Rob Thompson: "I’m amazed at how rapidly lean six sigma is spreading across non-traditional industry sectors, rather like a particularly virulent case of chicken pox."
I’m amazed at how rapidly lean six sigma is spreading across non-traditional industry sectors, rather like a particularly virulent case of chicken pox. Firstly, in aviation: for example, the 787 is the fastest-selling new airplane in aviation history and uses composites on the airframe to allow the huge structure to be built in just one piece. This means essentially there are six major end items coming together in final assembly — the forward, centre and aft fuselage sections, the wings, the horizontal stabilizer and the vertical fin.
Since the 787 is assembled from these large assemblies rather than many smaller pieces, traditional monument assembly tools are not necessary. Portable tools, designed with ergonomics
in mind, move the assemblies into place. No overhead cranes are used to move airplane structure. A composite airframe also means less waste in production and fewer hazardous materials used during the assembly process. Boeing aims to improve the production time from seven weeks to one airplane every three days.
Still on aviation, Mark over at Lean Blog has spotted a great story relating to kaizen-type activities at Southwest Airlines.
Next to pharmaceuticals, Meikah at sixsig.info reports that Sanofi Aventis are deploying six sigma and are so proud of it they have produced a case study to download. A summary of the key points are:
* Training, facilitated by Motorola, of employees to be Six Sigma Black Belts.
* Broadening of Six Sigma activities by incorporating Lean Six Sigma Tools.
* Boost of the morale of employees when they saw Six Sigma as part of their job to continuously improve processes. Six Sigma has pervaded the whole organization as employees took ownership of the initiative and got rewarded by their efforts.
Finally, six sigma is also making gains in financial services however the focus here is on revenue enhancing projects and not just cost reduction initiatives, why? –
Labour and material are some of the largest cost contributors in manufacturing. Compare that to a lending institution or a bank: their largest expense is not labour or material, but cost of funds. So, the key is to focus on occurrence – once you get a customer in-house, how to make sure that you keep them and get the most value from the relationship.
By Rob Thompson of learnsigma.com
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