Find the hidden profit in your organization.
Lean allows you to find extra capacity, resources, productivity, at a discount. No need to invest in extra equipment, facilities or “software.” Using your existing staff, we partner with your management team to drive change and results. There’s not need for weeks of sophisticated training, methodologies or statistics. We use a very practical approach to increasing productivity and margins in your operation.
Six Sigma gives you the know-how to go after pesky business problems that are mostly “root-cause unknown.” Which, is kind of like saying, “we have a problem, but we’re not quote sure how to best fix it. We don’t know how to best fix it because we may not fully understand the root cause.
A simple, but arguably one of the most critical cornerstones to set in establishing a sustaining culture of continuous improvement.
- Sort – Keep only those things you need to do your job, all else goes away
- Set in Order – Keep the things you need close, organized, and easy to access.
- Shine – We all like to live and work in a clean place, so sprue things up.
- Standardize – Make the above into a routine and get some performances goals behind each one.
- Sustain – Put a plan in place to come back and visit the 5S actions regularly and make them a part of your routine.
Sometimes you’ll hear about a “sixth S” which is safety. How do you keep you, your workspace, and your co-workers safe?
The Seven Wastes
One of the easiest, quickest, yet, most powerful tool you can use is application of the Seven Wastes.
Defects – something produced by your process or a specific step is broken or defective.
Overproduction – making more than your customer or your downstream process step requires.
Waiting – product or service work is idle causing lead times to increase; dependency on someone else upstream who cannot get their work done.
Transportation – moving things from one place to another with the product or service staying static. Can also involve movement of information from system to system.
Inventory – product or service elements not being utilized or processed, just taking up time and space.
Motion – extra effort or work required to get something done, but not necessarily adding a lot of value to the product or service.
Extra Processing – over engineering or designing a product or service beyond what’s needed by the customer or downstream process consumer.
Underutilized Talent – Sometimes you’ll see mention of an “8th Waste,” called Underutilized Talent. This is when smart, capable employees are stuck doing “mind-numbing work” because they are trying to heroically thing to overcome the inefficiencies of their day-to-day processes.
But identifying the wastes categories is just the start. The next step in building out a culture of continuous improvement. It’s vital to build the capacity in your staff to apply some of the easiest, yet most powerful tools to rid your operation, processes and workflows of “waste.”
Here are some new areas of CI that are moving beyond just game changers, to table-stakes, must-haves.
The good news is, that data has become so commonplace, we can find digital fingerprints for just about everything. The bad news is, that data has become so commonplace, there’s so much of it and it can be really, really hard to make sense of it. This is where Data Mining can help. Data mining is the discipline of taking mounds and mounds of data, and making sense out of it. In the best cases, it’s mining the data to find gold – insights – you didn’t know existed earlier. For example, in our new world of paying for everything by subscription – online app, news sites, streaming services – the big care about is “churn.” Churn is the likelihood that a subscriber will jump ship and go to a competing vendor.
An emerging technology to help with process analytics is called process mining. It takes the digital fingerprints that computers systems capture and turn them into readable flow diagrams along with key metrics about the performance of your process. Whereas before you might need to bring a whole group of subject matter experts into a series of meetings, process mining allows you to dramatically reduce this analysis time. It does require some setup and data engineering, but once the system is set up, you can dramatically improve your “time to discovery” with respect to all kinds of process improvement work.
Celonis is one of the leaders in this emerging technology segment.
Robotic Process Automation
Thinks of this as Excel Macros on steroids. Just as you can automated formulas and tasks within Excel, you can do the same across platforms, systems, applications and data pools using Robotic Process Automation or RPA. Add to that the ability for more sophisticated RAP applications to interpret the data and make decisions and whatever is being handled. For example, routing payment information. The RPA bot can be taught to pick up the invoice, match the payment, and based on whether there’s a match or not, route the payment to “Paid-in-Full” or “Partial Payment” – call for follow up, or, it can even be programmed to send an reminder email on the missing amount.
The benefits can be material in the right business. Bots are cheap and easy to implement, requiring nothing more than off-the-shelf, pre-packaged software that’s designed with low code or no-code skills in mind. The convergence of these factors and lead to higher productivity, along with increased scale, without proportional increases in cost. The key success factor here is being careful not to apply RPA to everything. It truly makes sense to apply it those situations the involve high transaction counts, routine outcomes, and digital presentation of information.