As the name suggests, lean six sigma methodology integrates the principles of lean manufacturing with those of Six Sigma. Many manufacturing organizations that have implemented the methodology have experienced enhanced productivity with a significant reduction in human resources, time and capital resources.
But why are organizations of all shapes and sizes want to adopt the method? What advantage does the method offer? In this article, we have attempted to answer these questions.
Let’s first understand what exactly lean methodology is
Lean is basically a process aimed at continual improvement based on increasing the value for customer. The main objective of the methodology is to eliminate everything that does not contribute to what customers exactly want.
Lean manufacturing methodology comprises of a number of principles and methods such as:
- Kaizen – It aims at continuous improvement based on employees’ suggestions.
- Kanban – It is a ‘pull’ system aimed at pushing inventory into warehouse for “safety stock” in order to deal with any change in demand due to changing forecasts.
- TPM – Total productive maintenance reduces equipment downtime.
- TQM – Total quality management emphasizes on improving quality of products and services being offered.
- 5S – It aims at improving quality and efficiency through cleaning up and getting organized.
- SMED – The principles of Single-Minute Exchange of Die minimize the time needed to change a machine or production line for production of different products.
- Poka-yoke – It is used to eliminate the possibility of errors.
Lean is primarily used to streamline manufacturing and production processes by cutting out unwanted steps involved to add value to the production and services.
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What exactly is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a quantitative method aimed at improving quality in manufacturing using data collection and measurement. The method basically addresses errors involved in both the production and design of a product or service. It consists of two approaches named DMAIC and DMADV.
Let’s understand both the approaches.
DMAIC refers to a five-step process used to improve an existing product. The five steps are given below:
Define the Project – At this stage, goals, resources, and limits of a project are determined.
Measure – Then, data about the current system or process is collected.
Analyze the Data – Data collected is analyzed to find the root cause of the error.
Improve – Design and implement changes (poka-yoke and standard work) are introduced to the process to address the error found. Some techniques that are used include design of experiments, poka-yoke and standard work.
Control – It refers to providing a system to monitor and adjustments to maintain and improve on what was attained.
Another approach is DMADV which is embraced to improve an existing product or service’s quality. The major steps involved in DMADV include:
Define – Establish the methods that are needed to be used and the goals are defined of the project.
Measure -Characteristics that are critical to quality (CTQ), production process capabilities, capabilities and limits, and potential risks are determined.
Analyze – Develop and test design alternatives.
Design – The best alternative based on customer requirements is determined.
Verify – Authenticate the design in harmony with the goals of the project and make adjustments on the basis of feedback and new data.
When both the methodologies are integrated high level of customer satisfaction is aimed to achieve.
Consult a Lean Six Sigma Manufacturing Consulting firm to know how lean six sigma can improvise your manufacturing process.