The September 30, 2011 edition of Manufacturing and Technology News magazine presented an article entitled, Lean and Six Sigma Are Not Leading To Breakthroughs In Corporate Performance. This article (the result of a survey of 100 business executives conducted by Alix Partners, a business consulting firm) highlighted some problems with Lean and Six Sigma implementations, including:
n 70% of respondents reported a less than 5% improvement in manufacturing costs as a result of Lean.
n 60% of respondents said their previous Lean improvements were not sustainable.
n Only 17% of respondents reported seeking long-term culture change in their organization.
Alix Partners made observations about the survey that are summarized here:
n Most companies are getting a poor return on their investment in Lean and Six Sigma.
n Companies are far too focused on implementing Lean tools and processes rather than on basic execution.
n Organizations need to dramatically rethink their Lean strategies by focusing on cash and finding the biggest opportunity to improve, and then deciding which Lean tool(s) will help them achieve that result.
n Company Leadership Teams must take responsibility for the Lean implementation, rather than trying to push this responsibility down to the Lean facilitator.
This data supported a report completed by Industry Week magazine in 2007 that reported the following Lean results from American business:
In the book, Leading Change, noted organizational change expert John Kotter notes that there are five prerequisites required to achieve any type of organizational change:
n Establishing a Sense of Urgency - Individuals or organizations do not change without a sense of urgency to do so.
n Creating the Guiding Coalition - Put together a group with enough power to lead and guide the organization through the change. This group should represent a cross-section of the organization.
n Developing a Vision and Strategy
n A vision is a broad description or picture of the future state of the organization. Create a vision to help direct the change effort (this is completed in Policy Deployment).
n Developing strategies for achieving that vision that include both marketing and operational activities (this is completed in Policy Deployment).
n Communicating the Change Vision
n Use every verbal and visual vehicle possible to constantly communicate the new vision and strategies (this is completed in Policy Deployment, Step 7 enabler projects).
n Empowering all associates (developed in Lean Culture)
n Get rid of obstacles that prevent associates from participating.
Change systems or structures that prevent associates from creating the change vision. Encourage risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions.
Experience has shown that adopting Lean requires, right from the beginning, a strong "sense of urgency" and commitment from the Leadership Team to the organizational change required to successfully implement Lean. This commitment to change must include the area where generally the greatest change must occur--the Leadership Team.
For more by Larry, see his blog.
Five Ways to a Better Lean Experience
Business Process Reengineering (BPR), Lean SixSigma Improvement, and efficiency seems to be on everyone’s mind these days.
I’d like to share a few comments that might help your experience go more smoothly.
Click below to read more....
Closing the Loop in your Methodology
Whether adhering to the tenets of Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, Demand Flow Technology, or Theory of Constraints, improvement initiatives need to have a feedback mechanism. Academics tell us that there are four management functions: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. At the nexus of leading and controlling lies continuous improvement. To lead the organization to the next level of performance presumes that one understands current performance and has the tools – the levers to push – that will change the current process. Understanding and changing the process is control. To control a system is to manage it long term, and to accomplish this, feedback is necessary.
"Lean" seems to be everywhere. What started as Western manufacturers emulating Toyota's unique production methods has now been implemented in every industry from healthcare to the public sector. There is Lean Accounting, Lean Sigma, Lean Service – I’ve even seen ‘Value-Based Lean Six Sigma (VBLSS) teams – now there’s a mouthful! The tools springing from this "methodology" are point-effective. By that I mean that the tools are effective at solving a single problem, but unless the underlying philosophy is embraced, the result will be limited to that issue, that point.
What's missing is a Lean Mindset. We run around the operation as hammers, seeing nails everywhere. Instead, we need to give voice to our inner engineer, and our inner leadership guru. Engineers stake their careers on analyzing problems and designing solutions, and the leadership gurus facilitate change in an organization. If we, as operators, supervisors, managers, and executives have a common approach to our work and our work environment, we think not of 'change', but 'improvement'. We also think of improvement as global - if my job gets easier, but my internal customer's or supplier's job gets harder, it may or may not be the right move, depending on the overall cycle time, transparency, and quality.
To Read More, Click the Link Below.
Six Sigma and Lean Training: For Manufacturing and Beyond
Lean and Six Sigma are two efficiency techniques that came to prominence because of the positive impact they can have on a business’ manufacturing process. This leads some business leaders in non-manufacturing industries to question the applicability of Lean and Six Sigma methods for their specific business. However, management teams who overlook the positive potential of Lean Six Sigma training may be costing their companies time and money. This article will explore the importance of these techniques and how they might already apply to the needs of your business.
Lean approaches call on business leaders to closely analyze their company’s processes and attempt to cut out any unnecessary steps or movements. Some of the common results of this process include a reduction in inventory or quicker turnaround times. Regardless of what product or service you are selling, issues of waste and inventory do have a distinct impact on your bottom line. Lean Training will show you how to map out your workflows, identify waste, and initiative improvements.
Six Sigma is also a method of analysis designed to promote efficiency. These approaches are rooted in statistics and allow for an unbiased and logical look at the production activities of your business. Because of this statistical focus, Six Sigma most commonly offers up results that are performance-based and focused on reducing your costs. Effective Lean Six Sigma training will help you identify and use the best techniques for calculating different measures of efficiency that apply beyond the manufacturing industry.
WillowTree Advisors Approved Provider of Lean Consulting Services to the Federal Government
DENVER (October 28, 2011) – Next month WillowTree Advisors (WTA), a business and change management consulting firm, will begin providing business transformation and Lean consulting services to the Federal Government with recent approval from the General Services Administration (GSA) under the MOBIS Schedule, SIN 874.1, contract number GS-10F-0002Y.
Today’s economic and political pressures have pushed governments to do more with less. Lean Government methodology enables agencies and public entities to do more with the resources they have and provide better services to their stakeholders and constituents.
“The application of Lean techniques to business processes can save time, reduce waste and eliminate costs – while improving customer and employee satisfaction,” said Kathryn Douglass, WillowTree Advisor managing partner. “This opportunity is an excellent way for the Federal Government to optimize its operations and focus on the customers and stakeholders it is serving.”
In general, if you want to optimize a process and reduce the costs, there are several ways to do this:
• Eliminate unnecessary or redundant steps
• Automate as much of the work as possible
• Reduce the cost of the associated labor
In particular, these are the same options you have with the outsourcing process.
What kinds of steps can be compressed or eliminated from the outsourcing process?
A number of steps are critical to arriving at a valid sourcing arrangement. Eliminating critical steps or delaying them until after the deal is completed will dramatically increase the risks of the deal on both sides. If the risk is shifted to the provider, the costs will go up for the base charges. If the risks are shifted to the client, the service may suffer, and the “out-of-scope or retained” costs will go up.
Steps that are often suggested for deferment are due diligence, data validation, detailed requirements, and the details around service requirements and service metrics. If these steps are deferred during the transaction process, the up-front process is certainly a lot simpler and faster. The issue is that these steps are difficult to complete satisfactorily after the deal is done, and if they are, there will typically be adjustments to the pricing and the service delivery.
WillowTree is pleased to announce its new partnership with Interfacing Technologies, a BPM solutions provider. Following an evaluation of other leading BPM software, WillowTree selected Interfacing's Enterprise Process Center®(EPC) as the enabling technology for a client project in the Environmental Services industry. "We were very selective when we evaluated these tools because any software that we leave with a client creates a direct tie-back to our firm," explains Kathryn Douglass, Managing Partner at WillowTree. "We chose the EPC because, not only does it meet the client requirements, but we felt that it represents us well and will serve as a positive reminder of the engagement."