Friday, July 1st, 2011 - 16:17
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 16:15
In our last blog posting, we highlighted the value of Lean as a very powerful methodology to eliminate waste in public sector supply chains. Now, we’ll take it one step further and introduce the Six Sigma DMAIC approach. The combination of Lean and Six Sigma (LSS) creates a robust “toolkit” that eliminates waste and variation.
Selecting the Right Tools for the Job
In our current economic environment, the need for government agencies to find the most effective and sustainable approach to operate more efficiently is urgent. After a comprehensive review, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies selected Lean Six Sigma as their “toolkit” of choice for continuous process improvement. So, how does it work?
Six Sigma projects follow a methodology composed of five phases, bearing the acronym DMAIC. DMAIC (pronounced as "duh-may-ick") is used for projects aimed at improving an existing business process.
The LSS DMAIC approach includes five inter-related elements to achieve operational excellence. They are:
This powerful problem-solving approach has been used for many years to successfully improve processes across all levels of public and the private sector organizations. LSS DMAIC focuses on optimizing areas that are mission-critical by making the supply chain more efficient, while also increasing effectiveness.
The Step-by-Step Process
Now, let’s take a quick look at each phase of the DMAIC program:
- In the Define phase, the business case is further developed, high-level process flows are created and the improvement team is established.
- Once the problem is more accurately defined, Measures are identified and collected to ensure future improvement decisions are fact-based.
- The Analyze phase is used to further investigate the data (using rigorous statistical or quality tools) to determine true root causes.
- After quantifiable root causes have been established, the team works together to identify an appropriate Improvement plan.
- Sustainment plans are created during the Control phase to ensure an environment of lasting improvement.
As part of completing each phase, a “tollgate” review is facilitated with senior leadership. This helps ensure that leadership continues to maintain engagement in the project and provide support where necessary to remove barriers to success.
The success of LSS DMAIC in government organizations demonstrates the benefits of the LSS DMAIC approach. This methodology has proven itself in a multitude of environments. It has helped streamline supply chains decrease acquisition times, reduce excess inventory, increase equipment availability and enhance customer value. In fact, IBM has used the approach internally to support the elimination of $25 billion in costs from our globally dispersed supply chains.
Bottom-line, the applicability of Lean Six Sigma is endless.
In our last and final post, we’ll discuss design for LSS so that existing processes and products are as waste fee as possible.
Let Us Hear From You
What are your thoughts? Can you see how the DMAIC approach could help lower operational cost for your organization?
Ms. Monica Painter is a Partner with IBM Global Business Services. She is IBM’s Global Leader for Lean and “Green” Six Sigma and she is the Operations Strategy Leader for the Public Sector’s Operations and Supply Chain Management Practice. She has twenty years of client sales, engagement management, consulting, team facilitation, and management experience. She also has a strong background in business transformation and innovation, business process management, supply chain management, change management, including strategic alignment, organization design and development, stakeholder analysis and communication, business performance improvement including analytics, and change acceleration. Ms. Painter is a certified Master Black Belt and is known across industry as a Subject Matter Expert.
She holds a B.S. in Marketing and Management from The McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia, and an MBA specializing in Organization Behavior & Finance from The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, Boston College.
Monica Painter (firstname.lastname@example.org)