Manufacture Smarter Blog

Is Lean Six Sigma Right for You?

5/18/2018 By: Anna Stefos A few weeks ago, The Center’s Brian Mamo wrote about great food pairings as a way to define the combination of “sales” and “marketing” into “smarketing.” An equally dynamic pairing provides manufacturers with valuable tools for reducing waste and improving quality as well as efficiency: Lean and Six Sigma. What Does “Lean” Mean? Coming from the Toyota Production System in Japan in the 1990s, the Lean methodology aims to eliminate anything that does not add value in a given process by targeting variation and defects.

Path to Plant Layout Optimization

9/22/2017 Reconsidering your facility’s layout will enable your business to reduce material handling costs, minimize space requirements, and reduce energy bills. Whether you’re relocating completely or simply re-arranging your current set-up, there are several goals to keep in mind: Improve work flow by becoming more organized Eliminate waste Maximize effectiveness Save time and money Reduce risks To successfully optimize your plant’s layout, both spatial and process-related concepts must be taken into consideration, as well as those ideas that are tied to a human element.

Process Mapping: Addressing the Elephant in the Room

6/23/2017 By: Chuck Werner When teaching a new group of Continuous Improvement (Lean and/or Six Sigma) students, it’s always critical to emphasize the importance of the first “team” activity of any project or kaizen— the process map. There are many benefits to process mapping. One is its highly visual nature. The ease of comparison between what we THINK happens and what actually does is another. It also helps to focus on what area(s) of the process are contributing to the problem or performance of the process.

Implementing Lean Six Sigma

11/4/2016 If you are interested in optimizing your organization’s capabilities and efficiencies to produce the best quality output possible at the lowest cost, it’s time to adopt Six Sigma methodology. Six Sigma is a measurement-based strategy for process improvement and variation reduction that utilizes DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) as a road map to successful implementation. It is a systematic, team-oriented approach that will result in a more user-friendly workspace while streamlining operations, increasing value and reducing waste.

The Case of Lean Six Sigma and the Small/Medium Sized Company

10/14/2016 We all agree on the benefits of embracing a Six Sigma Culture. It is after all a management methodology which allows companies to use data to eliminate defects and reduce variability in any process, manufacturing and business alike. Yet, it is also important to know that in Six Sigma there are two main methodologies both inspired by Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycles, and each is composed of five phases: DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) brings improvement to existing processes, services, and systems, and it is more universally used and accepted, whereas DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) is used by organizations that are involved in continuous development, mostly done from scratch, and design/re-design as well as innovate new products and services  Basically, the Design phase is the only difference between DMAIC and DMADV.

Choosing a Path For Your Company: Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing or a Combination of Both?

6/5/2015 Every day, MMTC is out consulting with Michigan’s manufacturers about how to improve their competitiveness. While we work with a diverse group of companies – from food and chemical producers to automobile parts and metal manufacturers – organizations of all industries and sizes are focused on process improvement to boost profits. This is great news. Continuously improving processes enables companies to produce higher quality goods, better meet shipping deadlines and shorten lead times. However, there seems to be a little bit of confusion regarding the best way to improve processes.

What Color is Your Belt? The Importance of Six Sigma and Belt Certifications

5/15/2015 For most companies in the business world, reducing costs is viewed upon positively. But, for those who speak of it, BEWARE! Sometimes, the idea of reducing costs becomes synonymous with cutting staff in the manufacturing world, especially in the minds of employees. Instead of focusing on just reducing costs, manufacturers should prioritize their efforts and focus on reducing excess and unnecessary costs. This is where Six Sigma comes in. Six Sigma 101 Six Sigma is a powerful set of methods and tools enabling manufacturers to reduce excess costs by maximizing efficiencies, eliminating waste and removing variations from their production cycle.

Why Lean Six Sigma and Employee Engagement Initiatives Improve Your Company Culture

2/6/2015 A productive business is one that is able to manufacture quality products effectively and at low cost…correct?  In reality, a productive business is also one that’s able to manufacture quality products effectively while improving overall employee morale. Unhappy employees can be just as damaging to a business’ bottom-line as bad products or processes. In addition to hurt productivity, poor employee morale can ultimately lead to turnover. The time and resources used to recruit and train new team members can be better invested elsewhere.