A worldwide initiative that has recently broken through into the mainstream, Lean manufacturing refers to a set of standards that facilitate the elimination of waste, increased production and streamlining procedures on behalf of employers. Moreover, as Lean manufacturing often includes the principles of quality assurance as outlined by Six Sigma, the package creates a highly effective foundation of transferrable skills and manufacturing expertise.

Despite the fact that Lean’s origins date all the way back to the 1950s, many companies are only now realizing the benefits. According to a recent survey by Reliable Planet, only 8 percent of respondents have had a Lean Six Sigma program in place for more than five years. Another 63 percent of respondents report the presence of a Lean Six Sigma program over the past one to five years, and some 29 percent said their company has started a program within the past year.

However, it’s also important that organizations take advantage of all that Lean manufacturing has to offer. As stated by Anand Sharma, current CEO and president of TBM Consulting Group: “The western hemisphere is full of program-of-the-month syndrome. It’s more fashionable today to talk about ‘Lean’ than to do it.”

Direct Benefits in Manufacturing

When embraced fully and completely, Lean Six Sigma methodology can go a long way in ramping up production, lowering manufacturing costs and increasing not only product quality, but order accuracy and timeliness, as well.

In fact, respondents of Reliable Planet’s survey hold highly optimistic goals for their Lean Six Sigma programs. Approximately 90 percent indicated that they are interested in Lean Six Sigma because of the potential for costs reduction, 87 percent cited the improvement of productivity, and 79 percent responded with the removal of waste.

The survey also highlights organizations are able to use a variety of performance metrics and indicators as a means of monitoring and assessing the success of their own Lean Six Sigma program. Some 54 percent measure Lean Six Sigma’s success based either on the annual productivity of employees or annual profitability, while 38 percent of respondents judge their program’s success on annual inventory turnover rates.

Future Forecasts

Moreover, the manufacturing industry is seeing the biggest uptick in brand new Lean Six Sigma initiatives within the United States. Per the survey, which permitted users to choose multiple responses, 60 percent reported they are planning on launching new Lean Six Sigma programs within the manufacturing sector. Another 57 percent reported plans within distribution and logistics, while 30 percent indicated their plans to implement Lean Six Sigma in the information systems industry.

As you can see, not only are there a number of areas where Lean Six Sigma methodology can be beneficial to your organization, there are several different metrics you can use to gauge and compare your success.

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