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Lean/ Six Sigma Approach

In helping organizations throughout the world apply the Six Sigma methodology, Air Academy Associates has seen the need to show the Lean and Six Sigma approaches as a dynamic, synergistic force, rather than as what often is perceived as two competing initiatives. These two leading business process improvement strategies bring a host of valuable tools to the workplace, which, if used properly with leadership support and commitment, can make a huge difference in the way companies work.

Six Sigma Definition

Lean and Six Sigma are complementary in nature and, if performed properly, represent a long-term business initiative that can produce unprecedented results. While Lean focuses on eliminating non-value added steps and activities in a process, Six Sigma focuses on reducing variation from the remaining value-added steps. Lean makes sure we are working on the right activities, and Six Sigma makes sure we are doing the right things right the very first time we do them. Lean defines and establishes the value flow as pulled by the customer, and Six Sigma makes the value flow smoothly without interruption.

Measuring Success

One way we evaluate the success of a Six Sigma initiative or strategy is to measure the involvement in Six Sigma by way of numbers of people involved, i.e., numbers trained, practicing, certified, etc. Another is to evaluate the leadership on their behaviour and values. Yet another is to evaluate the Six Sigma maturity of the organization. All of these measures are important, but certainly one of the most important aspects that Lean and Six Sigma have brought to the market place is the ability to measure the financial impact of implementation and deployment. We have studied many companies that have implemented Six Sigma and have found that if any organization wishes to place itself in the top tier of companies with regard to financial returns, it should be returning to the bottom line at least 2% of its revenue annually via Six Sigma projects. In order to attain this level of performance, we have found the following elements to be critical, and these must be present and active in any deployment.

  1. Executive ownership and commitment with a strong passion to make it happen.
  2. Leadership alignment.
  3. Building the proper infrastructure and selecting the right people as Champions, Black Belts, Master Black Belts, Green Belts, and Leadership Team members
  4. Selecting the right projects, project teams, and project contracts.
  5. Financial accountability and proactive participation by Finance.
  6. The right training in the right tools with the best trainers/motivators.
  7. Knowledge sharing and communication.
  8. Customer and supplier involvement.
  9. Rewards and recognition system.
  10. Continuous assessment of projects and deployment/implementation issues.

Source –AAA website