Lean, Six Sigma, and BPM – Smarter Together

May 21, 2018

In this dynamic and competitive environment, organisations are faced with several challenges in achieving organisational goals, gaining competitive advantage and staying relevant in the market altogether. Organisations need to adapt to the change in the environment efficiently and effectively and in order for them to do that, it is paramount importance that the organisation use best of breed approach for Continuous Business Improvement.

Most companies apply one methodology at a time which makes business improvement slower with a chance of becoming irrelevant. As believed and practiced by several business improvement leaders, the different methodologies such as Lean, Six Sigma and BPM can deliver great results if used simultaneously. This post will open eyes to the importance of these methods and the different competitive advantage that they can bring if practiced together in achieving continuous process improvement.

The first method is Six Sigma which aims to solve problems in process improvement of a single activity or a group of steps in achieving a specific improvement. It is a set of tools and strategies that aims to limit defects and variability in business processes with overall process improvement as the ultimate goal. The two Six Sigma project methodologies were inspired from Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. These two are known as the DMAIC (define, measure, analyse, improve, control) and the DMADV (define, measure, analyse, design, verify). Six Sigma maximizes its functions with the use of statistical techniques such as pareto charts and root cause analysis partnered with a strong implementation of a dedicated improvement team  of an organisation that are divided by hierarchies based on a “belt” accreditation system. Six Sigma is best used for its ability to provide a framework for a company to train its employees in kkey performance areas, shape strategy, align its services with customer needs and to measure and improve the effectiveness of business processes. It also identifies KPIs and focuses on process quality variation which is fundamental to the implementation of the features of Six Sigma.

Six Sigma can focus on one activity only and that’s where Lean comes in as it can accommodate in improving several activities at a time. Lean helps businesses provide their customers with value with less work by eliminating waste and superfluous processes therefore reducing production time and cost. Lean is known for its fast implementation which provides immediate benefits relative to productivity, error reduction and customer lead time. Improvement in financial performance, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and staff morale are some of its long-term benefits. The Lean method is lead by three principles which are challenging oneself to meet goals, kaizen or continuous improvement, and genchi genbutsu or targeting the source to make more informed decisions. Businesses under manufacturing and process-oriented industries with defined value-chain processes benefits the most from Lean implementation such as automotive, industrial engineering and pharmaceutical industries.

The last approach is the BPM, a management approach that looks at an enterprise hollistically as a set of business processes. It leverages its functions in a five-step design model — design, model, execute, monitor, and optimise. BPM aims to help organisations manage complex, cross-departmental processes, and synchronizing them with customer demands. This methodology permits to link improvement and process design efforts directly to the management system and organisational strategy. Organisations that fall under financial services, telecoms, healthcare and military sectors reaps the benefits of BPM.

Organisations practice one or two methodologies and gain competitive advantage over others excel in achieving their goals and best serve their customers’ needs. The combination of Lean and Six Sigma is used by most industries in achieving business process improvement. However, what is not known to most is that the exploitation of the three methods can actually bring better or not the best results for an organisation. BPM lets Lean Six Sigma be implemented in a fast but effective platform. BPM facilitates the monitoring, evaluating and controlling of the process improvement. With the three methods working together, an organisation can  expect the optimisation of various technologies and applications through BPM and solving several problems simultaneously through Lean Six Sigma.

Excellent business results, customer satisfaction, achieved goals and continuous business process improvement can be expected with Lean, Six Sigma and BPM on board. Wondering where to start and how to have these methods working for you? PRIME BPM offers a solution equipped with all of these methods. Get your 30-DAY FREE TRIAL now.

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