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The following article was published by ReliablePlant and written by Herb Lichtenberg. This is a well written article that provides good information regarding the value of “lean”, “lean thinking”, “lean manufacturing” and “lean enterprise” concepts.  Several themes reverberate throughout: over-production, inventory, transportation, waiting, movement, defects and over-processing. I hope this article proves helpful, and please feel free to share your feedback in the comments section below.

Lean” has assailed our vocabulary the same way that it has attacked waste within a plant or process. From “lean thinking” to “lean enterprise” and “lean manufacturing,” the word has created many catchphrases. But what does it mean to be “lean”? It entails shedding waste in order to reduce costs and increase competitiveness.

The two most popular process improvement methodologies in use today, lean manufacturing and Six Sigma, originated at Toyota and Motorola, respectively. These pioneering companies are discrete manufacturers. Not surprisingly, the subsequent evolution and development of these two methodologies has focused mostly on improvements in discrete manufacturing. Each methodology has a central focus that has been the basis for its structure and tools. For lean, it’s the delivery of value to the customer through the elimination of waste – anything that is non-value added from the customer’s perspective. For Six Sigma, the central focus is the elimination of defects – products or services that do not conform to the customer’s specifications. Read more …

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Why is Sustainability so important? Today’s Executives recognize that what has been a common practice is not a sustainable practice now. Since the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th century, countries began their industrial growth rapidly, based on their resources, and at the expense their environment. Conservation practices were never considered, nor seldom applied. Today, many Third World countries do not have a sustainable existence for their current population let alone the next generation (i.e., Haiti). Lacking recognition of our ecosystem’s degradation, endangered species, contemporary potable water issues, air pollution, Sustainability holistically recognizes commercial transformation within the constraints of limited and finite resources. As Johnson & Johnson quote in their Sustainability initiative, it is about People, Planet and Profit. So here are some examples of Sustainability issues:

Globalization has increased competition with limited resources
Increase carbon dioxide output for energy from coal and petroleum resources
Corporate struggle over water rights with communities
Increased population growth – now about 7 billion people

How can a Sustainability Initiative help your core business? It provides your company a Transformation model with bedrock foundations for Economic, Environmental, Social and Technological quadrants. Resources are finite. Your success will be measured by satisfying your Customer’s needs, having a high performance organization to address those needs, recognizing how Sustainability will impact your products and services, and leveraging the strength of your Supplier’s expertise. We are in a global marketplace where waste is no longer acceptable and its costs affect your operation’s survivability.

Today, most companies are not fully optimized and retain inefficiencies in day-to-day operations of doing business. A Quality initiative provides leadership to learn from past  experience and avoid repeating poor practices or failures. By institutionalizing Continuous Improvement processes, your organization will have a higher chance of long-term success. Lean Six Sigma reigns in that change cycle and installs a framework that can manage Change into a Value proposition and Brand enhancement for your concern.

Combining Sustainability and Lean Six Sigma is a synergistic approach that will promote your initiative’s success. From one focused initiative, crossover benefits would almost assuredly provide significant Tangible Benefits by understanding how to retain your progress. Recognize that your organization has different needs, approaches must be tailored to fit the stage of growth for the company, and solutions should be fitted to your company’s maturity level, as well as, those bothersome elements you want help to reduce or eliminate.

This journey will build a better relationship with your Customers, Employees and Suppliers. Business and IT strategies will be linked to key processes in your organization that will have the most impact on your bottom line. Suppliers will be closer aligned to your business models and Quality standards. Specifically, Lean Six Sigma is chosen most often to provide paths to build closer Customer relations, to fulfill Customer needs, to improve internal Efficiencies, to define Supplier roles and provide flexibility for future Sustainability. That journey is based on a long-term vision and durable thinking to fuse Sustainability with Lean Six Sigma.

Source: Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC, © 2009, For services: www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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