In today's marketplace, Lean and Six Sigma can be attractive solutions for businesses looking for new ways to increase their competitive edge. And, with a sluggish economy fueling the trend, you end up with businesses increasingly interested in turning a laser focus on ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Continuous process improvement programs like Lean and Six Sigma, can really help deliver results.
Spendthrifts of the past are now focusing their efforts on reducing capital investments or delaying new construction altogether, opting instead to improve existing operations and facilities. Want to know more?
Lean is a systematic approach of identifying and eliminating waste and maximizing the use of available resources, while Six Sigma relies heavily on process data and statistical tools to improve quality. Combining the two programs results not only in more efficient operations, but also a better product. Toyota and GE are two companies most well-known for successfully implementing Lean Six Sigma strategies to improve their operations.
Although traditionally used in the manufacturing industry, we’re applying these same principles to the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry -- and we're pretty excited about the results we're seeing. Process improvement specialists work closely with clients to incorporate this lean-style of thinking into facility design, with an overall goal of offering design solutions that reduce capital expenditures by making improvements to existing processes whenever possible. In some cases, this has allowed client to delay a capital project for several years, maximizing savings.
Want an example? We recently provided engineering and planning services for a new aerospace manufacturing facility, depicted in the computer model above. The goal was to develop a facility layout capable of meeting performance requirements, while minimizing operating and investment costs. The design needed to offer flexibility for future expansion with minimal disruption to existing operations.
By working closely with the client to understand their unique processes, the team developed a more efficient workflow that reduced the facility footprint by 20 percent. Their solution included a phased construction approach that will allow the client to meet future rate changes with minimal impact to existing operations and postpone additional capital investments. This reduced the overall project cost by approximately 15 percent and the initial capital expenditure by 25 percent. Results like that make clients happy – no matter what your industry.
Are you using process improvement systems? If so, what kind are you using and what kind of results are you seeing?
If you want to learn more about using process improvement programs like Lean and Six Sigma to improve your business, contact us.