Lean/6Sigma has become one of the latest and greatest “must haves” by industries across a wide spectrum.


Lean/6Sigma has become one of the latest and greatest “must haves” by industries across a wide spectrum. In case you aren’t sure, Wikipedia defines it as “a synergized managerial concept of Lean and Six Sigma that results in the elimination of the seven kinds of wastes (classified as Transportation, Motion, Waiting etc) as well as the provision of goods and services at a rate of 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO)”. Interestingly, airline baggage and Indian tiffin deliveries are better than 6sigma. (Indian tiffin delivery performance is 1 missed delivery per 6 million!) Sadly, hospital surgery is not.

Renoir uses Lean/6 sigma as part of our toolkit of methodologies and, where appropriate, it provides very powerful tools to eliminate waste which boosts consistency. But beyond the black belts and rituals, Lean/6 Sigma provides some great methodologies when used in the right situation and when wielded by the right hands. It is not a one size fits all panacea.

Some recent examples of where we have deployed Lean/6 Sigma methodologies: identifying the main causes of waste and lost time in an ore handling plant; determining the reasons why trains were becoming ‘unhealthy’ and running late; examining the reasons why pharmaceutical products could not be shipped on time; and identifying the reasons why an oil refinery was unable to process products at anything like the expected plant capacity.

We’ve also used some of 6 Sigma’s statistical tools to determine best practice in a finance organisation’s back office functions, the major causes of delays in dealing with alarms in a network operating centre for a telecoms client, and in improving the flow of patients from a network of hospitals into community care.

When Lean/6 Sigma is used within the Renoir project framework, it can provide useful tools to quickly help identifying waste, but it needs to be seen in the context of involving those people in changing the organisation’s systems, processes and behaviours- which is the only way to get sustainable improvements.




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