Lean Manufacturing Six Sigma: Efficiencies in Production

When you try to decide how best to design your manufacturing environment, should you lean more toward Six Sigma or lean? Both have been known to drive out waste and reduce the variation in many business processes. But, in your specific environment, which is the better and more beneficial choice?

Lean Manufacturing Six Sigma Tops Survey

A Stiles Associates LLC survey found that senior operations leaders cite operational improvement initiatives as the leading cause for enabling them to better respond to the economic pressures of the recession and the downturn in the market. There are a number of different operational improvement strategies and methodologies that could be deployed, yet the most popular appeared to be lean manufacturing Six Sigma.

Lean Manufacturing Six Sigma: The Difference

It is often assumed that lean manufacturing Six Sigma go hand in hand. In truth, lean manufacturing in its simplest form does produce an environment with minimized waste and adds value to every area of production. In essence, lean manufacturing enables you to do much more with less. 6 Sigma was developed as a way to improve the quality of process outputs. This is done by effectively identifying and removing any causes of errors to minimize the variability that can occur in processes.

Bringing Lean Manufacturing Six Sigma Together

When lean manufacturing Six Sigma is practiced together, the combination has been known to be highly effective in driving operational and quality improvements. When the two methods are used separately, each one has been credited for effectively driving out waste and reducing the variation in a number of business processes. If this is the case, how do you determine which one applies best in your environment?

Lean Manufacturing Six Sigma in the Medical Industry

Medical Edge conducted a poll that found that 79 percent of subscribers reported their companies practiced lean manufacturing as a way to eliminate waste from their manufacturing processes. Another 48 percent reported that they were applying the tools and methods of Six Sigma within their environments. These results suggest that there are a number of companies within this industry that are applying lean manufacturing Six Sigma together within their environments.

Lean Manufacturing Six Sigma: Does the Combination Work?

The Medical Edge survey was conducted in 2009; when The Avery Point Group sought out the same information in 2010, there were fewer corporations seeking skilled employees with Six Sigma experience, yet the demand for lean manufacturing talent was growing. The search firm suggests that lean now dominates Six Sigma as the preferred method to drive continuous improvements. While this shift could suggest a trend, companies continue to report successful improvements as a result of combining lean manufacturing Six Sigma.

Regardless of the primary choice you end up making, your objective remains the same: to drive efficiencies in production by eliminating waste and streamlining your processes so that time and other resources are never used for anything other than to move the product or process along. Whether you elect to use the combination of lean manufacturing Six Sigma or a single method, as long as you keep your eye on the goal, you will see the benefits.