How It Works: Lean Six Sigma
How It Works: Lean Six Sigma
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How It Works: Lean Six Sigma
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Lean and Six Sigma are two of the most common disciplines in the business management practice of continuous improvement. They can generate substantial transformational performance improvement.

Lean and Six Sigma are two of the most common disciplines in the business management practice of continuous improvement. Lean is a systematic approach of identifying and eliminating waste and maximizing the use of available resources, while Six Sigma relies heavily on process data and statistical tools to reduce variation and improve quality. Both continuous improvement disciplines focus on improving the customer experience, and, in combination, these two programs can generate substantial, transformational performance improvement.

One common myth about Lean Six Sigma is that it is only applicable to manufacturing. "Not so," says Chris Williams, project manager and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at Burns & McDonnell. "We see increasing interest in Lean Six Sigma in areas including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy, government and financial services. If you use defined processes to make a product, deliver a service or execute a transaction, Lean Six Sigma can help you do it more efficiently."

In building design and construction, Burns & McDonnell Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belts typically get involved in the early stages of design planning to drive design decisions around optimized client processes. "Moving into a new space provides a truly unique opportunity to improve process efficiency," Williams says. "Considering that you'll live with some of these design decisions for decades, you want to apply some Lean thinking up front."

Improving process efficiency isn't the only benefit. The capital investment required for construction or expansion can often be reduced or delayed. For example, during a recent design project, Burns & McDonnell was able to reduce the required footprint of a new aerospace manufacturing facility by nearly 20 percent, saving the client several million dollars in design and construction costs.

Clients employing Lean Six Sigma can expect a 20 percent to 50 percent improvement in key metrics such as cycle time, quality, inventory turnover and on-time delivery, with much greater improvements possible in some cases.

"It's not just a matter of how much you can improve in a single event or short period of time," Williams says. "The real question is: How much better do you need to be to serve your customer? Whatever your answer to that question, Lean Six Sigma can help you achieve it."

For more information, contact Chris Williams, 817-377-0361, ext. 231.

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