THE RIGHT TOOLS
Philosophy of what we do
We aim to follow the methodology that we train you to use. When we engage with you (company or individual) we are interested in your requirements as a customer, what it is you want to achieve and what’s holding you back.
Individual candidates are often seeking to increase process improvement knowledge, improve problem-solving skills, not too sure whether they need lean and/or six sigma and which level should they go for.
Companies often approach us with a ‘broken’ process that they would like fixing and/or an interest in exploring how their staff/business would benefit from learning about and using continuous improvement and/or a sense that a lean culture would be useful but unsure where to start.
So for us understanding your problems, objectives and issues is the place to start so we can propose a learning pathway or continuous improvement journey to meet your needs
Does it matter which customer sector we are interested in?
Lean started its history in manufacturing (Toyota) its true but has now successfully morphed into a whole host of different service sectors eg Health Care, Financial, Government, Energy – the list is quite endless. Service sectors have long complex processes with high variability too! – so we use the same lean principles eg eliminating waste, checking for value-adding etc but adapt the terms to suit. If you are still not sure - look at this Industry Week article https://www.industryweek.com/operations/continuous-improvement/article/22009605/lean-is-even-more-important-in-services-than-manufacturing
Lean6Sigma has numerous clients from a range of sectors see clients and the common denominator is customers (internal and external) and processes.
So what tools and roadmaps should we use?
If you're not sure what you or your business should adopt in the way of toolkits, you're not alone!
The first choice is lean or lean six sigma? :
‘Lean is for eliminating process waste and improving flow and six sigma is both a robust problem-solving toolkit and a measure for process capability. We would advocate using Lean as a foundation toolkit and then decide how much data diagnostics would help will determine whether to add some six sigma analysis tools.’
The second choice is what level to train to?
If you’re looking for a lean foundation and participation in process improvement projects then Yellow Belt is the right level. If you are seeking to lead/co-lead medium-sized projects then Green Belt would be an appropriate level. If you need to be more of a project manager/coach for process improvement then Black Belt is the level to aim for. Companies looking to train staff often choose a range of these levels depending on the size of their continuous improvement programme.
Toolkit and Roadmap guidance
If you need a bit more guidance on which roadmaps and toolkits - here's our headline checklist:
Lean is used with the Kaizen (change for the better) or the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) roadmaps and is used to fix the following process symptoms:
- 'broken' processes that aren't too complex
- processes have too many steps/handoffs and don't flow
- some of the 7 wastes are evident eg wastes due to Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over-production, Over-processing, Defects (TIMWOOD)
- lead times are too long
- smaller incremental change is required
- workplace organisation needs improving
- workplace culture is affecting process performance
Lean Six Sigma uses the Define, Measure, Analyse, improve, Control (DMAIC) roadmap and is best applied to processes that display some of the following features:
- where identifying the issues requires more than brainstorming and would benefit from some data analysis
- more analysis is required of the 'broken' process
- process variation needs to be fixed
- cost is critical to customer satisfaction
- the process improvement is more complex (cross functional/cross site)
- the project has high impact net benefits ($)
- more control is required to sustain the improved process
- the project can have an impact on the environment and can use adapted tools
Design for Six Sigma uses the roadmap Define, Measure, Analyse, Design, Verify (DMADV) where:
- a new (or substantially refreshed) concept is required for a product or service
- the houses of quality tool can be used to provide a link between the customer requirements and design features
The numerous case study problem-solving projects see linklinklink that have been completed all confirm one thing - process improvement is not just about the technical tools - it's also about change.
All courses use proven change techniques alongside the technical toolkits to clarify what change is occurring and what's the best course of action to deal with any resistance that could affect buy-in or acceptance of the process improvement.
Whether separate or combined Lean and Six Sigma blended with our change management coaching provide the ultimate problem-solving toolkit;
- a roadmap for navigation and a disciplined series of steps and phases
- a comprehensive set of tools aimed at improving the quality and/or throughput of a process
- a change management toolkit that sits alongside the technical tools to manage cultural acceptance
The outcome - robust and efficient improvements that are adopted by the team and deliver added value for your customers.