Six Sigma can help companies become more productive, effective, lucrative and efficient by eliminating waste and streamlining processes. Six Sigma helps eliminate one of the costliest wastes of manufacturing: defects.
If you haven’t heard of them before, Lean manufacturing identifies the following as the 8 Wastes of Lean:
Defects - products or services that don't meet company standards
Overproduction - producing more of a product than customer demand requires
Waiting - the down time between steps in a production process
Non-utilized talent - not taken full use of employees
Transportation - unnecessary movement of materials in production processes
Inventory - making/storing more than meets customer demand
Motion - people or equipment moving more than necessary
Excessive processing - steps that don't add value for customer but cost resources
Defects, the waste Six Sigma actively combats, is especially insidious because it costs companies both in resources and in time. Works must use up valuable supplies to correct the products that don’t meet standards, and they have to do it while on the clock, wasting time that could be spent making new products or benefiting the company in some other way. Because this waste is so elemental to the success or failure of a product line, Six Sigma implementation can go far in helping businesses land on the winning side of production.
Six Sigma helps companies by taking a serious, hard look at process with an eye toward improvement. Lean methodologies believe that companies need to consistently take action toward getting better, and Six Sigma is no different. Six Sigma dictates that companies should challenge and question processes, and not be afraid to restructure steps to make things better.
When companies are consistently improving, they’re less likely to produce defects, and more likely to produce efficient, uniform products that meet standards and expectations.