Lean Six Sigma…Not just for Big Companies
Lean Six Sigma is a method that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation. ... By introducing Lean Six Sigma, the mindset of employees and managers change to one that focuses on growth and continuous improvement through process optimization.
When many people hear about Lean Six Sigma they assume that it is only for big manufacturing companies, IT companies or other large institutions. This is definitely not true. The basic principles that define the Lean Six Sigma process work for all businesses to one degree or another. Let me demonstrate with this simple process definition: The DMAIC process.
Define: What is the current issue? Who is your customer (internal & external)?
Measure: Quantify the problem
Analyze: Identify the cause of the problem
Improve: Solve the root cause and verify your improvement works
Control: Maintain the goals
This DMAIC process can be applied to almost anything and if you follow it, your business will be better off. In small companies, many times the root cause of an issue is a lack of clarity or process, poorly defined roles and limited follow up. By systematically analyzing your business opportunities, you are guaranteed to improve. A “light touch” approach works with a small team, is always collaborative and will drive better results.
With one of my trusted clients, we utilized the DMAIC process to identify issues with their client onboarding process. Together, we process mapped their current steps and immediately identified both missing processes and duplication within the team. Using that information, we were able to reengineer the approach, allowing them to increase the speed and quantity of new client onboardings per week and also improve customer service. It was not overly complex, but the results speak for themselves.
Hearing about Lean Six Sigma scares many people and the initial response is “this is probably not for me”. However, if you have the right support and team, it is well worth the effort. Ultimately, it will allow a business to think differently about how they approach problems, customers and their own teams driving more profitability, less waste and improved results.