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A look at various process improvement programs


Process improvement programs are programs that a company can choose to implement in order to create better flow, to save money, for product innovation, etc.There are many different process improvement programs that a manufacturing plant can implement.In fact, there are countless variations of some very popular process improvement programs.Such programs include:


  • Six Sigma
  • - Lean Thinking
  • - Theory of Constraints (TOC)
  • - ISO 9000 Quality Standards
  • - Total Quality Management (TQM)
  • - Toyota Production System (TPS)
  • - Just-In-Time (JIT)
  • - Benchmarking

There are many differences and details to each of these programs and it would be extremely tedious to name every variation of how these process improvement programs can be implemented.So for the sake of being brief only a few of the more popular process improvement programs will be summarized as follows:

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a process improvement system the hinges on the principle of reducing the variance of the quality of the product.This means getting a better grip on the amount of control you have over your processes by using statistical methods to chart samples of quality.Variance equals waste and waste reduction is at the heart of most process improvement programs.If you are in a high technology, high transaction, or an expensive error environment then Six Sigma is an excellent option for your company.

Lean Thinking

When you think lean, you are thinking about what processes are absolutely necessary to in order to create a given product.You then eliminate everything that is not needed to produce that product.Thinking lean is a huge part of manufacturing.If you can figure out ways to cut back on supplies, labor or other costs while still producing a high quality and desirable product you are using lean thinking.

Theory of Constraints

The Theory of Constraints is an improvement program with a focus that is in synch with the whole purpose of operating the business in the first place.For example, under the Theory of Constraints the goal of a for-profit company is to make more money.The Theory of Constraints has several key steps to its implementation that include identifying and deciding how to eliminate a constraint that is keeping your company from achieving its ultimate goal.And then to align all efforts in the support of the decisions made to permanently turn the constraint into a tool to improve business.In the case that the constraint should be eliminated for the achievement of the companies good then the process turns to realizing this goal.

Toyota Production System

The Toyota Production System is also known as the assembly line production system.Assembly line production involves many people and machines working on one specific part of the finished product over and over again.This involves highly specialized workers who are experts at contributing their skills to one part of the assembly process.The assembly line process greatly improves speed as moving belts and other moveable parts are also integrated onto the system of production.


The Just-In-Time process improvement system is designed to reduce waste by creating products as they are needed by the customer.By doing this the costs of holding and disposal of unused inventory are reduced if not eliminated and customization is a more plausible option for the customer.

Remember that just one of these process improvement programs was never meant to solve all of the problems that you may be experiencing.Likewise, there are advantages and disadvantages to every method so you must find for yourself the best way to use each of your chosen methods in order to realize the improvement that you are hoping for.

Also remember that the process improvement programs available on the market today come with a price attached in the case that you hire assistance of some kind to walk your company through the implementation process.

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