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INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 48: NUMBER 07
By Merwan B. Mehta
Building a solid platform can make your lean Six Sigma program transformational
Companies worldwide are embarking on continuous improvement. However, without an overall deployment plan, continuous improvement initiatives will last a season or two. A recommended approach being implemented at DSM Dyneema, let’s call it the five P’s of process excellence. In their level of importance, they are: (1) passion, (2) platform, (3) people, (4) products and (5) processes.
Passion is a mystical attribute that is difficult to impart to someone or train one to achieve. It is also difficult to measure the presence of passion, but it is easy to spot if it is missing in a company’s leaders and employees. People can get excited if they know how making changes will benefit them in ways that are not conceivable in the present. This can include getting more pay, being offered better benefits or achieving higher job satisfaction.
The platform is the organizational structure that needs to be created for a company to pursue the successful deployment of a continuous improvement program. The main characters that play prominent roles in creating the platform are the sponsor for the initiative, the leader of a unit or site, champions to pursue projects identified to achieve the initial program goals, the team of lean Six Sigma black and green belts, the project manager, the project facilitator and the process owner.
The best way to engage employees in continuous improvement efforts is first to make their place of work more organized and the work easier to conduct. Create a list of immediate things that could be implemented, a list of short-term projects and a list of long-term projects, implementation of skill-based pay also good second-level projects to pursue to increase employee empowerment. Creating a team allowing employees to support each other.
The goal should be to eliminate such old products, while keeping an eye on developing new products. A good goal would be for your organization to make 40 percent of its sales through products that have been designed and launched in the past two years. Another goal of effective product design should be to use as few basic subassemblies or modules as possible and, through mixing and matching them, develop as many final products as possible. This will help your enterprise produce products faster with better quality.
Using lean principles and other world-class best practices, the team then comes up with an envisioned future state that will enable the company to provide better value to its customers in terms of lower costs, better quality or faster delivery. Improvement efforts for the process begin by first capturing how the process is being conducted now.
Employees are always the key; the goal has to be for everyone to believe that they are valuable to the company’s mission and show them how process excellence begins with personal improvement. Management also needs to have an attitude to bring out the best in people through personal coaching and humility.
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