Businesses that have well-thought-out and tested process maps are likely to succeed fast in their sector. This is because they will have a speed-up real-time execution process through automation and management and will simplify and increase their production process.
When this happens, they develop quality products or services that their customers will love, minimize waste and double up their profits.
The effective integration of Lean Six Sigma has helped many companies to increase their efficiency and profitability.
For instance, FedEx utilized the Lean Six Sigma management strategies to reduce their c-check processes from 32,715 to 21,535 by identifying 68 milestones. Nike also reached new levels of waste reduction using the same principle.
The truth is, there can’t be any improved process unless the initial position is rightly measured.
That’s why Dr. H. James Harrington said about Lean Six Sigma: “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
In this post, I will show you how to integrate Lean Six Sigma into your organization.
But first, a brief look at the basics.
What is Lean Six Sigma?
Lean Six Sigma is an operational and management method that utilizes a collaborative effort of an enthusiastic team to improve the performance of a process by systematically removing waste and reducing variation.
This method combines lean manufacturing or lean enterprise and Six Sigma principles to eliminate the eight kinds of waste, also called muda. These wastes could be in the form of defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra processing.
Aside from reducing process defects and waste, the Lean Six Sigma method also helps organizations provide a framework for the overall organizational culture change.
What this means is that, in companies where the Lean Six Sigma approach is adopted, the employers are hoping to change the mindset of their employees and managers so that they primarily focus on growth and continuous improvement through process optimization.
That way, they can have a culture change, and an organization’s mindset can potentially maximize efficiency and increase profitability.
Why is Lean Six Sigma Important for Organizations to Integrate?
The Lean Six Sigma Methodology is a continuous improvement process. It follows the measure, improve, utilize, repeat routine. It is essential to touch every organization’s verticals, from sales to customer satisfaction, lowering costs, quality, etc.
Here are some aspects that Lean Six Sigma is vital for organizations to integrate.
- Simplified Processes
The Lean Six Sigma method helps simplify your business work processes. It has a value stream mapping model that is cross-functional and can identify waste and inefficiency.
Here is an example from a content marketing agency showing how they deliver results for their clients.
Experience has shown that business processes often breed rework and workarounds for persistent problems. The lean six sigma process spots wasted effort, and once it is removed, the process becomes simple and easier to manage and control. It also leads to lower cost overhead, reduces errors, and increases business profit.
When this happens, the resulting process is faster. And this will lead to better customer service and higher customer satisfaction, which will lead to more significant sales.
- Increased Speed and Agility
In every business process, the ability for managers to sense opportunities, seize and adapt them is crucial. It is the only way that they can scale quickly.
However, when change occurs, developing new productive, timely, and cost-efficient strategies is difficult for most managers. The Lean Six Sigma methodology makes it very easy to adapt to more recent changes and learn forward immediately.
- Fewer Errors and Mistakes
The methodology also helps organizations make fewer errors and mistakes. As mistakes are almost inevitable, this process reduces errors to the level of insignificant.
It prioritizes quality and the continuous improvement of day-to-day efforts to address problems with the most impact on the process and business success. Using data for informed solutions is also critical to the improvement effort on the real issues in the organization.
- Better Approach to Problem-Solving
The Lean Six Sigma approach is highly effective for resolving many specific problems. The method is widely applicable because the define, measure, analyze, improve, control procedures can complete tasks most efficiently.
This approach to problem-solving is most accurate for organizations as the repetitive process offers quick and fixed trails to finding solutions.
- Predictable Performance
The Lean Six Sigma approach reduces variation within a process. The importance of variation reduction is that it makes processes more predictable. This means that there can be predictable cycle time, predictable quality output, and predictable costs.
These will lead to better customer service, fewer complaints, and higher profits. For organizations operating in fast-moving sectors, changing technology and customer expectations create an unstable business environment for you. But with a Lean Six Sigma approach, your company will tackle operational and process instabilities.
Integrating Lean Six Sigma Into Your Company: Whose Responsibility?
Integrating Lean Six Sigma methodology in an organization is chiefly the role of the upper-level managers.
These professionals champion the control and allocate resources to Promote process improvements. They are primarily trained in the core concepts of Six Sigma and deployment strategies that organizations can quickly integrate.
They also ensure that senior management is aware of the status of Six Sigma deployment, and they make available the resources for training and project completion.
They also own the critical processes in an organization. Their job includes coordinating process improvement activities and monitoring progress regularly. They have basic training in the core statistical tools and have gained proﬁciency with the Lean Six Sigma techniques to improve their processes.
How to Integrate Lean Six Sigma Into Your Organization
Integrating Lean Six Sigma into your organization requires an improvement strategy that must incorporate methodological differences and practical use.
To actualize this improvement program, there’s a need to initiate a vision for the future and a roadmap of specific projects that will help close the gap between the current and future state.
Here are the steps to take when integrating Lean Six Sigma into your organization.
1. Identify “Why” This Integration
Before jumping into the integration of Lean Six Sigma into your organization, you must clearly state the reason for the decision.
This could be because you want to minimize waste or improve your product quality. It is effortless to waste time and resources if an apparent reason isn’t stated. Having this identified will motivate the team to implement a continuous improvement initiative.
That said, it is also crucial for the organization’s leadership to digest and understand the problem and remove the assumption that this method could be the solution.
2. Provide the Necessary Resources
To effectively integrate Lean Six Sigma into your organization, ensure that you have the team and resources (employees, materials, and technology) in place. Also, your company must have the right culture that empowers the team action toward delivering specific initiatives.
For instance, the waste you’re trying to cut out will easily dwell into the business process if the right technology is unavailable. Every needed resource must be available to commit to the implementation of the shared vision.
3. Develop Employees With the Methodology
Having one or a group of experts in the methodological implementation of the Lean Six Sigma integration may cut short the lifespan of the approach in your company. This is because there’s every likelihood that experts exit your company and leave the method at a standstill.
By teaching the methodology, individual employees understand the concept, as this helps increase organizational awareness in that aspect. It also motivates the sharing of professional knowledge and assists in identifying training where you can share the organization’s vision.
4. Create Activities Roadmap
To achieve effective results, the organization should create an activity timeline with defined milestones. For instance, if you’re integrating the Lean Six Sigma approach in achieving customer satisfaction, the process can be listed like this:
- Identify customer needs by talking to them.
- Identify critical-to-quality criteria.
- Incorporate the Lean Six Sigma efforts with customer satisfaction.
This activity roadmap should be assessed to ensure it meets the expectations of the organization’s goals.
5. Create a Sense of Project Ownership
Appoint someone to lead the integration process. It’s well understood that “everyone’s project is as good as no one’s project.”
Having someone responsible for the entire team and implementing the initiative is essential to the success of the process. This will, in turn, lead to a group of committed, accountable, and actively engaged teams.
6. Constantly Measure the Process
The Lean Six Sigma integration experts can determine the progress of the process through an adequate measurement system. Before the integration begins, experts pick the baseline performance, and then with each improvement, they utilize the data for variation analysis and identification of loops to improve.
Once the correct measurement is done, sound quality will be achieved. That said, your organization needs to identify and measure the critical leading quality indicators for accurate measurement.
7. Govern the Program
When the integration process is not adequately governed, the vision will rapidly tear apart. It is crucial that you properly manage the process so that you can maintain sustainable vision momentum.
That way, you can create a process quality team that will clear potential hurdles that may slow a project and allow the project to adhere to set timelines.
This proper governance also helps experts create replicable projects that solve everyday challenges and resolve issues that veer the initiatives off course.
When organizations effectively integrate Lean Six Sigma, they reap many gains like understanding operations, improving productivity, reducing defects, and using data effectively to drive value.
However, this doesn’t happen by magic. The seven steps should be adequately followed, and the team motivated.
Rewards and recognition play a valuable role in making sure team members remain satisfied in their roles.