With an economic slowdown trying to rear its ugly head, upper management begins thinking about labor reductions. Cutting the workforce is an easy method of controlling costs; these cuts are necessary if work is not available. Smarter management teams realize this prime opportunity to improve their organization by making additional training available.
This training can assist with workforce retention during the down period of business and improve their bottom line. Organizations can take advantage of workforce free-time by providing training to resolve issues they currently face. What issues are you facing today? Delivery problems, supplier problems, information flow, ineffective product flow, too many errors? Rather than wait for the economy to turn around, now is the time to be pro-active in your company’s approach to training. Training topics like structured problem solving, Lean Manufacturing, and Six Sigma are excellent courses to consider. All three improvement concepts stress the elimination of the root cause of your problems. And by removing these causes, your company’s profits can increase. All companies can benefit from Lean or Six Sigma training. The tools are not only for manufacturing; the healthcare industry has embraced Six Sigma with remarkable results; the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana accomplished major improvements through the use of the Six Sigma tools as well. One of the city’s improvements was improving the time to fill a pot hole from four days to four hours!
A basic Six Sigma Green Belt project can save an organization between $25,000 -$200,000. These savings are bottom line dollars; the costs for the training, travel expenses, salaries, meetings, and implementation have been deducted.
A Lean project can accomplish the same level of savings for a company, too. Where Six Sigma is more about process capability, the Lean Tools are more focused toward the elimination of the seven deadly wastes. These wastes are:
Transportation- any extra movement of product unnecessary for the actual processing
Inventory- material in stock, WIP, or finished goods
Excess Motion- movement to perform the process step that is not value-added
Wait Time- people or product waiting for a process step
Overproduction- creating more than customer demand
Over Processing- adding process steps or extra unnecessary work to a process
Defects or Errors- this includes time spent attempting to identify mistakes.
All seven of these wastes, or muda, can be investigated as part of a Lean project. I’ve seen savings of nearly $250,000 on one Lean initiative. So if the bottom line is to improve the bottom line, now is the time to obtain process improvement training. A rapid return on investment and significant profit enhancement is waiting.