Best Continuous Improvement with Lean Six Sigma (CIwLS)
The continuous and fierce competition among different organizations has made it obligatory for all the organizations to implement continuous quality methodologies and strategies for business development. A detailed analysis on these strategies are mentioned in the below report.
- CI stands for Continuous Integration. This is basically a development practice where the developers integrate a code into the shared repository files. This activity is done frequently (several times a day). Though automated testing is not a part of CI, still testing is implemented as a mandate activity. CI is important just to make sure that the new codes implemented do not corrupt the server. It eliminates the side effects that can be caused due to the running of new codes and tests on the applications by the user or the third party (Marcin Kawalerowicz, 2011).
- TQM stands for Total Quality Management. Käser, (2010) says that, according to this principal the long-term development of the organization is only possible if customer satisfaction is given the top most priority. The eight primary elements of TQM are –
- Customer Focused business orientation.
- Total employee involvement towards business development.
- Systematic Process centered work environment.
- Integrated system.
- Strategic and systematic approach in achieving goals.
- Continual improvement in the business process.
- Fact based decision making by the management.
- Smooth Communications.
- Lean is basically concentrating on the customer satisfaction by utilizing less available resources and less staff. The basic missions of Lean are as below (James P. Womack, 2013);
- Improve competitiveness within the organization that would raise the standard of performance.
- Minimizing the use of resources and still enabling the growth of the organization.
- Continual personal development provisions in order to provide more fulfilling work.
- Helping customers to get more value for their money spent.
- Six Sigma basically deals with the quality of the performance of the organization. The five fundamental assumptions of six sigma are as below (Ilia Bider, 2014);
- Customers pay only for the value. This means that the value for the customer is achieved only if his needs are fulfilled.
- Complete process knowledge among all the departments can help provide quality services to the customers. Gaps in the process knowledge can lead to failed and defective services.
- Variation in process outputs are caused to the variation in the process inputs. Hence, standardization of process is must to eliminate these variations.
- Right process knowledge and information would always enable management to take correct and accurate business decisions.
- It’s always better to choose long-term growth rather than short term gains as business growth and development in the long run would automatically help achieve more gains and profits in the future.
- Lean Six Sigma is a clever combination of Lean and Six Sigma which if combined together can work wonders for the development of the organization. The five phases of Lean Six Sigma are as below (Jones, 2014);
- Define: This concentrates on defining the problem and taking appropriate measures to satisfy the customers.
- Measures: Mapping the process and collecting relevant data.
- Analyze: Investigating the root cause of the problems.
- Improve: Implement the actions that would fix the problems analyzed.
- Control: Sustaining the improved results and training all the employees accordingly.
All the improvement strategies like TQM, Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma majorly focus on the quality of the products, services, and processes of the organization.
TQM concentrates on the way the organizations manage to their work, on the other hand, Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma are aimed towards obtaining and implementing changes in the working procedures in order to yield maximum gains with minimum inputs.
Though all the strategies highly concentrate on improving the quality of the business performance, however, still there are few differences between them which are;
Lean Six Sigma: This is basically a combination of the principles of Lean and Six Sigma. Most of the organizations follow Lean Six Sigma instead of following Lean and Six Sigma individually. The basic principles behind Lean Six Sigma are different than that of TQM. These principles are (George, 2002)–
- It is highly motivated with the customer satisfaction based initiatives. This helps to improve quality on regular basis.
- Reduction in the variation of the process which is the major cause of poor quality of services.
- Lean Six Sigma is majorly used to segregate non-value work and value work According to it, the no value work is a wastage that can be eliminated from the work process by using appropriate alternatives.
- Speed in the process deliverance is highly focused by Lean Six Sigma.
Total Quality Management (TQM): This is the main improvement strategy that gave birth to Lean, Six Sigma and ultimately Lean Six Sigma.
TQM majorly concentrates on the customer satisfaction approach and hence keeps quality as a prime factor to achieve this satisfaction.
While Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma concentrate on the speed, metrics, variation reduction, elimination of wastes etc, TQM, on the other hand, focuses only on the quality improvement measures. The features included in TQM are as below (Tennant, 2017);
- TQM requires a constant, stated and consistent purpose behind improving the quality of the services.
- It does not depend highly on inspections or data analysis. On the other hand, Lean Six Sigma is highly data oriented.
- TQM emphasizes on eliminating the fear of hierarchy from the work atmosphere. According to TQM, the employees perform better in a free and accountable atmosphere rather than strict and stringent work culture.
- It also ensures that each and every individual of the organization has undergone proper training and is aware of all the working methodologies in order to eliminate the gap in the process and ensure high-quality deliverance.
- According to TQM, training is an on-going process and should not be taken lightly. Trained employees with appropriate knowledge can yield services that can achieve best customer satisfaction.
The criterion’s and their appropriate applications involved in the selection of project as per the proposed improvement strategies:
Improvement strategies can give best results if implemented in the correct time and at the correct place. May it is TQM or Lean Six Sigma, the participants are expected to put the right amount of efforts in choosing the appropriate project and then implementing the desired improvement strategies.
The key project selection criterions are as below (Oakland, 2014);
- Customer impact: It’s important to analyze whether the selected project would yield the end materials that can leave a positive impact on the customers (internal and external). Analyzing voice of the customer (VOC) would be beneficial to get an appropriate answer to this.
- Process stability: If the process selected is new in the business, then it’s important to estimate the stability of the process. Stability here basically means that even if major changes are done to the process it does not disturb the other related processes and remains stable in spite of amendments.
- Defect definition: The defects of the process are to be defined clearly in order to come up with proper solutions. The problems like poor customer satisfaction, high costs, instability etc act as secondary defects, while the primary defects that need to be addressed are – error rates, production cycle time, rework rates, lead times, complaint rates, first-time call handling percentages and so on.
- Data availability: All the data required to implement changes and process developments should be up to date and readily available.
- Clarity of solution: Identifying the root causes of the problems rather than the risk is essential. This helps in coming up with clear solutions for the problems determined.
- Impact on the quality of services: The project should contribute towards the services of the quality which can gain maximum customer satisfaction.
- Sponsorship of the project: This is basically the difference between the failure and success of the project. The success ration should be higher than the failure.
- Alignment of the project: The proposed project should be aligned to the strategic objective of the organization for effective implementation.
- Timeline of the project: The benchmark for the completion of the project is usually six months. Hence, whether the project can reach the benchmark or not should be analyze
Limitations of improvement strategies (Seebacher, 2012):
Lean Six Sigma:
- This emphasis on the rigidity of the process rather than creativity and skills of the employees.
- It lacks accountability and hence outsourcing of improvement projects can be time and money consuming.
- Skilled and strong employee force is required for Lean Six Sigma implementation.
- Time-consuming procedures make the whole implementation process a lengthy procedure.
- TQM is a highly time and cost consuming activity which if failed can end to the unproductive loss of the organization.
Pulling away manpower is another limitation of TQM which though useful in the long run still complicates the present working conditions.
- Employees usually are not easily vulnerable to changes; hence, resistance can be expected.
- Innovations and new ideas are not positively accepted as TQM majorly adheres to the single procedure which can be beneficial for long-term development.
Right selection of process and deployment of correct strategies using relevant tools can highly ensure the success rate of the improvement measures taken. The tools and techniques of TQM and Lean Sigma are mentioned as below (Keller, 2011);
TQM (Total Quality Management): The TQM tools are used and serving the business world for more than 50 years. The highly used TQM tools are;
- Pareto Diagrams
- Histogram charts
- Fishbone Diagrams
- Process Flow Charts
- Process Control Charts
- PDCA Cycle (this is what TQM is built around)
In order to deploy TQM the techniques used are;
- TQM element approach: This basically concentrates on key business process and uses the TQM tools to improve the performance.
- The Guru approach: This technique refers to the teaching and writings done by experts and make required amendments as per the guidance taken from these referrals.
- Organization model approach: In this technique the individual teams visit other organizations that are successful in TQM. This helps to determine their process and success rate.
- Japanese total quality approach: In this technique the performances of the organizations who have won the Deming prize are analyzed. Required implementations as per the analysis are done to the current business procedure.
- Award criteria approach: In this technique the criteria of the quality awards like Deming Prize, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, European Quality Awards, etc is done. Hence, area of improvement can be identified as per the specific award criteria.
Lean Six Sigma: There are many tool, however, the few are mentioned as below;
- 5 Why’s: This is generally used to assimilate the root cause of the problems faced. The user needs to relate five question starting with ‘Why’ in order to come up with a conclusion to the problems faced.
- Fishbone diagram: This is also called as a cause and effect diagram. This helps to analyze causes for the problems faced and as well as come up with relevant solutions.
- Histogram: This is a visual representation of the data which cannot be comprehended in other forms of tools. The presentation made is so easy that it can be understood in just one glance.
In order to deploy Lean Six Sigma the techniques used are;
- Executive training: Understanding of the Lean Six Sigma programs by all the participants of the organization is essential to carry out business development proceedings easily. This understanding starts from the top level management which is then circulated to the other departments.
- Establishing a steering committee: This committee is made by the individuals from the leadership groups which have authority to allocate resources. This team also selects the projects which can have a strategic impact on the organization.
- Establishing of the project hopper: This is nothing but maintaining a spreadsheet which includes all the current ongoing project details which is reviewed and analyzed during all the committee meetings.
- Employee awareness training: Employee training is highly recommended to make sure that the proposed implementations and improvement techniques understood accepted by the employees.
- Employee Skills training: Employees need to be trained for the roles like – Subject Matter Experts, Team Leaders, Champion, Recorder, Facilitator, etc.
- Select programs and assign teams: This is the last step which is done by the top management for smooth business proceedings.
Corporate Strategy: This strategy is built on top of business strategy which revolves around the strategic decision making for an individual business. The corporate strategy looks after the various businesses of a single firm like – how they fit together, how parent company is structured with respect to the process, governance, and other factors and so on (Timothy Folta, 2016).
Change Management: Change management is basically a systematic approach which deals with the transformation and transition of organizations technologies, goals and processes. Change Management is all about implementing strategies for controlling the change, affecting the change and adapting the change in the organization (Abraham B. Rami Shani, 2017).
Links of the above two in the improvement programs:
- Motivation and Assessment: With a well designed strategic change management plan, a clear vision about the need of change, the milestones to be achieved and a picture of the end results can be assessed by the employees. Hence individuals and management get self-motivated towards working for the development of the organization.
- Proper alignment of existing resources: Corporate strategy and change management are the best to help the organizations to properly align all the available resources as per the future vision of the organization. These aligned resources would be in the position to work in the favor of the new tools and strategies implied.
- Maintaining day to day operations: It’s necessary to understand that strategic change management should not disturb the current working conditions. A properly implied strategy would help the organization to carry on the daily duties without any issues.
- Reducing inefficiency and risks: Taking time to come up with a strategically sound change management would help the management to reduce risks in the end. Appropriate individuals for appropriate tasks can be appointed in order to make the work procedure simple and easy. This indirectly increases the efficiency of the appointed workforce.
From the above report it’s clear that whatever the size of business may be, implementation of accounting strategies for quality development of the business performance is very essential. The different tools and techniques in applying these strategies can help enable the organizations to choose the best that can suite the business nature.
Abraham B. Rami Shani, D.A.N., 2017. Research in Organizational Change and Development. reprint ed. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.
George, M.L., 2002. Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma Quality with Lean Production Speed. London: McGraw Hill Professional.
Ilia Bider, K.G.J.K.S.N.H.A.P.R.S.P.S., 2014. Enterprise, Business-Process and Information Systems Modeling: 15th International Conference, BPMDS 2014, 19th International Conference, EMMSAD 2014, Held at CAiSE 2014, Thessaloniki, Greece, June 16-17, 2014, Proceedings. illustrated ed. Hamburg: Springer.
James P. Womack, D.T.J., 2013. Lean Thinking: Banish Waste And Create Wealth In Your Corporation. revised ed. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Jones, E., 2014. Quality Management for Organizations Using Lean Six Sigma Techniques. illustrated ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Käser, P., 2010. Total Quality Management For Micro-businesses in the Manufacturing Industry. unabridged ed. Hamburg: diplom.de.
Keller, P.A., 2011. Six Sigma Demystified, Second Edition. 2nd ed. Chicago: McGraw Hill Professional.
Marcin Kawalerowicz, C.B., 2011. Continuous Integration in.NET. illustrated ed. New York: Manning.
Oakland, J.S., 2014. Total Quality Management and Operational Excellence: Text with Cases. illustrated, revised ed. New York: Routledge.
Seebacher, U.G., 2012. Cyber Commerce Reframing: The End of Business Process Reengineering? illustrated ed. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
Tennant, G., 2017. Six Sigma: SPC and TQM in Manufacturing and Services. New Jersey: Taylor & Francis.
Timothy Folta, C.H.S.K., 2016. Resource Redeployment and Corporate Strategy. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.