Both lean manufacturing and six sigma are management philosophies that help a company eliminate wastefulness in manufacturing and other types of industry. But what are they?
Lean manufacturing has been proven to significantly aid in the streamlining of operations and reduction of waste. It welcomes the concept of continuously raising value added business activities or reducing the so-called seven wastes: transportation, motion, overproduction, inventory, over processing, scrap and defects, and waiting time.
In the increasingly competitive global market, lean manufacturing provides firms with the ability to meet faster turnaround times, higher quality, and lower prices.
Here are some advantages of lean manufacturing:
- Lean manufacturing strengthens production processes
- Lean manufacturing significantly lower the chain of wasteful activities and resources
- Lean manufacturing increases flexibility by improving layouts
- Lean manufacturing reduces floor space needs and inventory dramatically
- Lean manufacturing introduces and implements more appropriate and up-to-date delivery systems.
The six sigma management philosophy, like lean manufacturing, is also tailored to reduce waste, but it is more focused on eliminating waste linked with the production method or equipment defects.
The tools under six sigma are used by firms to further improve and develop a company's products and systems, via the consolidation of engineering, business, and statistical data. As with lean manufacturing, six sigma can also be applied to any form of corporation or organization, whether engaged in the services, marketing, design, sales, or production industries.
Some advantages delivered by the six sigma management tool:
- Six sigma improves and boost a firm's systems and products
- Six sigma reduces the chain of wastes
- Six sigma lessens costs by around 50% via self-financed methods
- Six sigma easily adapts to changing customer tastes
- Six sigma drives growth using the internal resources available to it
What both philosophies do is help firms dramatically increase their productivity by around 75% to 125% because they ensure that no time, energy, or resource is wasted in any of the processing levels. To put it in simple terms, both lean manufacturing and six sigma are bent on nipping problems at the bud, or, even nipping problems before they occur.
A vigilant approach to business is what companies need nowadays to be able to cope with the fast changing times. Sure, while some systems have worked for us for decades now, it wouldn't hurt to try something that is relatively new and proven to be so much better at delivering positive results.