The Six Sigma strategy and the Lean Six Sigma strategy

Success factors of using tools and techniques result in quality assurance, quality control and also effective use of tools and techniques. If the problems are identified and understood in early stages, pitfalls can be avoided and success factors can be highlighted. The most critical success factors of using tolls and techniques are illustrated as following (cited from BOOK1-chap3): >>[102]

1. Top management commitment:
Top management commitment is a critical factor of using tools and technique, which is related to three main factors including:
Ӣ Total commitment of senior management, which has proved in many case studies that it is essential for successful usage of tools and techniques.
Ӣ The top management must be convinced that the application of tools and techniques should have business case.
Ӣ The senior manager should have sufficient enthusiasm and knowledge about application of tools and techniques.

2. Availability of resources:
Availability of sources and effective utilization of tools and techniques are important in Lean Six Sigma. When the decision is made to implement tools and techniques, it is vital that relevant resources such as facilities, money and people are available.

On the other hand, effective use of application of tools and techniques and also decrease in cost of external trainers and consultants can be achieved by training a small group of selected people followed by transferring their knowledge to other employees of the company

3. Well-designed education and training program:
Education is a critical success factor since it aids transferring the utilization of the tools and techniques to employees and also changes employees’ behavior in order to allow change to the job and accept to work as team.

Training is another important factor, which makes small group capable to use Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques. A good example of well-designed program is the rigorous training of Lean Six Sigma, which educates and trains employees following the defined phase.

4. Rigorous project management approach:
Failure in using tools and techniques for project management can lead to unfinished objectives (i.e. quality) of the project and also budget and time overrun. A well-managed project or program can assure the success of using the application of tools and techniques.

Rigorous project management improves project organization, maintains regular monitoring of cost, time and benefits. It also makes sure the project brief is well defined and assures continuous feedback, learning and sharing of good practice.

4.3 Creation of Lean Six Sigma infrastructure (X)
Belt system is vital in organizations because it aids learning and adopting the latest tool and techniques, which can assure success in Lean Six Sigma. Belt system is taken from Six Sigma and used to rank expertise in order to assure that the establishment and implementation of Lean Six Sigma are done faultlessly in various companies.
Belt system in Lean Six Sigma is divided to four different levels of expertise including: Master, Black, Green and Yellow belt (Hoerl, 2001). It should be applied to the whole organization through customized curriculum. The curriculum should be modified based on the organization’s needs and requirement, which can be highlighted by identifying key roles and responsibilities of individuals implementing Lean Six Sigma (Antony and Banuelas, 2002).

Belt program should also consider economical, managerial benefits and cover leadership, qualitative and quantitative measures and metrics and also project management practices and skills.

Paper 1
 Master Black Belt (MBB):
Master Black Belts, also known as the quality managers, are selected from among the top-talented Black Belts in the company. The Master Black Belts should complete intensive training and oversee many projects including several Black Belt projects to achieve the certification. They should be experts and highly skilled in all aspects of the lean Six Sigma methodologies covering tools and management of Lean as well as Six Sigma. Book4-chap7
This job is a full-time position. Mater Black Belts should have expert knowledge in advanced applied statistical analysis (i.e. design of experiment, analysis of variance), leadership training and business strategies. One of the most important roles of Master Black Belts is to be capable to coach, mentor and train individuals ranging from Black belts to the executive Leaderships. LSS-Public Sector

 Black Belt (BB):
Black Belts are also known as team leaders or technical leaders of the Lean Six Sigma project. They should complete one-month training course and also lead four to six complex initiatives each year in order to achieve certificate. LSS-Public Sector
Black Belts should have the skill and knowledge of all Lean Six Sigma tools including leadership skills and project management skills. They should also have communication skills and be able to train and mentor Green Belts across the organization. Note that Black Belt is also a full time role same as the Master Black Belt. Design for LSS

 Green Belt (GB):
Green Belts, known as team participants, should know the basic concepts of Lean Six Sigma like problem solving and statistical tools. This knowledge can be gain usually in one week by training courses or Minitab softwares. Green Belts usually work with or under supervision of either a Black Belt or Master Black Belt on a part-time job basis. Book4-chap7
 Yellow Belt (YB):
The Yellow Belts should know basic knowledge of Lean Six Sigma but they are not responsible or expected to lead project on their own. However, they can run small process improvements using simple quality methodologies. Usually two days is required to complete Yellow Belt certification, which includes Lean Six Sigma tools, metrics and improvement methodologies.

4.4 Implementation of Lean Six Sigma (procedure, application)

LSS is a management strategy that can be adopted in all sizes and types of manufacturing and construction industries. It can be applied to a certain or entire organization for improvement. The area that requires improvement and the required necessary tools to achieve strategic objectives depend on critical success factors of the relevant project. In other words factors that can aid project improvement need to be identified. LSS that works

Based on the preceding chapter, LSS is implemented in two stages of Lean construction and SS. Lean construction uses Kaizen technique and SS employs DMAIC method to effectively implement LSS. Prior to the two stages several points need to be considered as following (cited from [100]):
 Ensure managerial and financial sources are available.
 Make sure close communication with employees, suppliers and customers has been developed.
 The top-level management should be on board because senior leadership has direct effect on success of performance.
 Policies and guidelines should be established and training programs should be assessed and conducted for employees.
Moreover, the two stages of implementing LSS are as following:

Stage 1
In LSS, Lean employs Kaizen technique to implement the six main principles of Lean including: value, value stream, waste elimination, flow, pull and perfection. Though prior to employing Kaizen events, as mentioned in the previous chapter suitable champion needs to be selected in order to provide the resources (i.e. people, data and money). LSS-Public Sector Finally appropriate Kaizen team is selected to implement the principles of Lean as following:
i. The value should be specified based on customer point of view.
ii. The wastes, which are non-value added steps in the project needs to be identified and eliminated as much as possible to increase the flow and speed the process.
iii. The value stream steps should be identified and flowed without interruptions.
iv. The customer should pull value from the process if necessary.
v. Finally continuous improvement is persuaded to achieve perfection.

Stage 2
In this stage of LSS, Six Sigma is implemented using DMAIC technique through Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control phases. There are two options for implementing DMAIC method ”˜Project-team approach’ or ”˜Kaizen approach’. [101] The approach is chosen based on the objectives of the project and customer requirements. However, using either of the approaches same DMAIC technique is implemented, the only difference is before implementing the DMAIC process champion needs to select different belt system (i.e. MBB, BB, GB). After selecting the DMAIC approach, the same steps mentioned in the previous chapter should be applied.
Furthermore, in both stages, the LSS tools introduced in previous chapter are utilized in order to improve quality and business performance. Regardless of the tools that an organization may choose to adopt, selections of tools are essential to progress the initiative. BOOK1-chap11
There are three key factors that need to be considered before implementing LSS tools. These factors are (cited from BOOK1-chap11):

1. Complete toolbox: Implementing LSS effectively requires complete toolbox. This means tools need to be accessible at all time and can be brought together when required in order to achieve the purpose.

2. Tools and techniques expert: All employees especially the key players of an organization should have sufficient level of knowledge and skill on tools and techniques from rigorous training and practice. However, the level of education and training of employees depends on the specific process and application.

3. Utilizing simple tools: Based on many organizations’ experience, 80% of the successful projects start with simple and basic tools. Run chart and Control charts are good examples of simple tools. Note that when the process is further developed, more advanced tools will be required. In this stage of the project, expert members and Black Belts are vital.

The implementation of the Lean Six Sigma strategy is grounded on the practical implementation of basic strategies used in terms of the Six Sigma strategy and adapted to the lean construction. First of all, the implementation of the Lean Six Sigma starts with the detailed analysis of the current situation in the organization, internal business processes, production process and company-customer relationships along with the analysis of the organizational culture. On the ground of the aforementioned analysis, organizations have to define their strengths and weaknesses. After that organizations should evaluate critically their potential and major weaknesses which need immediate improvements. In such a way, organizations should define their needs (Epply, 2000). The accurate definition of organizational needs contribute to the development of the Lean Six Sigma strategy, which focuses on qualitative changes and improvements in organizations. To put it more precisely, organizations implementing the Lean Six Sigma strategy focus on the introduction of business approaches, which improve the quality of products, services and internal business processes. In this regard, the implementation of the total quality management is one of the basic steps organizations can take in terms of the implementation of the Lean Six Sigma strategy (Basu, 2009). What is meant here is the fact that organizations implement improvements not only in terms of the production process to enhance the quality of products and services delivered to customers. In addition, the improvement of the quality should refer to the internal business processes in organizations and to the interpersonal relationships within the organizations.

Leave a Reply