The enemies of efficiency are categorized as "Waste" and Six Sigma is all about identification and elimination of them. Waste is simply application of company resources without adding value. Company resources include money, people, time and material. The seven categories of Waste are:
- Excess Motion
- Unnecessary Processing
- Excess Inventory
To really understand how a business operates, a Business Process Mapping Event is required. We've developed this into a systematic discovery of what makes things happen, and have specific ways we discover, document and record the activities. The result is amazing. We can walk you through how everything actually flows, and point out the risks, challenges and inefficiencies that might exist.
We typically divide a business into as many as ten distinct areas, and then schedule meetings for the people that participate in each of the areas.
In those meetings we deep dive into the details of what they do, step by step. Each item is recorded along with who and when. This gives us the ability to follow up afterwards if there any questions.
Enlightening is the feedback we hear most.
This also makes a great foundation document for an ERP implementation.
Implementing new technologies on top of old workflow will not yield the necessary cost, quality and efficiency benefits. A business must redesign processes and address the human side of change.
The term “Sigma” is a measurement of how far a process deviates from perfect – the number of “defects”. Six Sigma correlates to 3.4 defects per million opportunities and provides an improvement methodology using statistics to measure and reduce variation in processes. Ultimately, it's a management system that is comprehensive and flexible for achieving, sustaining, and maximizing success.
A Kaizen Event is an effective response to major customer dissatisfaction, a competitive crisis or production challenges.
Because it includes your people, it also starts to build a culture of efficiency awareness and improvement. The use of a cross functional team shows everyone that they need to be involved. Some companies schedule a Kaizen Event every month, or every other month and require people at a certain level to participate in one per year.
Kaizen Events are a beneficial component of continuous improvement. They provide insight into process, transparency across departments, and encourage a "can do" attitude in your employees. Shared responsibility for improvements is another benefit.
A Kaizen Event can be completed in a week, and if properly developed, could lead your organization on a path to incredible efficiency and cost savings.