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Friday, June 29, 2012

Lean Six Sigma vs. World Class Manufacturing

According to its creator, Richard Schonberger, the idea of World-Class Manufacturing is a set of philosophies and ideals for operating a manufacturing organization with the ultimate goal being the best option for customers within that particular sector.

World class manufacturers have 7 key components to overcome on their way to industry domination, these are: the need to reduce lead times, speed of time-to-market, streamlining outsourcing processes, cutting operations expenses, exceeding customer expectations, managing the global enterprise, and improving business performance visibility.

Reducing lead times is critical, because it makes items available quickly, and perhaps faster than competitors. Speed of time to market refers to newer product releases, like a new model replacing an obsolete one. This speed is instrumental to staying up-to-date in certain markets, like the “latest and greatest” cellphones on the market.

Streamlining outsourcing is important in that it eliminates certain steps within your own production processes, and it gives more energy to focus on other areas of your company, while cutting operational costs (usually from overhead, labor, and product materials) makes profitability that much higher, giving your company the ability to sell a product for a lower price than the competition can.

All of these previous factors can oftencompound to accomplish the next key, which isexceeding customer expectations-which is attributable to delivering a quality product on time and at a desired price. In a larger sense, the last two keys, managing a global enterprise and improving business performance visibility, are very much tied together, because, in order to command a global enterprise, one must become visible globally, and that takes an infrastructure of the right people within to manage all aspects of a globally-diverse organization of material-sourcing suppliers, primary manufacturing and outsourcing plants, domestic and foreign labor, product distribution and storage, advertising, and sales .

All of this is achieved only through a complete changeover in operation styles, to a “continual improvement process,” utilizing many different manufacturing concepts that are both lean and six sigma-based, including, 5S, kaizen, poka yoke, zero defects, just in time (JIT), single-minute exchange of die (SMED), total preventative maintenance (TPM) and other industrial methodologies.

To get a more detailed understanding of world class manufacturing ideologies, visit the World Class Manufacturing Page at

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