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Using six sigma to improve cycle times and service

Businesses either grow or they die. Business people are always looking for new methods that will help to increase efficiency and decrease waste. Most business people spend much of their lives looking for a program that will do just this sort of thing. The Six Sigma process works to find areas of weakness and inefficiency in the production process. It also works to make the production process much more streamlined. Six Sigma has been used by many companies to develop much more efficient total production organizations. If you are looking for a way to give your business a boost you should consider some of the strategies Six Sigma recommends. There are number of changes that any business needs to make if they are going to implement the Six Sigma program, but one very important part of the process is to train mangers in a totally new way. The Six Sigma process works through a very well organized senior management system. It works according to a definite hierarchy based on responsibility and job performance. One of the greatest benefits of Six Sigma in manufacturing context is that it helps to improve cycle times and overall service.

A cycle time is the total time require to either finish one unit of a product or some distinct part of that product. For example, the total amount of time it takes to produce and assemble all the parts of a tire at a tire factory would be the tire's cycle time. Within a cycle there are different stages and steps, each of which will require their own special attention. If a product's cycle time is much longer than it needs to be then the product creates large amounts of waste. Imagine the amount of resources lost when a product simply sits idle. Customers can be easily lost if they do not receive their orders in a prompt manner. Six sigma works to locate parts of the cycle that are inefficient. It then creates a plan to either eliminate the process or streamline it so as to increase total cycle time.
The point is not to rush projects through their cycle but to find more efficient ways to run the cycle. Rushing something through is quite the opposite of the Six Sigma approach. In many countries Six Sigma companies are well liked because of high quality and excellent service. The key is to look at the manufacturing process as a whole and try to find spots where time is being lost. Is there a time between production areas where the product simply sits idle? You should also think about things like the way raw materials are ordered and how the final product is delivered. A simple change in the way deliveries are made could save your business thousands and increase its general productivity.
With faster cycle times your workers will actually have time to do quality work. Six Sigma focuses on eliminating defects in individual products through a rigorous quality control system. By cutting waste in other areas the six sigma method allows you to focus more on other problem areas. Cutting waste leads to cutting more waste and creating a better product. This is why companies like Toyota and Motorola have risen to the tops of their industries. They continuously cut waste out of their cycle times and spend more time on quality control and service. If you are starting a manufacturing company, or if you currently own one, you should think seriously about implementing Six Sigma techniques.

Well, Designs of experiment... (Below threshold)

Well, Designs of experiments (DOE) no doubt can improve the cycle time but it main roles is actually to optimize the process in quality. For the cycle time improvement, lean manufacturing (quick win) will is more preference if the process is stable

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