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Lean six sigma project

Progress-PME can help you with your Lean, Six Sigma or Lean six sigma project. Do you recognize any of the following issues in your processes?

  • The speed of the entire process is too low to meet demand
  • Process yield issues, defects, too much rework
  • Root cause investigations do not deliver root causes
  • Line change overs are too long
  • Stock or work in process is too high or becomes obsolete before consumption
  • Variation in process output is too high
  • Too many events, deviations and other compliance issues
  • Performance metrics are in red 

Most lean six sigma projects will follow the proven structured DMAIC phases towards the future state (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control). Each phase uses a set of techniques to move from the current state towards the future state with sustainable results. Depending on the problem to be solved and the scope, you can think of the following activities per project phase.



Typical activities / techniques / results


Project start
Define process
Determine voice of the costumer
Determine input /output variables

Project charter / A3
SIPOC / process mapping / Value stream mapping
Brainstorming, interviews, surveys, CTQ analyses
Identify stake holders (sponsors, change agents and targets)


Understand the process
Evaluate risks on input variables
Develop and perform measure systems analysis
Measure current process performance

Detailed process maps / SIPOC / swim lanes / VSM / functional maps
In/out analyses, C+E matrix
Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA)
Control plans
Data collection plans
Gage R+R studies
Process capability / OEE


Analyze data prioritize input variables
Identify waste

Descriptive statistics, screening DOE
Graphical analysis / presentation
SPC / T-Tests / ANOVA / Regression / Non-parametric tests / multi-vari studies / control charts
Spaghetti diagram / VA/NVA analysis / 5S / Takt time


Develop new process
Pilot new process

Design of experiments (DOE)
Kanban / pull
Communication plans / tier / visual factory
Kaizen events / SMED / poka yoke
FMEA / control plans / SPC


Secure new process
Confirm process performance

Control plans
Communication plan / tier / visual factory
Long term Process capability

This phased approach is suitable be used for most improvement projects. If required, specific approaches, phasing can be discussed and agreed.
A typical DMAIC project can be executed in two to four months, depending on resource availability and complexity. 

For smaller scale continuous improvements that do not require a DMAIC approach, other tools can be used to improve your processes.
W. Demings Plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle can be used to engage shop floor personnel in continuous daily problem solving. This is the platform where senior leaders can initiate a change in culture by enabling shop floor personnel in improving what they do each and every day. 

Kaizen events (Kaizen is Japanese and means “change for the better”) can be organized to have a team of empowered subject matter experts from multiple disciplines tackle a problem that is difficult to solve without having the team together for a couple of days. 

SMED (Single-minute exchange of die) is a technique for creating rapid line change-overs. When a line is in change over, it is not producing product to satisfy customer demand.  Japanese expert on SMED, Shigeo Shingo, said: “It's only the last turn of a bolt that tightens it - the rest is just movement.” How very true. The single minute does not mean a changeover has to be executed in one minute, but stands for single-digit, i.e. less than 10 minutes. SMED exercises using standardized work techniques can be
executed to minimize setup times and improve uptime on your
capacity constraint resources. 

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