March 24, 2014
In just four months, through Lean Six Sigma strategies, your company can reduce waste, increase profits and improve efficiency! These strategies are able to improve the bottom line and are offered through:
- Management coaching
- Quality management systems
- Supplier management improvement
Often, your internal resources are too busy working on tactical or day-to-day activities to realize long-term improvement. This type of improvement can be critical to your customers and can help you gain new market share. In the majority of cases, Lean Six Sigma Process Engineers can complete strategic projects quicker and cheaper. As you succeed in reducing waste, you will reduce variation and generally improve your processes.
Case study: Medical Devices
“For smaller companies, we might help set up processes with Design for Six Sigma,” says Bill Soller, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, “Much of this is aimed at preventing problems. For example, with a medical device company, we started with a needs assessment because this company was strong on innovation and entrepreneurship, but not strong on the operations side.” He helped the company set up a quality management system to both support its growth and meet its customers very high quality and delivery requirements. Upon completing the project, the company passed an audit from their customer for the first time and can now sell into the medical device market.
Preparing for the future
For larger companies, their needs might include training their manufacturing engineers in Lean Six Sigma methodologies or providing resources to address very specific objectives. Typically, small companies rely on the expertise of their people, and it can be devastating when a key person leaves. Documenting what people do and what the processes are can help a company survive the departure of a principal person. Further, if you operate your company in anticipation of your customers’ requirements, you get ahead of the dangerous curve of using the customer’s request as the impetus to do something – and it might already be too late to try to change your way of doing business to respond to their needs.
A Lean Six Sigma Process Engineer can coach and train your people on how to use a decidedly hands-on approach that is rich in templates, standardization of business activities and process consistency. This helps you grow to the next levels of your potential, and that includes a healthy amount of attention to your infrastructures and operations. If you are trying to get certified, such as the medical device company, for ISO 13485, it can be accomplished within one year.
Case study: Manufacturer
For one manufacturer, the biggest issue was waste that resulted from a complex machine. A Lean Six Sigma coach worked with company representatives to define the existing conditions and business case. An improvement tool called “Design of Experiments” was selected to measure the variables and solve this problem of multiple factors and interaction effects of different machine settings. Experiments and different settings were set up and data was collected. Software analysis predicted a route to improvement and machines were reset to optimized settings. The final control phase measured the improvement (over 70% reduction of waste in this example) and a control plan was set up to lock in the optimization and continue to sustain the improvement.
What’s Important in Lean Six Sigma
What is important to the Lean Six Sigma approach is its very strategic thinking and tactical behavior. Your company can continue to operate while the improvement process is developed and put into place. Most companies know what to do, they just don’t know how to do it. The goal of PolymerOhio’s Lean Six Sigma program is to provide a mechanism for process improvement to not only help your company grow, but to provide a return on investment of 5 to 10 times in less than one year. Contact us for more information.