Lean Six Sigma Drives Return on Investment

Authored by: Dione Geiger, Executive Director, FSC, and Bob Seemer, President, ets

Lean Six Sigma is all about excellence: a philosophy of striving for excellence in everything you do; a standard of excellence yielding no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities; and a methodology for achieving both. A Lean Six Sigma mindset puts the customer at the forefront and focuses resources to create and deliver value to the customer. If the customer does not perceive value, then we don’t do it, thus reducing waste and availing resources for more productive pursuits.

Some claim that the use of data and statistics discourage adopting Lean Six Sigma. This is nonsense, because those that manage facts must use data, and the most beneficial Lean Six Sigma tools are the easiest to understand and apply for most organizational issues. Following are some reasons to consider applying Lean Six Sigma in any organization.

The workforce: An engaged workforce is a productive workforce. Lean Six Sigma tools are easy to learn and apply, thus enabling the employee to improve processes and working conditions in systematic ways. One of the biggest costs facing an organization is employee loyalty and turnover, and a major driver of turnover is employee dissatisfaction and lack of engagement. Your customers will never be truly satisfied when you have dissatisfied employees.

The customer: Failed commitments and inconsistent service drives customers away. Your goal should be to win customers and retain them. The primary purpose of Lean Six Sigma is to increase value to the customer by reducing defects and variation. These are the foundations of a trusting relationship. To understand the causes of defects and variation, data and analytical tools are used to provide the facts. This leads to fact-based decisions.

The financials: By applying Lean Six Sigma, you will increase speed, output, and efficiency. This will help you win customers (revenue) and reduce expenses. In fact this past year, we have trained and facilitated close to 50 teams projects resulting in over $27.3 million in aggregated annual operating efficiencies.

The financials are the results of what we do. By focusing on the customer and engaging the workforce, we can achieve great financial results. Lean Six Sigma as a philosophy keeps us focused on our customers, and is a methodology which can be used by every employee, from the C-Suite to the shop floor; to win customers, create a great workplace, and ensure a sustainable organization.

Lean Six Sigma projects include: reducing patient wait time in a healthcare clinic, improving hiring cycle time for teachers in a school system, reducing employee turnover in a not-for-profit agency who serves families, improving call center performance in a healthcare setting, increasing the number of youth participating in tobacco free activities in a health department, and improving guest arrival experience at a major hotel.

Learn why Lean Six Sigma should be in your executive tool kit for key strategic projects where you need to rely on data to understand how you can better serve your customers, workforce, Board of Directors, and other key stakeholders.

As one Health Department Administrator from Franklin and Gulf Counties said, “I want to thank you again for this Sterling Lean Six Sigma training that our folks received. Each of them of them has come back from this exciting training with a better understanding of quality improvement and with great ideas of how to apply these principles and tools to our strategic planning and community health improvement initiatives.”