Lean & Six Sigma

What is Six Sigma?

Lean & Six Sigma is tried and tested methodologies that are used throughout various industries and throughout various departments within those industries. The methodologies will change mindsets and working cultures, whereby you will question why a process or way of working is being done that way.

It is not just for manufacturing, it has been adopted by all industries whether small, large or multi-national corporations. The 2 methodologies give you “tools” that allow you to measure, question or get to a root cause as to why the process, whether supplying a service or product, is failing, being delayed or creating increased costs.

By questioning why at the “As Is” or “Current State” where the trigger points for failure or delays are, so that at the “To Be” or Future State” position we can make the improvements.
Lean & Six Sigma works hand in hand with each other; the 2 methodologies complement each other throughout the business.

How can we use it in our company?

A lot of people think Six Sigma is only for project managers or managers of a department and they couldn’t be more wrong – it’s for anyone! Recently we have been certifying salespeople, HR staff, operational staff, IT roles, Procurement etc.

It really doesn’t matter what the role is, what matter is are you looking for new ways to improve what you are already doing, or think or new ways of being better – if the answer is yes, then six sigma is for you!

Six Sigma can help us with issues such as failing to deliver on time, within the original cost, not providing the right quality of service or product and even not staying ahead of market innovations and client expectations.

When things are not right do we investigate what went wrong, where it went wrong & put new processes or systems in place to stop it happening again? Do we put permanent correct actions (PCA) in place so that we continually get better at what we do? Ultimately we need too so that we can continually improve by having the Continuous Improvement (CI) mindset being driven within the business – this is especially important when competition is fierce.

And it’s not just about looking at what went wrong; it’s also about focusing on what customer’s value in doing business with us. This is not just about product attributes or customer service – although data will probably be uncovered that will lead to improvement opportunities in these and other areas. What it is about is the needs of buyers when making a major purchase decision.

Six Sigma

Lean methodology focuses on “Waste” – waste within the business and specifically the processes that are performed to provide a service or product – in this case the sale process. Any processes will have “Waste”, the aim of Lean is to eradicate or at least reduce this “waste”.
Listening to the Voice of the Customer (VOC) we can fully establish what the customer really requires. A customer requirement is paramount to the service or product we provide, as, if we do not listen to what they require, we do not give them what meets their needs, at the delivery time required and at the cost they want to pay. Obviously, we have to take into full consideration what our abilities are to fulfil these contractual requirements, but unless we take time to look at the process and methodology of finding out what our customers need – which is what Lean gives us, we are at the mercy of failing our customer in terms of what we offer them, at what cost, in what time…

Here is how the standard Six Sigma DMAIC roadmap can be used:
Define the problem – we can look at a whole process or just part of it to test for problems. We can also take a different approach and look at what customers expect from us which we are currently not offering.

Measure how bad this problem is – this is about collecting data and information on the stage of the process that has a problem, or collecting data from customers to ascertain what it is they want from us.

Analyse what is the root cause – this is about identifying themes, drilling down to the root cause – finding out exactly what is causing an issues based on the information we gathered at stage 2.

Improve the process –once we know what is wrong, how can we change it? Maybe run a pilot to change how undertake a process, change incentives, change prices, improve how we operate etc.

Control the changes – Improve is the exhilarating phase – changes are implemented and results begin to be seen, Control is the permanent phase. To sustain the momentum, there needs to be a process in place to capture and track data on an ongoing basis. You need to track data from start to finish.

In short, Six Sigma applies science to consistently improve results. 

Lean

Lean methodology focuses on “Waste” – waste within the business and specifically the processes that are performed to provide a service or product – in this case the sale process. Any processes will have “Waste”, the aim of Lean is to eradicate or at least reduce this “waste”.
Listening to the Voice of the Customer (VOC) we can fully establish what the customer really requires. A customer requirement is paramount to the service or product we provide, as, if we do not listen to what they require, we do not give them what meets their needs, at the delivery time required and at the cost they want to pay. Obviously, we have to take into full consideration what our abilities are to fulfil these contractual requirements, but unless we take time to look at the process and methodology of finding out what our customers need – which is what Lean gives us, we are at the mercy of failing our customer in terms of what we offer them, at what cost, in what time…

What we do

How does it work?

There are 3 levels of Six Sigma certification:
Yellow Belt / Green Belt / Black Belt

We suggest you start with Yellow

  • Yellow belt is a mix of 2 days classroom training, followed by an on the job project where each person must save the equivalent of £10,000 over a 6-8-week period.
  • 2 days of classroom training.
    This starts with a launch hour, in which all delegates are there, together with their managers and any key stakeholders from the business. The purpose of the launch is to explain what the yellow belt program will entail for the delegates, their managers and the business as a whole.
    Then the delegates spend the rest of day 1 and most of day 2 covering the key principles of lean and six sigma.
    At the end of day 2 sometime will be allocated for them to discuss ideas for their project with the trainer.
  • There will then be a 2-week break in which time the delegates will finalise their projects with their managers, the business and the trainer.
  • We then enter the 6-week stage of “completing the project”. During this stage, the trainer will mentor each delegate weekly (preferably face to face, but it can be a mix of face to face and remote) for one hour.
    The purpose of this weekly mentoring meeting is to make sure the delegate is using the right processes and tools and is on track to make the required minimum savings.
  • After the 6 weeks has been completed, we will have a final one hour per person sign off meeting, where the trainer will ensure all tools and processes have been used correctly and the required savings have been made. If this is the case, we will then certify them as Yellow Belt Six Sigma.

We also offer Green and Black Belt programs and certification. If you would like information on how Green and Black belt work, costs etc. then please contact us.

Benefits to the business and the delegates:

  • Improved employee engagement, as staff are given the opportunity to use their ideas to make improvements
  • Higher qualified and trained employee’s, all receive an international qualification backed by CPD
  • Increased employee moral as staff feel valued and invested in
  • Initial return on investment of a minimum of £10,000 equivalent per person who passes – this is normally much higher
  • Continuing return on investment from future savings and new projects implemented. Initial projects continue to reap rewards and new projects are introduced using the same methods
Why use us?
  • We offer CPD Six Sigma Qualification
  • We have a 90% pass rate
  • We don’t offer a quick online, non-certified qualification without project completion. We ensure each delegate is fully certified not just in knowledge but in mentored completion of the project, which ensures continued use
  • We work with international clients implementing six sigma such as:
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