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Quality and Process Improvement: Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma

Quality and Process Improvement: Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma

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Published by Atiqah Ismail
This document covers the early history of lean manufacturing and six sigma, their transition from manufacturing industries to retail and services (e.g. healthcare, finance, etc.) industries; and similarly, six sigma's transition from manufacturing processes to service industries.
The similarities and differences between the two methodologies and their tools and techniques, the compatibility of both. The expected shelf life of lean manufacturing and six sigma as improvement techniques, their applications, processes, and case studies. Reference list is also included.
Please cite this document accordingly. The document has previously been submitted to Newcastle University's Turnitin program. To avoid plagiarism, please cite accordingly.
This document covers the early history of lean manufacturing and six sigma, their transition from manufacturing industries to retail and services (e.g. healthcare, finance, etc.) industries; and similarly, six sigma's transition from manufacturing processes to service industries.
The similarities and differences between the two methodologies and their tools and techniques, the compatibility of both. The expected shelf life of lean manufacturing and six sigma as improvement techniques, their applications, processes, and case studies. Reference list is also included.
Please cite this document accordingly. The document has previously been submitted to Newcastle University's Turnitin program. To avoid plagiarism, please cite accordingly.

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Published by: Atiqah Ismail on Jun 19, 2013
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Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma 20131Atiqah Ismail
I
NTRODUCTION
 
Companies are pressured to remain competitive, as globalisation, rapid technological changes,innovation and product variety proliferation all have increased and intensified competition inmany industries and business sectors world-wide. This trend pushes companies to constantlyimprove and implement best management principles strategies and practices (Carpinetti andMartins, 2001). Therefore, the importance of processes and quality management strategies, suchas lean manufacturing, six sigma and quality circles, have been recognised to play a crucial,complementary role in the creation of sustainable competitive advantage (Russell and Taylor,2009). The following will discuss two of the many business management and continuousimprovement strategies; Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.
L
EAN
M
ANUFACTURING
 
Lean manufacturing is a philosophy which strives for simplicity and emphasizes continuousimprovements through the elimination of waste (i.e. non-value adding activities), to ultimatelyachieve defect-free operations (Hicks, 2012). Lean principles originated from the manufacturingoperations as a set of tools and practices to eliminate waste and inefficiencies in productiontowards cost reduction, quality and reliability improvements, and quicker cycle-times (Corbett,2007).The concept was pioneered by the Toyota Production Systems in the late 1980s which focused onwaste reduction and low cost automation. It arose from the pressure for efficiency after the WorldWar II where Japanese manufacturers were faced with material, financial, and human resourcesshortages (Abdulmalek and Rajgopal, 2007) and could not afford mass production facilities used by its American rivals (Hicks, 2012). Gradually, Lean has evolved from manufacturingorganisations to include those in the service sector such as insurance companies, hospitals,retailing, and banking (Corbett, 2007; Russell and Taylor, 2009).
This approach aims to „meet demand instantaneously, with perfect quality and no waste‟ (Slack 
et al 
., 2010). Thus the flow of products and services in Lean will deliver exactly what customerswant, in the right quantities, at the right place and time, at the lowest possible cost. Consequently,lean produces a synchronised flow of products and services through processes, operations andsupply networks (Slack 
et al.
, 2010). It emphasises on customer-centricity, education and
 
Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma 20132Atiqah Ismail
training, internal and external customer-supplier relationships, perfection, synchronised flow,reduction in variation, inclusion of all people, and waste elimination (Slack 
et al.
, 2010).Lean manufacturing identifies seven common types of 
‘waste
 s
, these are overproduction,transportation, waiting, unnecessary processes, unnecessary inventory, motion and defects (Ohno,1988; Womack and Jones, 1996; MacInnes, 2002; George, 2002). McAdam and Donegan (2003)identified the eighth form of waste as unused human resources. Later, service operationsresearchers (e.g. Bicheno and Holweg, 2009
;
Maleyeff, 2006) redefined the manufacturing wastesfor service operations. Table 1 lists these types of wastes.
Table 1:
Types of Wastes in Lean
Manufacturing Waste Service Waste
Overproduction DelayWaiting DuplicationTransportation Unnecessary movementUnnecessary processes Unclear communicationUnnecessary inventory Process inefficienciesMotionLost opportunity to retain or win customersDefects Transaction errorsUnutilised human resources Resources inefficienciesAccording to
O‟Rourke
(2005), the identification of these wastes is uncovered through therecognition of what the customer values. In identifying wastes, customer values are determinedthrough a lean initiative called the value stream mapping (VSM)
(O‟Rourke, 2005)
. A valuestream is all the activities and processes involved in creating and delivering the final product(Abdulmalek and Rajgopal, 2007). Accordingly, VSM is a lean technique which aims to identifyand eliminate all types of waste in the value stream (Rother and Shook, 1999). Other importantvalue-identification tools are market research and Quality Function Deployment.
 
Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma 20133Atiqah Ismail
Implementation: Principles, Tools & Techniques
 There are five fundamental principles of lean. These are represented as a five-step process for guiding the implementation of lean (Womack and Jones, 1996; Womack, 2002):1.
 
Identify and specify the value desired by the customer,2.
 
Identify and map the value stream and eliminate processes that do not add-value,3.
 
Ensure product or service flow continuously,4.
 
Introduce pull-system between all steps in the value streamDesign and provide what the customer wants only when the customer wants it.5.
 
Pursue perfectionSystematically and continuously eliminates the root cause of waste, to achieve theultimate goal of zero defects.To effectively implement the lean principles, a number of interconnected elements must be in place (Russell and Taylor, 2009; Hicks, 2012); these are listed in Table 2.
 
Table 2:
Elements of LeanFundamental elements for the implementation of Lean
 1.
 
Workplace management (
i.e.Gemba Kanri
)7.
 
Quick set-ups (i.e. set-up timereduction)2.
 
Flexible resources 8.
 
Uniform production levels3.
 
Cellular layout (or cellular manufacturing)9.
 
Quality at the source (i.e. gettingit right the first time)4.
 
Pull systems 10.
 
Total preventative maintenance5.
 
Kanbans 11.
 
Supplier networks6.
 
Small lot sizes (i.e. small machineconcept)
Source:
Russell and Taylor (2009), Slack 
et al 
. (2010), Hicks (2012)Lean is a commitment to achieve totally waste-free operations. Therefore, to implement andachieve lean, the firm must depart from traditional thinking, and first implement changeamongst the shop-floor workers and the entire organisation workforce through their positiveand active support.

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