Halden Zimmermann: “Lean Speed + Six Sigma Quality = Happy customers”
Customers compare our offerings with everything else in the marketplace. Then they determine what best fits their needs. That’s the reason Lean Six Sigma projects always begin with trying to figure out what customers will focus on as they compare us to our competitors.
For example, when shopping for a hotel, some customers equate quality with a five-star hotel. Others think quality means a motel that is reasonably-priced, clean and close to the highway. Quality is defined by what the customer wants. Companies that do the best in the marketplace are the ones that take the time to view everything through their customers’ eyes and deliver what customers want. The biggest challenge for us is to become aware that any decisions we make about service or our products have to start with our customers.
Customers want quality (no errors) as well as speed (quick delivery) and low cost (best possible price). When we implement LSS, it shows us we can’t achieve any of these goals alone – they all have to be tackled at the same time.
LSS provides a standardized problem-solving toolset that incorporates a step-by-step plan that leads to predictable results. The combination of Lean and Six Sigma is the most powerful engine available for sustaining value creation. Using tools within the LSS framework makes it possible for us to be extremely successful when solving problems and implementing high- value-added projects.
LSS combines two problem-solving concepts aimed at profitability.
Lean is a discipline that focuses on process speed and efficiency and offers tools that work to reduce the number of wasteful steps in a process. Six Sigma is an improvement method that uses data to identify and eliminate process problems. Its tools help us understand and reduce the variation in processes.
Lean strategies cannot bring a process under statistical control, and Six Sigma methodologies alone cannot dramatically improve process speed or reduce invested capital. But combined and used properly, Lean and Six Sigma create a very powerful improvement mechanism.