LEAN Six Sigma - Glasses every Owner needs to Wear When Looking at their Business!

September 26, 2020

BY Wm. Randy McKinley

President and CEO The Company Doctors - "Business Turnaround Experts"

Lean  Improves Efficiency by Maximizing Value and Minimizing Cost.

Lean  is a concept that has been embraced by production facilities around the world to improve production efficiencies and therefore reduce customer costs.

Many of the lean manufacturing processes look at how manufacturing operations are performed and determine how they can be optimized, but they apply to all aspects of the businesses.

Lean  can lead to reduced production costs, improved quality across large and small manufacturing facilities, reduced overhead simplified processes and procedures or to keep it simple all aspects of the business.

What is Lean?        
      It is a way of thinking and developing processes to minimize inefficiencies in production, office, supply chain,

      distribution and its waste of resources.

      There are four goals:     

             Improve Product and Process Quality

            - Minimize Waste

            - Reduce Production and Process Time

            - Reduce Costs

     As we focus on improving quality, reducing defective products, errors in the office, unnecessary steps we are minimizing

     waste, which in turn reduces costs.  By minimizing these wastes we are able to reduce production times, labor, and

     facility costs per part.

     Large manufacturers, like Toyota's automobile manufacturing facilities, as well as smaller manufacturers, such as

     refrigeration equipment manufacturer Hussmann Corporation, rely on lean  to improve their quality and reduce costs.

History of Lean    

        The premises of personal and production efficiency have been practiced for centuries.

        Henry Ford was one of the first to apply these principles to manufacturing lines.

        The true father to lean was the Toyota Production System (TPS), pioneered by Taiichi Ohno, Shigeo Shingo and Eiji Toyoda.

        TPS, also known as “just-in-time production”, was conceived after a visit to America to view the Ford assembly lines.

             Note:  The Japanese were not impressed with the inefficiencies of the Ford lines, particularly the uneven workloads,

                        large amount of stored inventories, and large amounts of rework that were often required.

        However, after visiting a local supermarket, and learning how the supermarket maintains its inventory by only

        replacing items that are purchased, the Toyota team adapted this concept to automobile manufacturing and

        their relationships with suppliers.

        The term “lean manufacturing” was first used by John Krafcik

        The 1988 article was , "Triumph of the Lean Production System," in the Sloan Management Review.

        Krafcik had been employed in a California Toyota production facility prior to attending graduate school at MIT.

        He based his thesis on the processes implemented at that plant.

      Lean manufacturing / Lean is often associated with automobile manufacturing.

         However, just about every large volume production facilities and businesses uses lean concepts. and

        Even smaller volume production facilities and businesses are now implementing lean processes to help reduce costs.

Lean Tools:    

        There are a variety of tools & evaluation processes developed to help identify areas of inefficiencies & improve processes.

        Six Sigma

            Six Sigma is a business management strategy

             It usesquality management philosophy and statistical analysis to identify and remove the sources of defects.    

           The name “six sigma” refers to a very high quality percentage, based on the standard deviation, or sigma, of the process.             Six Sigma was developed by Motorola in the early 1980s.


        Value Stream Mapping

            This process focuses on defining and optimizing how materials and information flow through a manufacturing process.



            5S is a set of five Japanese words & concepts that translate into:  Sorting, Straighten, Sweeping, Standardizing, and Sustaining.

            The goal of 5S is to create a workplace that contains only the tools that are needed, that are organized

                    in the most efficient way, and continuously review and revise work processes to increase efficiency.


            Kanban is a signaling system to determine when materials, components, or products are needed at the next stage

            in a process or delivery process.

            Kanban evolved from a physical card system that identified containers of products.

            Today, Kanban is often implemented electronically, often as part of enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms.



            Poka-Yoke is a Japanese term that translates as “mistake proofing”.

            This process examines processes to predict where potential errors could occur, or building in mechanisms that

                will prevent errors in machine or operator functions.

Ongoing Benefits of Lean to Today's Companies

            Implementing lean thinking means you are focused on continuous improvement.

            Companies are now continuing to examine their processes and strive for improvements in efficiency.

            Many companies now recognized the hard way that you must continue to innovate and challenge the status quo to

                improve value, reduce costs for customers, reduce costs for the company and continue to stay in businesses.

Here are two simple documents we developed on LEAN to help with the Front and Back of your House/Company!



If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out to us, we have several LEAN Six Sigma Master Blackbelts on Staff including myself.


p. 1.866.387.5314



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