Generic Application and Effectiveness of Lean Six Sigma Practices Across Diverse Industry Types Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Quality Management System and Continuous Improvement

Six Sigma Strategy for Continuous Improvement

Implementing Six Sigma

Lean Strategy for Continuous Improvement

Lean and Sig Sigma Interrelated

Industrial application of lean / six sigma

Lean / Six Sigma in Service Industry

Lean / Six Sigma in Manufacturing Industry

Lean / Six Sigma in Construction Industry

Lean / Six Sigma in Mining Industry

Effectiveness of the Lean / Six Sigma in the Industry

Population and Sampling

In the business management strategy, quality plays a major role for global organizations that seeks market competitive position through achieving customer satisfaction more successfully, advancing on internal business processes and reducing cost. The process of globalization is shrinking the market place, creating new avenues for business and confronting them with more challenges and international competition. Under such scenario customer expectations are growing as they can find variety and easy substitute of product and service whereas the products are getting complex day by day. Companies who doesn't prepare themselves for the upcoming challenges and doesn't meet the industry requirement will then be over taken by the companies who are performing quite well in this respect. Maintaining high quality standards through customer satisfaction is thus considered the most important parameter in climbing up the ladder of success and reaping economic benefits.

Quality was thus considered to be of fundamental importance to many organizations. Almost all of the firms have started adopting a strategy of differentiation based on high quality. In the initial phases quality was not measured as an output target. Quality was considered to be something added to the product rather than an integral part of it. In the early day's quality control was only applied to manufacturing which was limited to inspection or identification of defects in items being manufactured. Many problems were then identified with this approach like:

a) If the production process guarantees zero defect items to be produced than inspection process was useless and was not adding any value to the business.

b) The production of substandard products is waste of raw materials, machine time, human effort and over head cost.

c) Large expensive land and warehousing space was been taken up by the inspection department.

d) The production defects not compatible with the latest production technique like just in time where there is no time for inspection.

e) Working capital is tied up in inventories that cannot be sold.

To sum this up, the inspection process was adding waste into the production process, which is not acceptable as the resources it consumes can be better put in use. If an organization is committed to deliver product and services of the necessary level of quality, it must actively manage all the factors that have an impact on quality. A quality management system is the answer to this issue.

1.1. Problem Statement:

The issue or topic which is being taken for research study is about the identification and evaluation of the continuous improvement methods and practices which are being widely used across different industries and to identify that which practices is best for different types of industries. The problem statement or title of the research is:

"Identification and evaluation of general application and effectiveness of lean / six sigma practices across diverse industry types"

1.2. Purpose and Research Objectives:

This research paper will be focused on the implementation of the Lean / Six Sigma strategy for the continuous improvement and will evaluate its effectiveness in the diverse industry type ranging in the categories of:

i. Manufacturing Industry

ii. Services Industry iii. Construction Industry

iv. Mining Industry

2. Literature Review:

The organizations to deliver high quality products and services to its customer and have increased level of profitability with minimum cost it need to implement a system of continuous improvement. This system of continuous improvement is achieved through rigorous quality control measures, mechanism and processes (Bernett & Nentl, 2010). Quality management system is likely to address all these issues though it's various tools and programs to which Six Sigma / lean is part. Six Sigma / lean is a quality management program that is aimed to achieve high level of quality through customer satisfaction. The overall aim is very high and consistent level of quality output and customer satisfaction. With its varying degree of qualification ranging from black belt to green belt, experts in this field are making their full commitment towards the achievement of Six Sigma / Lean objective. The two terminologies are however different in their definitions but their conceptual context is quite similar therefore organizations are applying them simultaneously or one of the other's substitutes.

The implementation of the two philosophies have been observed in the diverse industry groups including manufacturing, service, mining and construction to evaluate its system procedures and effectiveness in the wide range of industry type. It is observed that the concept of Six Sigma / Lean which was initially developed by the manufacturing concern was not limited to it and it's equally beneficial in the service industry. The financial institutions, educational institutions, Healthcare, hospitals and clinics have been found applying it and reaping its benefits (Kwak, & Anbari, 2006). The implementation of the system requires commitment from top to bottom in an organization with participation for all the employees. Everyone in an organization is being educated and trained with the system so that they can run the process within their capacity at the optimum level.

For the system to be effective it's important to scrutinize whether it's adding value to the business or not. For this purpose organization need to analyze that the system is genuinely customer focused, data and facts utilized in the statistical application for results, having proactive means towards system improvement and perfection is combined with tolerance of failure. When the organizations have adopted the process of Six Sigma / Lean it undergoes process improvement, process reengineering and process redesign. This process is thus adding value to the system in a way that it is designed to decrease wastage, improve product quality and leading to greater customer satisfaction and lower cost. Companies that have been implementing Six Sigma / Lean approaches have been reporting high level of savings in their projects. Six Sigma / Lean is applicable to every level of the operation process by optimizing the performance, decreasing the wastage and cost associated with the process and maximizing the profit. If the dedication and full commitment of the senior managers is gained and employees are committed in bringing about a turnaround plan within the organization then the success of Six Sigma / Lean is apparent (Harry & Schroeder, 2000).

2.1. Quality Management System and Continuous Improvement:

Generally all quality management system is designed around eight quality management principles provided in ISO 9001:2000.

i. Customer focus

ii. Leadership iii. Involvement of people

iv. Process approach

v. Systems approach to management

vi. Continual improvement vii. Factual approach to decision making viii. Mutual beneficial supplier relationships.

On the way to maintain high quality standards, organizations are moving towards the business philosophy of 'continuous improvement' in their business processes. The continuous improvement in processes is actually a way of improving products, services or operation processes which is not limited to time and space rather it's an ongoing process of achieving high quality and increased level of customer satisfaction. The process of continuous improvement enables companies to fulfill the objectives of improving quality proactively, reduction in the waste, high level of employee involvement and increasing customer satisfaction. These all collectively forms the goals of quality management system.

2.2. Six Sigma Strategy for Continuous Improvement

Six Sigma is a quality management system whose overall aim is a very high and consistent standard of quality output. Six Sigma shapes itself in the form of specific improvement projects which follows a standards five phase pattern (Henderson, & Evans, 2000).

i. Define requirements

ii. Measure performance iii. Analyze the process

iv. Improve the process

v. Control the new process.

Therefore many of the quality management tools were applied in the organizations which generally were insufficient in its ability to provide simple, proven and convenient way of measuring and maintaining quality until Motorola came up with the concept of Six Sigma in business quality management strategy.

Six Sigma has been successfully applied by many of the small, medium sized organization and also by the big companies listed in the fortune 500 (Linderman, Schroeder, Zaheer, & Choo, 2003). The broad objective of Six Sigma is improving upon the business processes at the heart of an organization's mission therefore its equally beneficial for the profit and non-profit organizations (Antony, & Banuelas, 2002). Originally, Six Sigma was based of statistical techniques used by managers to assess manufacturing process performance. With the gradual advancement in the process, Six Sigma has metaphor itself into widely applicable system of improvement that involves process improvement, process reengineering and process redesign. The objective of Six Sigma is to improve a process to the extent that there is only negligible probability that it will produce unsatisfactory outputs.

Six Sigma, in the implementation phase was…

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