The Impacts of Risk on Deploying and Sustaining Lean Six Sigma Initiatives

The Impacts of Risk on Deploying and Sustaining Lean Six Sigma Initiatives

Brian J. Galli (Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director, Master of Science in Engineering Management Industrial Engineering, Hofstra University, USA) and Mohamad Amin Kaviani (Young Researchers and Elite Club, Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/IJRCM.2018010104
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Continuous improvement is used to enhance productivity and customer value. However, throughout the years, its efficacy dwindled. Thus, a hybrid methodology known as Lean Six Sigma was developed. It combines Lean and Six Sigma in a continuous improvement effort to address most challenges organizations face. However, risks are associated with deployment and implementation of Lean Six Sigma in differing organizations. Lean Six Sigma uses DMAIC to evaluate and measure efficacy. Successful execution of Lean practices depends on effective project management, support, and commitment from top management, employees, and stakeholders. An organization must be willing to change existing corporate culture, empower employees, and hire trained personnel to experience the benefits of Lean Six Sigma. This paper discusses results from implementing this hybrid methodology, including improved productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction. This paper concludes that Lean Six Sigma is an effective approach for any organization to use to ascertain continuous improvement.
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1. Introduction

1.1. Motivation Behind Study

Continuous improvement is a philosophy initiative that increases success and decreases failure continuously to enhance quality management (Bhuiyan & Baghel, 2005). According to Oakland (1999), it is a novel approach that enhances innovation. As a result, companies maintain competitive excellence. Effective quality management can be achieved through constant pursuit of continuous improvement by involving all tiers of an organization in the process (Kossoff, 1993). Furthermore, Bhuiyan & Baghel (2005) describe continuous improvement as a culture involving sustained improvement, accomplished by eliminating waste in every process and system. Continuous improvement may occur via evolutionary improvement, occurring through numerous increments or radical changes that result from innovative technology or ideas (Alharthi et al., 2014). Such improvements can be accomplished via techniques and tools that detect and minimize sources of wastes, issues, and variation (Bessant et al., 1994).

According to the IAEA Safety Standards (2006), it is imperative that an integrated Management System is well-documented, established, maintained, and implemented. Furthermore, the system’s efficacy must be continuously improved to ensure organizational goals are achieved. CI processes must be well-managed to detect and prioritize improvement initiatives (Bhuiyan & Baghel, 2005). Finally, to ensure effective development and utilization of sustainable processes, the following should be considered (IAEA, 2006; Alvarez et al., 2015):

  • Development and implementation of process indicators per process;

  • Simplification of processes and information;

  • All those involved in implementation of continuous processes (employees, suppliers, and contractors) must engage in improvement activities;

  • Continuous improvement of sustainable processes in the organization.

CI requires an organization to comprehend each process step. Its efficacy and efficiency must be measured so subsequent changes can be made (Conway, 2002; Niven, 2002).

Principles required for successful implementation of CI initiatives include (IAEA, 2006; De Freitas et al., 2017; Hilton & Sohal, 2012):

  • Sustainable senior management leadership to ensure support, attention, and commitment;

  • Continuous improvement initiatives that are integrated into the business plan;

  • Clear statements of the organization’s continuous improvement program objectives;

  • Advantages of the program are evaluated against resources and costs during its development and implementation;

  • Implementation of a practical and simple methodology;

  • Implementation of measurable and specific improvement objectives;

  • Continuous evaluation based on data and facts.

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