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"I wanted to thank you again for allowing our team leaders to attend the course. Several of them came back energized about the concepts they had learned and we’ve started making changes to our flow lines as a result."

— Michael Meguiar, GE Transportation, Las Vegas Plant Leader

"Nevada Industry Excellence staff went out of their way to integrate themselves into our organization, made a logical assessment of our needs and assisted us every step of the way to implement the best ideas of Lean Manufacturing."

— Ron Wardle, Electronics Branch Manager, Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO)

"Nevada Industry Excellence’s help was invaluable. They contacted us initially regarding the training program and then led us through the grant process. It was a great cooperative effort that ultimately resulted in approval of our application by the Nevada Commission on Economic Development."

— John Mansanti, Mine General Manager

What is Lean?

The goal of Lean is to produce the right amount of high quality products or services, at the right time, with the least amount of time, effort, and cost. The customer defines what the right product or service is, when they need it, and how much they want of it. The Lean approaches, methods, tools, and techniques are built on the world’s most efficient system—the Toyota Production System.

Implementing Lean requires that you build quality into all steps of the process with an objective of 100% defect-free production. With Lean, you are providing products and services at competitive prices by eliminating waste in the system. You are supporting team members through effective management deployment and support, and you are instituting a never-ending cycle of improvement.

What makes Lean different from Six Sigma?

The difference between Lean and Six Sigma becomes apparent when you are determining which method to use to implement improvement. Lean uses known approaches and applies them to known root causes, while Six Sigma studies the unique situation and develops customized solutions to address underlying root causes.

What are the similarities between Lean and Six Sigma?

Lean and Six Sigma share a common purpose to increase value to the customer and increase value to the business—they rely on three basic interdependent tenets:

  • Focus on the customer
  • Use of a scientific approach
  • Teamwork

Can I use Lean if I’m already using Six Sigma?

Yes, many organizations that have started with Lean are incorporating Six Sigma into their programs. STAT-A-MATRIX can work with your organization to integrate Six Sigma concepts and tools into your existing structure, giving you the ability to use the tools and techniques that are best suited for the specific problem being addressed.

We already have a continuous improvement program. What can Lean do for us?

Lean focuses on reducing waste in the entire value stream—the complete set of activities required to bring a product or service into the hands of the customer (Lean Thinking, Womack and Jones, 1996). Focusing on the entire value stream allows you to identify and eliminate waste within each process and activity and between processes and activities. Improving individual processes and the overall value stream flow can help you reap the largest benefits from your continuous improvement efforts.

Can Lean be used in nonmanufacturing environments?

Yes, Lean has been applied successfully in a variety of non manufacturing environments including financial services, healthcare industries, government, military, and nonprofit foundations. Virtually any organization can be described in terms of the value stream—and any value stream includes waste, which can be identified and eliminated using Lean.

What are the benefits of Lean?

Improved quality Reduced errors/defects Reduced costs Waste eliminated Improved flow Simplification of complex processes Improved safety Reduced lead/cycle time Providing the right product/service in the right amount at the right time Providing the highest value to the customer at the lowest possible cost Increased profitability

What is a Lean/kaizen/blitz event?

A Lean (kaizen or blitz) event is an intense, brief team effort to apply specific Lean approaches to reduce waste, defects, and cycle time and implement improvements in a particular process or department.

What is a value stream map?

A value stream map is a workflow visualization tool for representing how customer needs are met. It is a picture of the entire value stream. Some of what it includes is supplier and customer information, the flow of materials and information, lead time, and cycle time. The value stream map makes waste easier to see and opportunities for improvement are easier to identify.

What would it take for us to implement Lean?

  • Implementing Lean requires:Understanding and commitment of top leadership.
  • Access to current information on customer needs—your critical data pool.
  • A process-management system to measure current performance and identify where you need to make improvements.
  • Resources—Coaches, Team Leaders, Team Members—trained to design and improve processes and to assist process owners.
  • Ongoing management involvement and review to reinforce process management, improvement, and design.
  • Communication to ensure that customer focus and Lean methods are embraced throughout the organization.
  • Assigned responsibilities for Lean within the organization.

How do we know which processes our organization should target for improvement?

Not every process needs immediate improvement. Start by considering which processes concern your customers the most and place your priorities there. Use your value stream map to identify waste and opportunities for improvement. For example, a hospital might learn from surveys that their customers care less about the time it takes to be admitted than they do about safe medical procedures and proper medications.

How do we select Lean events to work on?

There is a systematic process for selection that begins with the organization’s strategy and top management. They identify what processes are “hurting” the organization the most, and then develop value stream maps for those processes. Areas of waste are identified, and then translated into executable improvement opportunities. Once the opportunities are prioritized, then process improvement teams are assigned to work on the problems by conducting Lean events.ISO 9000 Quality System standards.

What is ISO?

This is the International Organization for Standardization, a federation of National Standards bodies from 140 nations. The name ISO is not an acronym, but is taken from the Greek word iso, meaning “Equal” since all member bodies have an equal say into the standards. ISO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. What is the ISO 9000 family of standards?

These are generic quality management system standards. They are ‘generic’ in the sense that they will apply to any organization or industry no matter the size of the organization. A management system defines the process for doing the business of the organization. And they are standards that define the state-of-the-art processes and procedures for defining and implementing a management system.

These are voluntary standards: organizations choose to adopt them. They don’t define what quality is for a particular product or industry, but they do define the requirements for a management system to control processes for quality. By using the procedures and processes in the Quality Management System, organizations will reliably produce goods and services that meet the needs and requirements of their customers.

How is Quality defined?

Quality in the ISO 9000 family of standards refers to all those features of a product or service that are required by the customer. So, it is the customer who defines what quality is and means. The ISO 9000 standards represent a consensus on what constitutes good management practices that will allow an organization to reliably deliver products or services that meet the requirements of the customer.

What is ‘certification’ and how is it obtained?

Certification of compliance with the ISO 9000 standards is provided by a third-party registrar, and not from the ISO organization. The Registrar will audit the Quality Management System for a company to insure that all the requirements of the ISO 9000 standards are met. ISO 9000 defines the requirements of an effective management system, but does not specify how these requirements are met in a particular organization. This allows the organization to find the best way for itself that suits the organization’s size, product or service, and culture.

What is the differences the standards in the ISO 9000 family?

The ISO 9000 is a family of standards, each of which will cover a different scope of activities. One standard is not better or worse than another. ISO 9001 covers Design and Development, Production, Testing and Inspections, and Servicing activities. The ISO 9002 standard covers all except Design and Development, while ISO 9003 covers Servicing.

Other Standards

Standards addressing the specialized needs and circumstances of certain industries and applications also exist:

Environment. The ISO 14000 series of international standards integrate environmental considerations into operations and product standards. The standards specify requirements for establishing an environmental policy, determining environmental impacts of products or services, planning environmental objectives, implementation of programs to meet objectives, corrective action and management review.

Aerospace. AS9100, the international quality management standard for the aerospace industry, was released in November 1999.

Automotive. There are three popular standards used in the automotive industry:

QS-9000 is a quality management system developed by Daimler-Chrysler, Ford and General Motors for suppliers of production parts, materials and services to the automotive industry.
ISO/TS 16949, developed by the International Automotive Task Force, aligns existing American, German, French and Italian automotive quality standards within the global automotive industry.
ISO 14001 environmental standards are being applied by automotive suppliers as a requirement from Ford and General Motors.

 

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