Lean Six Sigma as a universal improvement approach is suitable for medium-sized companies. Even small and medium-sized enterprises (#SMEs) can achieve measurable success quickly. Use the opportunity now and in the crisis to realign your company and your processes.
The most important points in brief:
- Solve serious process and quality problems
- Involve employees in the solution
- Empower employees to participate in improving the company themselves
- Achieve measurable monetary successes quickly (in the order of 10% of EBIT)
Several small and medium sized companies with a size of approx. 200 - 300 employees approached Thomas Lüftl to solve important and urgent problems with the help of Six Sigma.
Problems were for example:
- Automotive supplier: serious process and quality problems, which were admonished by the customer (automotive OEM)
- Medical contract research organization: Lack of commercial competence; incomplete accounting, handling of additional expenses
- Idle times due to lack of holistic production planning
All these problems have in common that they can only be solved by fundamental improvement of processes and adjustment of behaviors in the company. Six Sigma, a corporate philosophy that consistently involves all employees, from the general manager to the workers, in improvement activities, helps to achieve this. As a key performance indicator, Six Sigma stands for a strategic and entrepreneurial orientation that makes it possible to increase the performance of processes in such a way that waste is eliminated and only 3.4 errors per million error possibilities occur. Six Sigma is the method of identifying the core cause of a problem, eliminating it, and achieving lasting measurable improvement.
Lean Six Sigma, has become known primarily through its application in large companies, such as General Electric, Du Pont, Motorola, SGL Carbon. These companies invested in a broad training and coaching program.
Small companies wonder if this does not create too much overhead and if such a program is economical for them. Thomas Lüftl has an approach to implement Six Sigma programs in small and medium sized companies and to achieve significant economic success.
Customer's employees are trained as Lean Six Sigma Green Belts and enabled to independently lead and execute small and medium sized improvement projects. In doing so, they are supported by Thomas Lüftl within the framework of coaching.
The topics that are relevant for small and medium-sized companies are selected and treated in depth. Great importance is attached to exemplary learning. Case studies are used to deal with individual topics in depth, and the ability to transfer knowledge to other topics is promoted. Such knowledge acquisition takes place in the context of project coaching outside the training room.
At the start of the first wave of improvement projects, a stringent analysis phase is carried out along the value chain.Here, Thomas Lüftl contributes his skills as a management consultant and his experience from numerous projects. The most important levers of improvement are identified and specific improvement projects are defined, for example: elimination of bottlenecks in production and service delivery, avoidance of redundancies due to planning deficiencies, waste due to inefficient work processes, quality/rework losses.
Thomas Lüftl works hands on as project manager and in operational responsibility for the implementation of central topics, such as Sales&Operations Planning, Factory Lay Out.
Smaller topics are taken over by Green Belts. They receive individual coaching. Typical topics for Green Belts are the optimization of individual workflows or dedicated root cause analysis for quality issues.
The duration of the first wave of improvement projects is about 4-6 months.
In all cases measurable financial contributions in the order of10% of EBITDA were achieved in the first wave of improvement projects. In addition, many non-monetarily measurable benefits were also achieved, for example, satisfied customers, calmer workflows, higher motivation. In one case, a customer requested a Lean Six Sigma improvement program from the supplier due to serious quality and delivery problems; the program achieved its goal, the customer was retained.
At least some of the Green Belts continued to bring their newly acquired skills into the company and started new continuous improvement initiatives.