LEAN SIX SIGMA
A Powerful Tool
Delta Centrifugal Corporation's Lean Six Sigma program is a powerful business-improvement tool that can enhance the effectiveness of the services we provide to our customers. It leads to solutions that no one person could ever develop alone.
Delta's dedication to Operational Excellence is the result of management and employee commitment to continual improvement in every operation of producing and delivering an economical and defect free product to our customers.
Since 2003, Delta has been using Lean Six Sigma tools and methods in both internal projects and projects for customers. These projects focus on reducing waste and increasing effectiveness in vital business processes to bring measurable improvements in results for customers and the company.
Delta's Lean Sigma Steering Committee meets every month to review and direct active projects aimed at reducing the 8 wastes. Some of our new projects come from our Employee Suggestion Award Program where all employees are encouraged to submit an improvement idea and earn a reward for their innovation. Delta currently has two black belts on staff and three lean agents. Our lean/six sigma coordinator devotes all of his time to process improvement with lean and six sigma tools.
Lean goals are to eliminate waste, shorten cycle times, improve quality, reduce cost and manage inventory effectively. Characteristics of an operation with no waste are: products produced only in response to customer demand, immediate response to a customer's need, zero defects, zero inventory and instant delivery to the customer. Long cycle times indicate processes with significant waste. Improving quality starts with understanding the customer's requirements and developing metrics to accurately reflect how well it meets those requirements. Waste, cycle time, and quality issues all contribute to cost while Lean and Six Sigma data can help assess actual costs. Managing inventory eliminates unnecessary WIP.
The fundamental principles of ‘Lean' thinking state that the workplace must be safe, orderly and clean. Products are built just-in-time. Six Sigma quality is built into the product and the process. There is a relentless pursuit of perfections — continuously improving process performance. A key objective is to eliminate non-value added activities.
Lean principles apply to product development, order taking and scheduling, manufacturing, logistics, administrative activities and human resources.
ABOUT SIX SIGMA
Six Sigma is process thinking in which there is a framework of understanding the process steps, inputs, and outputs which allow a common approach to solving problems and making improvements. Decision-making is based on data versus intuition. The primary improvement method used in Six Sigma is DMAIC or define, measure, analyze, improve and control. A key element is the focus on identifying the few critical variables that impact the project deliverables.
Six Sigma uses a rigorous set of statistical and analytic tools to produce improvements in our work processes. Most processes have three to five key input variables that can be used to predict the process output. Identification of these can lead to effective ways to optimize and control processes. Good management practices are based on the principle of focusing on what is critical. Six Sigma is about understanding and controlling the variable of inputs to optimize the outputs.
Lean and Six Sigma work together. Whereas lean gets the overall process flow right, six sigma makes each step of the process right. They have similar goals but use different tools to solve different problems.