Lean Six Sigma is a set of methodologies and principles which seek to improve the functioning and management of businesses and organizations. It provides many tools and techniques with which companies can increase the capabilities of their operation chain. As a result of this, companies are able to start more ambitious and impactful ventures and increase the reach of their products and services. Lean Six Sigma takes a very scientific approach to the problem of reducing errors and defects. It has a philosophy of numerical precision. It believes in measuring everything.
It has even measured the maximum acceptable tolerance level for errors and defects. It is 3.4 errors out of every one million opportunities. With this kind of scientific precision, it takes the approach of measuring every objective factor in order to determine the percentage of the contribution it makes to the errors and defects which crop up in business processes. Then it applies several methods drawn from statistics and numerical computing in order to determine the best ways to eliminate those errors and defects. Specifically, it analyzes business processes and pinpoints the areas of the business processes which need to be modified for the business process to reach optimal functioning. Companies have adopted Lean Six Sigma enthusiastically. This is why so many professionals are seeking to undergo Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training nowadays.
Let us examine some ways in which Lean Six Sigma is changing business processes.
It helps us in reducing output errors –
Lean Six Sigma is an instrumental element in reducing output errors. The Lean Six Sigma practitioners follow a systematic and methodical process in order to identify which parts of a business process are prone to be defective. Or which parts of a business process will not produce sterling quality goods or products and will instead produce output filled with errors. Next, the Lean Six Sigma practitioners study the processes carefully and enter the ideation stage. If one gets a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification, they will be able to reach the ideation stage very quickly.
In the ideation stage, they think of ideas and plans which they can put into action to modify the error-prone processes. They modify only a few test processes for a start and start running extensive tests on them. Once they have made sure that the new business processes have lower or 0 rates of producing output errors, they modify all the business processes according to the changed specifications.
It helps us define areas of process improvement –
Lean Six Sigma makes the use of 3 things in general to drive process improvement. The three things are – metrics, methodology, and philosophy.
Lean Six Sigma practitioners take very detailed measurements of almost every aspect of a business process. They measure the inputs, the outputs, the resources used, the time taken, and many other elements. Then they study these metrics to find out which of them are slowing the business process down, or making it more consumptive than it should be, or making it less efficient. These fall under metrics.
The methodology of an existing business process refers to the process through which goods and services reach a customer, whether it be through a delivery system or through pickup points. There are two main methods in Lean Six Sigma through which the delivery of goods and services is optimized. Both these approaches are discussed thoroughly in Lean Six Sigma training online. They are –
- DMAIC – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control
- DMADV – Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify
Philosophy constitutes the light in which a company looks at its customers. Lean Six Sigma encourages companies to manufacture their products and services in a customer-oriented way. This means staying attuned to the customers and taking their expectations and opinions into account. This will reduce the number of unused goods and services within a company directly and will reduce the wastage caused due to products not meeting customer demands and expectations. So Lean Six Sigma advocates always taking the customer feedback and stakeholders’ input into account and only proceeding when both these things have been considered carefully.
It enables companies to measure and record accurate and precise data
As stated before, Lean Six Sigma is based on measuring the various aspects of business processes and the different metrics which can be collected from business processes. This includes the inputs, the outputs, the resources used, the time taken, and many other elements. Then they evaluate these metrics carefully and painstakingly to identify the culprit business processes. By culprit, business processes what is being referred to is the business processes which are heavily interlinked with other business processes and are causing all the business process to run at subpar efficiency due to defects in them.
Also, the metrics are very useful for future decision making. For instance, if the management staff wants to draw up an estimate of how much time it will take to manufacture a proposed product, they can refer to the metrics already collected by the Lean Six Sigma team. So in a way, recording and monitoring of business processes take place automatically through the Lean Six Sigma methodology. Also, they can draw up an estimate of how much it will cost to merge two business processes together by consulting the Lean Six Sigma team which may have already made such suggestions in the past. So it is very good to have team members who have undergone Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training in the past.
Similarly, the cost of various business processes can be analyzed and used to make predictions about how much a new business process would cost, or how much money would be saved from the budget if an old one was shut down. These and other estimates help the management staff make informed decisions about their manufacturing and delivery processes. So the data points collected by Lean Six Sigma are perennially useful to businesses and organizations.
It helps the business leaders clarify their vision and redefine their strategies –
Technology has revolutionized all the industries in the world. This includes the manufacturing and product design industry. With the new tools and techniques in their hand, business leaders often set project goals which are too broad or too ambitious. As time goes on, such projects can prove to be a massive drain on the company’s time, energy, and other resources, and can lead to business process costs spiraling out of the budget’s limits. In such cases, Lean Six Sigma can come in very handy.
With the Lean Six Sigma metric evaluation and data collection, companies can spot such projects well in advance. Lean Six Sigma makes it possible to set up cost control mechanisms in place which will alert business leaders automatically when projects start becoming a pipe dream. In other words, when sufficient time, money, energy, and resources have been invested into a project and it has still not reached the production stage. If this happens, business leaders can clarify the project vision and redefine or abandon their product strategies. With a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification, both these activities become considerably easier.