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Breakthrough Process Improvement

Integrating Lean and Six Sigma for Breakthrough Process Improvement

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Case Study

This case study is an amalgamation of the many companies we have worked with; and, does not represent any specific company. Let's call the company Detroit Sheet Metal, Inc. They manufacture steel cabinets for installation into service vehicles. They sell approximately $20 million of cabinets per year. The value stream map in Figure 1., describes the current state of the company at the beginning of their journey to become a Lean Six Sigma organization.

Figure 1.
Value Stream Map
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The process scorecard data based on this current state map is provided in Figure 2.

Figure 2.
Process Scorecard
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The company future state value stream map is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3.
Future State Value Stream Map
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The future state improvement opportunities, including estimated costs savings for each improvement, are identified in the process scorecard shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4.
Future State Improvement
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Remembering that this product line has $20 million sales per year, note the magnitude of the operational improvements, and cost savings realized through the transformation to a Lean process with Six Sigma capability.


Value stream mapping is the state-of-the-art methodology for identifying and planning Lean / Six Sigma improvement projects. Linked and balanced scorecards provide a sound method for measuring and monitoring process performance and for aligning improvement projects with company strategy and objectives. Integrating Lean productivity with Six Sigma quality represents the best-in-class approach for achieving continual improvement in both process quality and productivity.

The new direction in quality systems standards, moving towards a process improvement model, means that more and more organizations will be required to design, develop and deploy a management system for achieving continual process improvement. Value stream mapping and Linked Scorecards are the answer Managers are seeking to their questions about how best to achieve breakthrough levels of process improvement and to satisfy the requirements of ISO 9001:2002 and ISO/TS 16949:2009.

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