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Case Study: Lean 6 Sigma in Aerospace Manufacturer Streamlines Processes & Improves Cycle Time

Lean 6 Sigma best practices were devised to eliminate the defects in processes. Motorola developed this concept to help improve processes within the company. With improved processes, increased revenue typically follows. After General Electric adopted Six Sigma principles, the company increased revenue by $300 million. This is just one example of why companies are interested in Lean 6 Sigma certification. Many companies choose Six Sigma to improve efficiency, productivity and profitability.

Case studies are an excellent way to learn more about the Six Sigma process. Review the case study to determine how the processes could help your company. Here is one example of a case study that may illuminate how the Six Sigma process works. A small company that manufactured parts for the aerospace industry wanted to reduce the costs of manufacturing. This company decided to use Six Sigma to improve processes and reduce the machining cycling time. This reduction process was designed to help decrease the manufacturing costs within organizations. Key project engineers within the organization obtained Lean 6 Sigma certification after Six Sigma training.

The Six Sigma black belt team members organized a team to help facilitate the process. The team included management and machine operators. A team of Six Sigma green belt and Six Sigma yellow belt members implemented the DMAIC process. During the “Define” phase, the cycle time was measured at 1200 seconds. The Lean Six Sigma team wanted to reduce this time by 50 percent. The sigma level was set at a minimum level of three. The team also found several risk factors. The risk factors included: overtime reduction, faster business pace and less time for inspection. A process map was completed to help team members understand the current state of the company’s process and also to implement a plan.

During the measure phase, key metrics were defined. Collected data was analyzed for stability during this phase. Statistical analysis was used, and the causes for long cycle times were identified. The data revealed areas of improvement. Up to 40 percent improvement could be made in some instances. During the improvement phase, solutions were devised and lean concepts were used to generate potential solutions. Several solutions were presented to management and ranked. The solutions were put into pilot stage.

When the process was measured, the process was proven stable and had a Sigma value in excess of five. The process steps were reduced by 20 percent. During the control phase, a new process map and training plans were developed and implemented. Potential problems were found in the environment, human factors and methods. To manage the risks, control plans were put into place. After implementing the Lean 6 Sigma principles, there was a 46 percent improvement in the cycle time, and there was an 80 percent reduction in variation.

Lean 6 Sigma Principles Improve Business Practice of Small Companies

Even this small company benefited from the principles of Lean 6 Sigma. From small to large, every company seeking to improve should try Six Sigma. 6 Sigma training is recommended. After the training, the team will be ready to implement a plan for improvement.

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