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Category: Lean

Why Lean Six Sigma Deployment Fail?

Why Lean Six Sigma Deployment Fail?
Over the course of many years helping organisations deploying Lean and / or Six Sigma Programme, I would like to highlight the reasons on why such Programme fails. Typically, there are 5 key success factors which need to be in place to drive the right change – otherwise the deployment Programme will not last long.

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Communicating More Effectively with Lean Emails

Although there is no denying the impact of Lean in manufacturing, the far reaching effects of Lean in office transactions and support functions cannot be overstated. 

Let’s look at how Lean concepts can be applied to improve communication - specifically email communication.

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Communicating More Effectively with Lean Emails

Case Study : Market Research Company Experiment in Excellence

Case Study : Market Research Company Experiment in Excellence
This global company is ranked among the top 5 research company in the world. Externally, competition is very intense and the costs of doing business are rising. Internally, productivity level at the operations level greatly varied across the regions it operated in and nowhere close to achieving the targeted productivity level.

With such challenging scenarios, the Global Management Team realized that they need to do things differently, constantly improve the management and operations system.

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Changeover is a ‘race’ won or lost in the pits?

Imagine this: In Formula1 race, drivers have to make a pit stop for gas, new set of tires, and part service.  The driver sits and waits, counting each passing car, knowing that every lost second at the pit will diminish his chances at winning the race. Thus, the effectiveness of his pit crew is a crucial deciding factor of winning the race.

So, is the pit crew ready with the right tools and equipped with the standard procedure? Or they slowly go to the car, still discussing on task assignments, and rummaging a pile of tools to find the right ones they need?

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Changeover is a ‘race’ won or lost in the pits?

Practical Tips for Applying Lean Thinking Principles and Tools to Healthcare Improvement Team

Practical Tips for Applying Lean Thinking Principles and Tools to Healthcare Improvement Team
The essence of Lean Thinking is to enhanced value for customers with optimized resources by minimizing waste. Lean Thinking requires an organization to focus on its key processes to continually improve and increase value to its customer, in healthcare term, the PATIENT.

Both external (patients) and internal (provision processes) customers are vital to the healthcare facilities. For example, the Operating Room (OR) is an internal customer of the operation processing department (OPD) as the OPD is an internal supplier of instruments, supplies, and equipment. Serious Lean implements strive to fulfil external and internal customers, with excellent service (better, faster, easier, and cheaper).

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4 Major Barriers in Implementing Lean Thinking in Healthcare Organisations

Healthcare providers are under tremendous pressure to enhance their competitiveness. The demand for healthcare services and provision is on the upward trend, but the same cannot be said of its’ financial health – as most providers are heading in the opposite direction.

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4 Major Barriers in Implementing Lean Thinking in Healthcare Organisations

Lean-up those Meetings!

Lean-up those Meetings!
I was just visiting a client the other week to discuss an up-coming programme. And as he entered the meeting room, 20 minutes passed the appointed time, he apologised for being late as he had just come from a meeting. Anyway, our discussion went well and when it drew to a close, he stood up, apologised for having to rush off to another meeting, and hastily made his way down the corridor. There sure are many meetings to attend!

This scenario is common in many organisations today. Employees go from one meeting to another in the course of the day, or week. I wonder how much time they actually spend getting things done outside of those meetings. From a Lean perspective, if resources are not being used to produce value which is payed for by the customer, then the activity is non-value add, does not increase the organisation’s earnings and adds to the cost.

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Lean Thinking in Healthcare

Currently, extreme competitive healthcare environment has compelled healthcare administrators to do more with less—less associate requirements, less technology, less time, and less workspace and while in the meantime, the high level of service to patients, doctors, nurses, and coordinators cannot be compromised or sacrificed.

How is this possible? The answer - Lean Thinking!

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Lean Thinking in Healthcare

To Lean or not to Lean?

 To Lean or not to Lean?
It was some years ago that I learnt about how Toyota adopted certain practices and principles which would eventually make it one of the most successful and profitable auto-makers in the world. Known as the Toyota Way or Toyota Production System, some of these practices were later repackaged and called “Lean”. I have been a firm believer of Lean ever since.
 
But then, what’s not to like about Lean? It aims to improve productivity, quality, on-time delivery, reduce cost and lead time through waste elimination. It sounds like the ideal and perfect solution for organisations today.
 
So why then, are organisations hesitant to go Lean? Many use the term “Lean” as a fashionable buzz word till the next in-thing comes along. Why is there no conviction that a Lean mind-set and work culture is necessary for the organisation’s future competitiveness and perhaps survival?

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Pull Production : The Factories of the Future

A “pull” system works on matching the production rate to demand on the production system ie. what is needed in the next downstream process. This is an effective way to avoid overproduction. The approach is to match the rate of raw material uptake to the rate of consumption, balance up all the process throughput within the value stream to match the order delivery rate, and move the material through the production facility and out the door as fast as possible. The ultimate benefit is just-in-time manufacturing with just sufficient inventory, a short lead-time, flexibility to react to changing customer requirements and getting all this done at a reduced cost. And this is the answer to the high mix demand of today’s customers!

How does a production facility get to that point?

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Pull Production : The Factories of the Future

Energy Conservation through ISO 50001:2011 EnMS Implementation

Energy Conservation through ISO 50001:2011 EnMS Implementation
Singapore recently enacted a new statute Energy Conservation Act 2012 to introduce mandatory energy management practices for large energy users in the industrial and transport sectors.

In order to meet the objectives of this Energy Conservation Act, it will be mandated that energy management practices and systems focus the companies’ attention on energy issues so as to ensure that energy is used prudently, spotting and rectifying faults that result in energy wastage, and overall help to achieve significant cost savings.

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Lean Thinking to Enhance Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety

What is Lean Thinking in Healthcare?
Costs in providing healthcare in Singapore are rising too quickly and too many preventable errors occur in hospitals. We strongly believe Lean Thinking is our best shift in paradigm for improving quality and patient safety while truly reducing waste and excessive costs, thus increasing the value provided by healthcare systems. Today, a number of leading hospitals are demonstrating they can provide better value through proven and tested process improvement methods.

Some healthcare professionals often wonder how lean, a methodology associated primarily with the Toyota Production System and manufacturing industries, can apply in healthcare. Lean is not just a set of tools for eliminating waste and improving quality in a factory - it is a set of methods, principles, and philosophies that form a complete business management system. Lean can be applied in any setting where a service is provided, work is done, staff faces problems and issues, and people lead or manage others in a team setting, and this includes healthcare. Lean supports the purpose of any healthcare organisation - providing the best patient care and safety using the optimize amount of resources.

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Value Analysis for Lean Sigma and Innovation….

Value Analysis is one of the common denominator and  an integrator of Lean and Six Sigma and towards Design and Innovation…. Much has been said to identify the differences between Lean and Six Sigma where Lean focuses on Speed while Six Sigma focuses on Variation both attempting to influence the reduction of waste.


In the context of starting a lean or six sigma project, it all begins with the voice of the business (VOB), the voice of the customer (VOC)  or the voice of the process (VOP) depending on the level of your improvement initiative to either influence the business or quality or process control parameters.


Understanding the context of value leads us to detail such as a ratio of benefit to cost thereby influencing the ability to increase customer satisfaction thus revenue and the ability to reduce waste thus cost. Improving both benefit and cost is then a trigger to influence both productivity and efficiency leading ultimately to business value.

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Improve Order Fulfilment of Equipment Sales for Greater Efficiency and Effectiveness

A Lean project in Singapore

Introduction
The company is part of a business concern that does design, manufacture, sales and service of scientific equipments used in the manufacturing industry.

Recently, management has decided to improve its process cycle time and reduce the non-value-added work so as to improve the overall productivity and efficiency of its operations. One such initiative is to improve the Equipment Sales Order Fulfilment Process, an important, high-pressured business process, with associated problems of high overtime and late deliveries.

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The Future of Management Systems

Evolving Quality Management System into a Framework of Operational Excellence

The ever changing global economy coupled with fierce competition and growing sophistication of customer needs warrants a sustained breakthrough performance in key areas of business. While the ISO family of Quality Management System provides the necessary ingredients leading to the success of an organisation, it doesn’t provide the means and the how’s to achieve the company’s vision for sustained breakthrough performance.

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Theory of Contraints

Theory of Contraints (TOC) is a philosophy attributed to the pioneering work of Dr. Eli Goldratt in 1986.  In the 1980s, while Asia was focusing on setting up factories and product quality improvements, the West embraced TOC which linked system improvements to the bottom line.

A key premise in this theory is that the rate of revenue generation is limited by at least 1 constraining process or bottleneck.  Hence, to increase overall throughput or revenue generation, we must treat the bottleneck.

What is a constraint or bottleneck?  It can be the market (eg not big enough), a policy constraint (eg must sell all products at all cost even those with thin or negligible profit margin), or an internal resource constraint (eg lack of competency, insufficient capacity).

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Why Do Organisations Need to Implement Lean-Sigma?

Lean-Sigma has moved beyond a concept toward a mandatory methodology. Organisations who implemented Lean-Sigma have very high process capability, very few variations, customer oriented and free from waste throughout its supply chain.
 
History of Lean-Sigma concept goes a long way back to the QS-9000 era and later on ISO/TS 16949 (both are quality management system standards for automotive industry). This can be seen on the goal of ISO/TS 16949, namely:

To develop a fundamental Quality System that provides for:
 -  continual improvement
 -  emphasis on defect prevention
 -  reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain

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