& Continuous Process Improvement
Continuous Improvement comes natural to successful people and businesses, especially early on. People try to distinguish themselves at work by finding better ways to do their jobs and become more productive. Businesses constantly try to improve their products and services to gain and increase market share. As businesses grow, many times there's a tendency to resist change. "We're doing pretty well. Why change things? Don't rock the boat."
Read this page to discover
how Continuous Improvement can be used to re-instill the entrepreneurial, creative spirit in all employees to discover low-cost, low-risk opportunities that can have significant positive impacts on business;
why Lean Six Sigma is the ideal approach to implement a Continuous Improvement program; and
why using Aftan Engineering is the best way to quickly implement and enjoy the benefits from Continuous Improvement.
“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” -Vince Lombardi
Core Principals of Continuous Improvement
1. Consider small, inexpensive, low-risk improvements that
reduce resistance and red tape;
can have significant effects on improving efficiency and reducing costs when applied across the entire organization; and
produce faster results and encourage more participation in the Continuous Improvement Program.
2. Major breakthrough improvements that
yield major improvements on a specific challenge; and
produce excitement in an organization for the breakthrough improvements of one challenge to be achieved on the next challenge
3. Include employees at all levels of the organization.
No one knows more about a process, the associated problems, and how to improve it than the person actually using it every day. People are also more likely to implement changes without resistance if the improvement was a peer's idea. However, to be successful and encourage employees to participate in Continuous Improvement,
the work environment must assure employees will not get into trouble for noting problems;
immediate supervisors must understand that having subordinates identifying areas for improvement is not a negative reflection on their job performance but rather a positive reflection of their leadership; and
lastly, employees must receive recognition for their suggestions and improvements.
4. Communicate the status of suggested improvements.
Nothing discourages employee contributions faster than a lack of information regarding the status of suggestions. Even if you don't implement an idea, it's important that the employee who made the suggestion understands why management rejected their suggestion. However, meetings take workers off the production floor. Emails can accidentally exclude key participants or get deleted. Utilizing Continuous Improvement Software or a shared database provides a centralized point for collecting and communicating the status of Continuous Improvement Projects.
5. Measure improvements.
How much time and/or dollars has the improvement saved?
What are the projected savings if the revised process is implemented across the entire organization?
Many Continuous Improvement Programs fail to measure results or control the solutions that have been implemented to ensure that they will be sustained. Failing to control or standardize the newly implemented solution can lead to a reversal back to the old way of doing things.
Lean Six Sigma Continuous Improvement Tool Combines Two Proven Methodologies
eliminates waste which is defined by Mr. Fujio Cho of Toyota as "anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, parts, space, and workers time, which are absolutely essential to add value to the product" Lean considers eight different types of waste including
Over Production - producing more product than is required to fill orders and maintain optimum inventory.
Idle (Wait) Time - time waiting for product to arrive at the next step in production.
Delivery (Transportation) - unnecessary movement of materials and products.
Motion - unnecessary motion by workers when producing products.
Inventory - having more raw materials necessary to fulfill production requirements or finished good inventory required to satisfy customers' needs.
Extra Processing - adding more work or quality to the product than is required to satisfy customers' needs.
Rejected Parts (Defects) - product that must be discarded or reworked because it is not within specifications.
Non-utilized Talent Waste - not fully utilizing workers experience, skills and knowledge.
Some Lean methodology tools include:
Value Stream Mapping;
Set Up Time Reduction;
Productive Maintenance; and
Six Sigma focuses on reducing process variation and enhancing process control using
Design Experiments; and
Lean Six Sigma
Provides an organized, coordinated, and efficient approach for implementing a Continuous Improvement Program that benefits from both the Lean and Six Sigma Process Improvement Methodologies.
Why You Won't Find Better Lean Six Sigma Continuous Improvement Consultants
Decades of Continuous Improvement Experience
Experience is the key to success in any endeavor including Continuous Improvement. We are experienced engineers with decades of experience with Continuous Improvement in manufacturing environments with the responsibility of keeping lines running. We know how to implement Continuous Improvement without being disruptive.
Practical and Effective Lean Six Sigma Continuous Improvement Consultants
We're led by a professional engineer with Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification. Black Belt Certification requires proven proficiency with the necessary tools and proven practical experience.
Supplementing and Coordinating Existing Staff
Lean and Six Sigma require focused time that can be dedicated to the initiative. Most employees have regularly assigned duties that consume their entire day. Therefore, employees accomplish Lean Six Sigma work as time allows or pushed to the proverbial "tomorrow" meaning it never gets done.
Lean Six Sigma Consultants With Top Management Experience
We're business people with top management experience. We
know how Continuous Improvement integrates with the budget and overall strategic plan;
understand all functional areas of a company and how the benefits from Continuous Improvement can benefit other areas; and
how to communicate benefits to top management and other stakeholders.
Aftan Engineers are Also Sustainability Consultants
Sustainability is a major concern. Implementing a Life Cycle Management approach is consistent with and complements Continuous Improvement. Therefore you have the opportunity to address important Sustainability issues in your Continuous Improvement Program.
Lisa Peterson, Ph.D., PE, MBA is the President of Pennsylvania-based Aftan Engineering. Lisa is a uniquely qualified professional Sustainability, ISO 14001, and Continuous Process Improvement Consultant with a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification, 30 years' engineering experience, and has held high-level management positions. Read Lisa's Resume.
55 / 5 Stars ...success where others fail.
"Lisa can find solutions to problems in many ways. She knows her resources to help her accomplish tasks in a timely manner. Obstacles are not an issue and are deemed part of the solution process. Rather than let these get in the way, Lisa leverages them to find multiple solutions to the problem.
From this thought process, an approach of having backup plans is key to the success of the problem. This technique has allowed her success where others fail.
Lisa has instilled in me values and techniques by leading by example. Her drive and resolve are hard to keep up with. She is a role model for others to follow.
Lisa’s ethics are second to none often putting in more work and time than her peers. She knows hard work is the key to success."
Mark Hoover, Engineering and Production Manager
M-Tech Control Corp.
Sinking Spring, PA
 Summers, Donna C.S (2011). Lean Six Sigma: Process Improvement Tools and Techniques. One Lake St, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-512510-6. p. 135
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