6 Sigma: Manufacturing Gets Lean

There is an assumption within the manufacturing industry that 6 Sigma and lean manufacturing often go hand-in-hand. While this would be the ideal situation, it does not mean that all organizations are good about achieving optimal results by effectively combining 6 Sigma and lean manufacturing. When you can accomplish this effectively within your organization, you can drive effective processes that deliver the optimal environment.

The Relationship Between 6 Sigma, Manufacturing

If you are trying to drive lean manufacturing within your organization, it is important to understand the relationship that exists between 6 Sigma and manufacturing. This relationship is often expressed by stretching the process that applies lean techniques; ensuring the maintenance of the improved status that relies on 6 Sigma; solving the problems created by deviations from the standards; and solving top line problems before stretching the concept across the enterprise.

The First Steps of 6 Sigma, Manufacturing

In order to achieve the benefits you desire with 6 Sigma, manufacturing problems first have to be identified. Your top 10, 20 or 30 problems can be identified and categorized according to how they affect the external customer and internal problems that caused the customer problems. You also need to determine the consistency and frequency of the problem by conducting an analysis of the problem. You can then apply the principles of lean manufacturing to know what you want to achieve.

Idea Generation in 6 Sigma, Manufacturing

One of the biggest bottlenecks you will find in your environment are those that are created by old mindsets. Just because you have done something a certain way for years is not enough of an argument to keep it the same – even if it appears to be working. If you aren’t accomplishing your ultimate goals and hitting 6 Sigma, manufacturing standards, you know that something needs to change. When you introduce an idea generation session that encourages getting outside of standard practices to apply lean manufacturing concepts, you will start to see significant results.

Be Ready to Modify Ideas with 6 Sigma, Manufacturing

Once you and your team have developed ideas for improvements within your environment, you have to be able to test those ideas. You also have to be ready and willing to adjust the ideas to better fit within your environment. Keep in mind that results will challenge the old mindset, but you have to be willing to work with those ideas to produce the results you want. 6 Sigma, manufacturing guidelines can provide a great roadmap to get there, but you may have to use some creativity along the way.

Making a 6 Sigma, Manufacturing Change

Once you have determined what will work in your environment to bring about effective change to 6 Sigma, manufacturing, you need to implement that change. Schedule a time to implement the change – or a series of changes – in a way that doesn’t upset your current schedule and those within the environment can embrace. You don’t want resistance to your efforts at that point simply because you know the benefit the change can produce.

Finally, be prepared to check and report on the result. You know there will be those around you waiting to see that the Six Sigma, manufacturing change was the right one to make to drive lean manufacturing; time to prove it.