Reply to the following thread in APA format with in text citations. 500-600 words total. Minimum of 2 sources.
Acceptable sources include the textbook, the Bible, outside scholarly articles, etc.
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Compare/contrast the findings of others with your research.
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Key Concept Explanation Lean Six Sigma
Lean and six sigma were first developed as two separate business improvement methods used to achieve operational success. “Lean is a process improvement method used to deliver services and products faster, better, and at a lower cost. Six sigma is a data driven process improvement method used to achieve stable and predictable process results” (Laureani & Antony, 2012, p.111-112). When used together these two methods complement one another. Lean six sigma improves the production process by eliminating steps that do not add value, improves the quality of products and services, increases the speed of delivery, improves customer satisfaction, and reduces production costs. “Management commitment, organizational culture, and linkage of lean six sigma to the business strategy is the key to successfully implementing this method” (Näslund, 201, p.98).
I chose this topic because I wanted to learn more bout lean six sigma and its effects on an organization. In recent years, lean six sigma has become a widely used method that many successful organizations respect and utilize. Although I have never had the opportunity to use lean six sigma in business operations, I believe that eventually I will be faced with using and implementing this method. I wanted to be able to fully understand the importance of lean six sigma and how it is properly implemented. I believe that learning more about lean six sigma will prepare me for future occasions where I may be faced with working with this method to improve organizational business operations.
My research shows the lean and six sigma joined together in the late 1990’s to achieve operational success. According to the textbook using the principles of lean and the tools of six sigma together gives organizations the ability to be competitive by allowing them to eliminate processes that do not add value and improve the quality of products and services. Laureani & Antony (2012), define lean six sigma as “a business improvement method that aims to maximize shareholders value by improving quality, speed, customer satisfaction and costs: it achieves this by merging tools and principles from both” (p.110). Knapp (2015), and Atmaca & Girenes (2013), are also in agreement with this information and provide similar definitions.
Although lean six sigma began in the manufacturing industry this method is now widely used in the manufacturing and service industry. Service industries have found that using lean six sigma improves the quality of services and encourages continuous improvement in business operations. According to Knapp (2015), “Managers in several hospitals have implemented lean six sigma to improve performance, reduce medical errors, and control costs” (p. 855). Denver, Colorado’s Highway Authority has also began using lean six sigma to increase its productivity level and reduce costs (Arthur, 2014, p. 7).
Although lean six sigma can be used by various organizations and industries, it is not always the appropriate method to use. “Lean and Six Sigma are more appropriate for organizations with high production volumes, low degrees of customization and with low varieties in demand. Six Sigma may not be appropriate for organizations with an innovative focus/strategy” (Näslund, 2013, p.99). According to studies conducted in Knapp (2015), “Organizational culture plays a role in the successful implementation of lean six sigma” (p.855). Organizations that have a group or developmental cultural type are more likely to be successful because of the embedded value of team work and its ability to take risks. Näslund (2013), and Knapp (2015), discuss how managers are the key to implementing lean six sigma successfully because of their ability to communicate, influence, and encourage change within the organization.
Atmaca & Girenes (2013), article titled “Lean six sigma methodology and application” discusses how today’s business environment requires companies to focus on increasing its productivity level, product quality, and speed of delivery in order to achieve long term success. Six sigma is a method that was first developed to help organizations increase their productivity level and improve the quality of products and services by improving business processes; but it lacks the ability to improve the speed of delivery. Lean management focuses on simplifying business processes, reducing the amount of resources used, and delivering products to customers as quickly as possible. Using the two methods together allows organizations to increase its overall productivity level, improve quality, and increase the speed of delivery. Lean and six sigma was first used together in 1997, by BAE Systems Controls where they used the tools of six sigma and lean manufacturing principles to increase profitability. In the article a study is conducted on lean six sigma in the manufacturing sector. The study examines process improvement activities on an assembly line. The study reveals how organizations are able to identify and remove activities that do not add value using lean six sigma. Although most research on the implementation of lean six sigma is conducted in the manufacturing sector, lean six sigma can be used in the service and public sector. Future research will allow us to perform studies and compare results in all sectors.
God tells us that we must "be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV). We have to take advantage of our opportunities and make the most of them in order to perform successfully. Organizations use lean six sigma to provide them with the opportunity to make improvements in business processes, quality, speed, and other various areas. "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14 KJV). We must surround ourselves with successful people and work as a team in order to achieve success. When organizations decide to implement lean six sigma they must first realize that this method requires team work. It is a group effort and everyone in the organization has to be involved in the implementation process, especially management, in order for the process to be effective. "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22 NIV).
In 2005, Denver, Colorado’s Highway Authority decided to use lean six sigma to save money on projects and increase its productivity level. They decided to use a results focused approach which is quite different from the traditional approach that organizations usually use. They tailored the program to meet their needs and provide quick results. “Unlike many organizations, E-470 didn't commit to a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling implementation of Lean Six Sigma. The leadership team focused on delivering results quickly, project by project” (Arthur, 2014, p. 8). Using this approach employees are provided with the key concepts that are needed to complete assigned projects. They receive a half of day training on lean management and a half of day training on six sigma. This approach has allowed Denver, Colorado’s Highway Authority to make continuous improvements and receive quick results.
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