Six Sigma with Lean
Quality Improvement in Health Care
Q1: Compare and contrast Six Sigma with Lean. What does each methodology aim to accomplish and why are they sometimes used together?
Q2: Think of a process improvement project that you would like to implement at your organization.
1. Is it a six sigma project, a lean project, or both? Describe the project is sufficient detail so that I know why it is one or the other.
2. What is the project goal and scope (see notes on project charter)
3. Who would you include on your process improvement team and why?
4. List at least 4 metrics that you would use to provide baseline data and or to demonstrate improvement. Be specific about where the data comes from and how the metric is computed.
Q3: select 4 of the following tools and briefly describe:
- Affinity Diagram
- Cause and Effect Diagram
- Voice of customer
- Project Charter
- Control Chart
- When during a process improvement project they are used?
- Why they are used (purposes )
- A scenario/example (short statement) of what you would use the tool to do(i.e.to brainstorm possible reason for a medication error)
Undertaking a process improvement project is reliant on the use of the diverse tools such as Lean and Six Sigma for successful outcomes. The comprehension of the tools ensures that success prevails in the improve process of given operations in an organization. Accordingly, the focus on the different tools in the project process can generate successful outcomes in the implementation of positive change in an organization. Therefore, this paper will examine process improvement project as per case questions.
Compare and contrast Six Sigma with Lean. What does each methodology aim to accomplish and why are they used together?
There is a pertinent debate across the business sector on what entails the disparity or congruence between Six Sigma and Lean. Most imperatively, there prevails the debate as to the notion of which of the two approaches is important towards the elimination of waste and necessitating a streamlined business environment. In accordance to Unterkalmsteiner, et al., (2012) it is through the debates on the two approaches that the need for analysis of their similarities and disparities has prevailed. To comprehend the two approaches in an in-depth manner:
In reference to Unterkalmsteiner, et al., (2012) the basic goal of the above approach is the elimination of any operational waste or defects in an organization. Admittedly, Six Sigma is incorporated to ensure that the elimination of defects prevails in order to increase quality with a focus on ensuring measurable difference. Hence, improving the efficiency of the organization via emphasis on the different operations is imperative. As such, despite the approach being designed with the manufacturing sector in mind, it has quickly transcended into other aspects of organizations such as customer support and service delivery (landau, 2014). In the contemporary environment, the Six Sigma approach plays a pivotal role in the management of an organization. In reference to Boutros & Purdie, (2013) the implementation of the approach is towards assisting the company to achieve the real coupled with measurable results.
Similar to Six Sigma, Lean denotes a technique incorporated by organizations to ensure streamlining of the manufacturing and production process prevails. Landau, (2014) asserts that the basic emphasis of Lean is towards the elimination of any unnecessary or wasteful phases in the production or creation process of a good or service. Through the eradication of a given process, only the important steps that in a direct manner add value are implemented. Unterkalmsteiner, et al., (2012) further emphasizes that in regards to the Lean methodology, the most effective way to determine the value of a product is taking into consideration the willingness of the customer to make payments. Any facet of the production process that does not impact on the organization positively in regards to value addition can be eliminated to result in efficiency and smooth flow of operations.
Comparison of Lean and Six Sigma
In an essential manner, the Six Sigma and Lean approach are integrated towards successful operations of an organization. Nonetheless, in their operational implementation, they exude diversity in principle operational guidelines. Therefore, a comparison of the two approaches is as follows
|Process improvement strategy focused on improvement of efficiency through removal of operational waste
|Process improvement strategy aimed at centrally improving the process capability via reducing variation
|Lean description of value is through analysis of product and process that the ability to necessitate the customer with their needs at both right time and price
|Value in regards to Six Sigma is through the evaluation of the measurable results evident in the performance of an organization
Using Lean and Six Sigma together
Lean and Six Sigma are incorporated together with a focus on providing an organization with right tools, projects, and processes towards driving sustainable breakthroughs coupled with improvements hence leading to improvement in quality and reduced costs. As such from the analysis of Boutros & Purdie, (2013) the use of Lean is towards acceleration of operations and reduction of costs. On the other hand, Six Sigma focuses on the reduction of defects and improvement of quality. Therefore, the combination of the two approaches can:
- Create a value stream
- Identify value
- Capture the customer needs and mitigate any performance shortfalls
Process improvement project
Customer service delivery is important at National Rehabilitation Center (NRC). Most importantly, in that admission department of addicted individuals, improvement of customer service is vital. Most importantly to necessitate effective improvement of services, the use of Lean Six Sigma approach. The Lean Six Sigma tactic at NRC denotes the focus on discipline and project based initiative (Lehnert, et al., 2016). Through the focus on the Lean Six, Sigma approach the prospect of accruing distinctive advantages is bound to prevail. In the instance that the project is harnessed, the targeting of the administrators at NRC will enable the comprehensive approach towards ensuring wider service delivery prevails that is inclusive of mitigating any disciplinary cases that may emerge.
Lean Six Sigma project in detail
The investment into Lean Six Sigma approach is a compilation of numerous features of both theoretical frameworks. Admittedly, among the aspects integrated include the investment on customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, and investigation into causes of non-comprehensive involvement of employees in the rehabilitation process at NRC (Lehnert, et al., 2016). It is through the Lean Six Sigma that the raising of the distinctive ineffectiveness in quality service delivery and comprehension of the distinctive wastes is bound to prevail. Accordingly, the two methodologies have evolved to become tools for holistic management and analysis of the distinctive shortfalls in an organization. Despite the disparities between the two approaches, the combination of the two approaches generates an avenue towards the enhancement of customer satisfaction while still managing diverse costs.
Project goal and scope
NRC plays a vital role in UAE. As a rehabilitation center, service delivery is necessary for sustainable outcomes. However, in the recent years, there have been shortcomings in regards to customer service delivery, especially at the reception. Therefore from the analysis of the organization, the implementation of changes in its customer service delivery process is essential. The fundamental goals of the project include:
- Organizational growth through superiority in the improvement of customer satisfaction through ensuring that employee service delivery rate improves by 30% in the next 3 months
- Implementation of effective programs towards customer service improvement
- Focus on operations that can necessitate effective problem solving and identification of the problems as they happen
Project scope denotes the complete facets of planning that comprise of determination of the list of the specific project goals, features, deadline coupled with the costs. As such, the project scope denotes what ought to be undertaken to deliver a given project. Therefore from the analysis of the Lean Six Sigma project, it is fundamental to evaluate the distinctive facets such as employees to be involved to necessitate successful outcomes. Further, from the analysis of the project, the key success factors that ought to be used in the project scope denote the important stakeholders who will be used in the implementation team. From the analysis of Boutros & Purdie, (2013) the project process should be reliant on the harmonization of efforts towards successful outcomes. Therefore the scope should entail NRC employee service delivery survey and response by 30 patients on service delivery rate.
Process improvement team comprises
In the process of implementation of the project toward the improvement of customer service delivery at NRC, the focus ought to be on the team. The project team should denote emphasis on the integral stakeholders who will necessitate successful outcomes. Therefore, in the project team, the customer service administrators should form the project initiators further, employment of a skilled facilitator in the improvement process (Lehnert, et al., 2016). It is the facilitator that comprehensive implementation of the Lean Six Sigma will prevail based on the different and fundamental individuals. As an improvement project, there should be a structure selection process that is dependent on coordination and use of different employees. Additional experts on customer service delivery will be employed to ensure analysis of work environment prevails.
Four metrics to use as baseline
Customer service improvement is the core towards successful performance at NRC. From the evaluation of the organization, the emphasis on the customer service is towards ensuring quality and reduction of waste in service delivery prevails. As the core aspects of Lean Six Sigma, the combination of the two fundamentals should ensure successful outcomes based on the following metrics:
- Customer experience: customer experience should be judged based on how they rank NRC on their experience before and after service delivery. To collect data on customer experience the use of an open feedback handling approach will be implemented to examine the perceptions of the customers.
- Problem resolution time: time should not be wasted on one customer. Therefore, to catapult the problem resolution time, the employees must conform to the state time. In ensuring that the problem resolution time is at a fast rate the implementation of time logs should prevail. Through employees logging information on their service delivery process, data can be collected on the efficiency of the workers.
- Cost rate of employee service delivery: employee cost in regards to data collection will be through the analysis of the cost change in remunerating employees after the implementation of changes. From the analysis of NRC, it is fundamental to maintain a cost rate that is profitable and not impactful on the organization.
Selection and description
When during a process improvement project and what are the purposes and Scenario assessment to evaluate?
Cause and effect diagram
The cause and effect diagram needs to be implemented in the change process in regards to NRC. Through the cause and effect diagram, the determination of the need for analysis of the cause and effect of service delivery lags is bound to prevail. Therefore, in the analysis phase of the problem of customer satisfaction, it is imperative to use of the case and effect diagram to illustrate each issue in the organization in detail. Cause and effect examination as a tool developed in the early 1990s is important in the quality control (Lehnert, et al., 2016). As such, the diagrams present an overview of the most important facets in the then project process. Hence, from the project improvement process, it is used in the discovery of the cause of a given. As a blueprint towards operations, the cause and effect diagram presents the different areas in which a process is inefficient or ineffective. The focus on the cause and effect diagram generates an avenue for comprehension of the different operations towards the improvement process. Hence, through the cause and effect diagram, there is the depiction of the resultant effects of the service improvement process in NRC will prevail.
The flow chart is used towards the representation of the different processes in a given project in a sequential manner. As such the different elements of the flow chart can include the actions, materials and human resource used in the project improvement process prevails at NRC. The implementation of the process flows chart enables the project process to be understood by all the employees in the organization (Lehnert, et al., 2016). Hence, from the analysis of NRC, the flow chart should enable the center’s process improvement team understand the different facets of the project. The focus on the service improvement process at NRC should denote a flowchart that depicts the operation of the process improvement team
From the analysis of NRC, a project checklist denotes the list of items that are needed to accomplish the improvement of service deliver. As such, the checklist presents an effective description of the needed resources in the planning and execution of the project. Therefore, it is not an exclusive list in the undertaking of NRC project. For other projects, such as the process improvement process, there is the entry of both human and technical resources that are significant to the process improvement process. The need for a comprehensive list of the different resource requirements ensures that successful coordination of both human and technical resources is bound to prevail at NRC. The sustenance of an enabling environment is through the inculcation of the different resources in the organizational environment such as analysis of the service improvement process. Consequently to ensure service improvement, the checklist for NRC should include:
- Service improvement experts
- Management expertise
- Digitized time logs
Project charter, in reference to Boutros & Purdie, (2013) is seen as the steering tools towards successful outcomes. As such, the project charter generates a list of the distinctive components that are needed in the project initiation and planning process. In the life process of a project, the implementation of a project charter necessitates successful process improvement in an organization Boutros & Purdie, (2013) stresses that once the commencement of a project presents, it is important to define the needs and the process to accomplish the different shortfalls. The investment in a project charter ensures that the project has a mission and vision statement that communicates the important ideas for the commencement and culmination of the project. Hence, in the process improvement process, the charter is used in the stipulation of the project purpose and the process of accomplishing a given task such as project initiation process at NRC.
Undertaking any project is reliant on the use of different strategies towards successful change implementation in the organization. From the above analysis, it is clear that the use of Lean Six Sigma approach is effective towards the improvement of the customer service delivery process at NRC. The implementation of the approach presents a synergy towards undertaking the project that is reliant on quality and reduction of waste in the operations. Hence, encompassing the two strategies coupled with project charter process will necessitate successful outcomes.
Boutros, T., & Purdie, T. (2013). The Process Improvement Handbook: A Blueprint for Managing Change and Increasing Organizational Performance. McGraw-Hill Professional.
Landau, S. (2014, June). A Staff-Driven Process Improvement Project: Small Changes Can Streamline the Handoff Process. In Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (June 14-18, 2014). Awhonn.
Lehnert, M., Linhart, A., & Röglinger, M. (2016). Value-based process project portfolio management: integrated planning of BPM capability development and process improvement. Business Research, 9(2), 377-419.
Unterkalmsteiner, M., Gorschek, T., Islam, A. M., Cheng, C. K., Permadi, R. B., & Feldt, R. (2012). Evaluation and measurement of software process improvement—a systematic literature review. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 38(2), 398-424.