales required) he decided to implement Lean Six Sigma in the whole company.
That’s the reason, I am a bit busy nowadays with this program but I can tell you, those guys are enjoying the new way of working on different issues.
It is not only saving money and time for the company and increases customer satisfaction and sales but it is also a BIG FUN. Nice to see the extra stimulus this new strategy brings to company!
Concerning our welding project, the MD said that he would never start again a single improvement project because it will only deliver an isolated improvement. The potential is much greater when running several projects throughout the company because their interaction and impacts on each other is HUGE.
The downside of running several projects at the same time is that it is fairly difficult to calculate individual savings of those projects due to the interactions.
But I would say: “Who cares!” As long as your company as a whole are gaining and benefiting from those projects.
What is Your reason to start with Lean Six Sigma?