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Introduction to Lean Thinking and Identifying Waste

Introduction to Lean Thinking and Identifying Waste

Six Sigma 101

Six Sigma (sometimes referred to in short as 6 Sigma or 6S) is a data driven approach to facilitate the best non-emotional, non-impulsive decision that will satisfy the customer’s requirements without increasing costs or variation.

Applying Six Sigma methods will help you understand business impacts of arising problems and your subsequent decisions and understanding. 6S also brings clear understanding of the Voice of the Customer and drives the Customer Voice into our product designs.

6S also enables and empowers you to reduce variation by detecting occurrences of defects from a process or product. Some ways that this is done is by reducing complexity and better understanding the entire value chain, smoothing and streamlining the flow of value from our suppliers through us to our customers.

One of the strengths of Six Sigma is the application of SPC or Statistical Process Control. This doesn’t mean you need to understand complex math, arithmetic, or statistics. You will be gradually introduced to basic quality and statistics tools, however. SPC is where much of the data-driven decisions are based on.

The methods of Lean thinking provide an efficient way to reduce operational waste, save time, save cost, and extend capacity of valuable resources.

“Waste” describes the elements of “processes” that add no value to the service or product required by the customer.


Lean Thinking and Identifying Waste

Lean Thinking demands an organizational culture that is intolerant of waste in all forms.

Here are some important Lean points to remember:

  1. Simple changes to work methods make huge contributions

  2. It is owned by people doing the work

  3. It reduces workload rather than increasing it

  4. It is easy to understand and implement

  5. It not only makes your work place more competitive, it makes it a better place to work

Benefits of Applying Lean at your work place

  1. Significantly reduced process cycle-time

  2. Elimination of costly non-value-added activities

  3. Enhanced value creation and team focus

  4. Reduced non-recurring and indirect costs

  5. Improved utilization of scarce resources

  6. Maximized synergy among all related processes

When Lean is applied, the following obstacles are removed, making your work place a better place to work

  1. Not-clearly defined organizational roles and responsibilities

  2. Chaos resulting from fire fighting and expediting

  3. Habit of managing through a functional organization

  4. Lack of well-defined and efficient processes

  5. Inefficient utilization of valuable human and capital resources

  6. Lack of metrics focused on customer value-added processes

  7. Lack of productivity enhancing work methods

  8. Lack of uniform prioritization of work

There are seven Types of Waste

  1. Defects

  2. Over production

  3. Transportation

  4. Waiting

  5. Inventory

  6. Motion

  7. Over processing

Examples of WasteWasteExampleImplicationDefective Products

parts incorrect from supplier

incomplete informationcustomer complaints

rework, scrap, warranty, fire-fightingOver Productionlow yield forces 110 to get 100

produce more than demandadditional costs built-in

obsolescence, count, storeExcessive Inventoriesinventory investment ‘sleeping’

6mo. of paper at every copierlong lead-time, rework, lost

high cost, never right sizeExcessive Motion30% time looking for parts, tools

paper not next to copierbarriers to adding value

ergonomics, safetyExcessive Processinghand finish

functional signaturesineffective use of skills

no decision rules, travel dist.Transportationbad layout

process monumentsinvest to cover inefficiency

batch processing, no flowWaitinginvestment sits for next ‘event’

batching, signature cyclesnot cost effective

inefficiencies built-in

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