Lean Six Sigma: Not Just for Manufacturing
The Lean and Six Sigma methodologies have been around for a long time, however when most people think about or talk about Lean Six Sigma, they are usually referring to its use in manufacturing. Although manufacturing is the forefront for applying these principles, many overlook the benefits of applying them to other industries and services.
Every organization wants to be the best and knock out their competition. How do they successfully do this? By having the best processes, the best employees and the right attitude towards change. Most people who are familiar with Lean are familiar with the 8 process wastes, however many may not think of them outside of the manufacturing industry.
Wasteful activities exist everywhere. The difficult task is being able to identify and eliminate them. We have previously posted about how applying Lean in the legal field can be very beneficial. Legal Trek’s ebook has many great ideas from industry professionals about identifying the types of waste and continuous improvement strategies. Of course, there are many other industries that can be positively affected by implementing these methods.
One industry that can greatly benefit from implementing lean methodology is the construction industry. The Alexandria Engineering Journal published an article in 2013 discussing the benefits of process improvements and lean thinking in the construction industry. Productivity in this industry has decreased over the years and using lean construction methodology can help improve the industry and hose businesses that operate within in. It is all about value, and about making money. Lean construction can help increase the value for owners as well as help to deliver real profits on construction projects.
Another area that could really profit from embracing lean thinking is human resources. HR is an important department within any company because they help to shape employees and support company initiatives. Applying Lean thinking to human resources can drastically effect the continuous improvement projects throughout the company. HR influences change and helps to balance between compliance issues and being efficient. HR is the forefront to having great employees. If they are able to improve their system of hiring, training, coaching and supporting staff members, they will help to influence better company performance as a whole.
Being trained in Lean thinking is a great action to take because just knowing the basic principles can drastically change the way your company or department operates. Although you may be thinking that processes are the best they can be and running smoothly, it might benefit your team to take another look and try identifying any wasteful activities and areas of improvement. For more information about the Lean Wastes, check out our 8 Lean Process Wastes post.