by Gaurav Gandhi, WMEP Senior Manufacturing Specialist & Practice Leader
Over the past few years, a number of Wisconsin manufacturers have told me that they are struggling to meet the demands of their major customers. During the recession, a lot of companies reduced staff and now that demand has picked up, their lead times have increased as they try to produce more product with the same number of personnel.
I’ve also heard manufacturers tell me that they don’t worry about the amount of rework, scrap or waste because those costs are built into the quotes. At the same time, many of these same manufacturers say that they are facing price pressure and demands for shorter lead times from their major customers.
Lean Six Sigma sessions now available in Pewaukee & Oshkosh
Contact Gaurav: 920.588.7348
Clearly, reducing both scrap and lead times would help these companies remain competitive. Lean Six Sigma is the perfect tool to resolve both these problems while providing a reliable process that can be used to benefit the entire organization.
Lean Six Sigma is designed to reduce variation in the manufacturing process and is generally applied to a single process beginning with a root cause analysis. It is based on the data-driven analytical tools using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) process to increase precision and reduce variability. A team of knowledgeable employees uses specific metrics to track the process as it exists, then analyzes that data to determine the cause of the major issue. The solution to the problem becomes very clear once the root cause of the problem is determined.
One company I worked with reduced their scrap rate by almost 35% within one year. It doesn’t seem like much, but each percent is equal to $100,000 annually in just material and direct labor costs. In addition to the reduced scrap (and massive savings), this company also reduced lead time from five weeks to three weeks. This savings and lead time reduction meant that the company could quote more business, get new customers, buy new equipment and make more money.
This company was able to make dramatic improvements because Lean Six Sigma was supported by the executive team, and a core group of employees was assigned to complete specific projects as part of their jobs. Another approach used at other companies is to incorporate Lean Six Sigma into the responsibilities of operation managers. Either approach helps companies sustain the improvements over time and more importantly, complete more projects to further add to the savings. Very soon, Lean Six Sigma becomes the standard methodology to solve problems.
I’ve heard many Operations leaders tell me that they would love to bring Lean Six Sigma into their companies, but they don’t have enough staff or the resources to do so. That’s why I developed the “Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Workshop.” Participants will work on real-life data from their company and will be able to implement a solution for the problem using root cause analysis based on DMAIC principles. Right now we have two sessions available, one in Pewaukee and one in Oshkosh. The sessions will have up to 10 companies participating, and mentoring will be available between sessions. This is a way for even very small companies to access the benefits of Lean Six Sigma, and I encourage leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to drive real improvement, rather than just slap another band-aid on their process-related issues.
Gaurav brings to WMEP almost 20 years of manufacturing experience of which over 15 years are in Quality. His manufacturing experience reaches from textile industry to medical devices, from automotive and metal machining to pharmaceuticals. His latest experience comes from the medical device industry in San Francisco, CA in Quality and Regulatory where he helped start-up companies get ISO 13485 certified, pass FDA inspections, and get CE mark (market clearance for commercialization) in the EU. Over the years, he has helped small and large manufacturers stay compliant with ISO standards and other regulatory agencies such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Gaurav holds a BS degree in Machine Tool Design and an MS degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering degree with specialization in CAD/CAM and Quality. He has acquired several certifications from his experiences including ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, ASQ Certified Quality Engineer and Certified Lead Internal Auditor. He is a Senior member of American Society for Quality (ASQ), a member of Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS), Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD), and Association of Machine Tool Engineers (AMTES).