To compete and thrive in today’s economy, leading manufacturers focus on continuously improving business processes, eliminating waste and reducing costs.
Through the decades, our ERP consulting team has seen companies implement various approaches to support these important efforts, including six sigma, lean and ERP.
Selecting the best approach is not an “either/or” proposition, however.
We have found that when companies put Lean, Six Sigma, and ERP together, they make improvement progress more quickly and efficiently.
Looking at Lean
Lean – aimed at eliminating waste – is all about producing more at less cost. Lean manufacturing transforms the way a company produces and delivers products to its customers.
Lean techniques are proven to deliver business process improvement results to a range of sectors including manufacturing, health care, consumer goods, and industrial equipment among others.
Despite the proliferation of Lean, there is still a large performance gap between those companies that are simply using Lean techniques versus those that have built a culture based on Lean thinking.
Characteristics of Lean
Researchers have found that those companies with optimized Lean operations share three key characteristics:
A commitment to the fundamentals such as streamlining processes, creating a well-ordered work environment, and ongoing continuous improvement programs.
Use of Lean-enabling technology to manage the speed, volume, and complexity of business transactions. The IT environment must streamline communication and information exchange across departments, supply chains, time zones and the entire enterprise.
A shared understanding of Lean throughout all levels of the enterprise – from shop floor personnel to the executive suite.
With Lean, the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end-customer is wasteful and a target for elimination.
A lean philosophy should come into play when companies undergo ERP selection.
Want to explore this topic further, and examine how the goals of Six Sigma can also work with ERP at improving quality, reducing variability and improving processes?
Download the free white paper “Lean, Six Sigma, and ERP: Putting it All Together for Improved Performance.”
You’ll see that when Lean, Six Sigma and ERP implementation are in sync, the journey of continuous improvement will be a journey that never ends.