Lead Time for the Order Fulfillment Process

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    Juan Miguel

    Is the Lead Time Reduction for the Order Fulfillment
    process a Lean Project or a Six Sigma Project? or a
    combination of both?
    Some school of thoughts suggests that we should reduce
    the number of steps first (Lean approach) and then make it
    better following the Dr. Harry’s Breakthrough Strategy
    describws in his Vision for Six Sigma Book.
    I would appreciate any comments and recommendations.
    Best Regards,
    Juan Miguel


    Michael Schlueter

    I tend to regard Six Sigma as a tool, process or method to obtain an objective, in your case a Lean thingy.
    I would simplify the process first, too, when that is possible. I think the challenge in simplification is:

    to preserve all the benefits from the old situation
    get rid of some harm from the old situation
    not to introduce new harm by the simplification.
    So you may want to make the transition in a controlled way, I suppose.
    Best regards, Michael Schlueter



    It’s a combination of both and the approach you have proposed in the right approach.
    Map the process lead times and identify the Non value added steps in the process through value stream maps.
    You can use Six Sigma tools to
    1. Look at the distribution of your lead times (look at the variance / 95% percentile.
    2. Set and validate goal line using Hypothesis testsing( Six Sigma)
    3. Identify the sources of variation using the micro process mapping, pareto etc.
    4. Remove non value added activities to come to a new process
    5. Improve the new process further by using Six Sigma improvement tools


    Matt M

    Do you know what the problem is?  If so, its not Six Sigma.
    If there is non-value added time, then Lean tools can help you.  The Six Sigma tools can help you analyze some of the data.



    The key is to approach every project with the six sigma DMAIC methodology and utilize the toolkit appropriate to the project.
    In this case I would use a Value Stream Map rather than a process map, calculate cycle time, throughput time, Consider a defect as every unit that doesn’t make the target leadtime.
    We need to begin integrating the toolkits of lean and six sigma as this is the way forward.



    Lead time is the outcome.  I would start with a value stream map as a first step because you need to better understand the problem and root causes.  You might look at the swirls (rework) and stalls (wait time) in the process.  Check out “elapsed vs. touch times” at each step of the process and go after the components with the worse elapsed : touch ratios.
    Lean, Kaizen, Six Sigma are only tools – The means not the ends.  Your problem might require Kaizen, Lean, Six Sigma, or IT or any combination.  The first step is to define the problem and causals.
    Your problem is like building a house.  The tools you use are dependent on what you’re trying to accomplish.  You can’t decide up front to use the hammer for everything (Unless you think everything is a nail).



    I agree with a combination of Lean and Six Sigma. However,
    pls make sure you take into consideration the pro’s and con’s
    of both methodologies. For Lean, pls be advised that the voice
    of the customer, sustainability and variation reduction have
    not been input into the equation. For Six Sigma, pls consider
    that the project may take longer than expected if cycle time
    reduction, complexity reduction and non-value added
    activities are the key drivers of your project. My advise is to define well the problem and then select the
    methodology that better fits your approach.Hope this helps.



    A lead time project can be handled as a six sigma project.  I did a Black Belt project on manufacturing throughput time for a multi-step process — used throughput time as the process measure and calculated DPMO based on a desired throughput time.
    Collected processing and queue times for the process from the IS system — performed ‘gage R&R’ by comparing output from the system with processing sheets.  One of the problems was that queue times were in days, and wasn’t measured in hours — but the throughput time was rather long (weeks).  Used many stat tools to try to analyze for potential significant causes (p values) and found that the queue times between two of the operations had significance.  Also checked against things like order size, product mix, etc.
    To improve the process, I applied kanban and pull production methods to minimize the variability in the throughput time -maybe these could be considered Control phase, but didn’t have much direction at the time.  Basically the result was that the throughput times had less variability (significantly lower DPMO), and the overall throughput time was reduced significantly, as expected from lean mfg.
    So it will work. 



    can i ve e mail id of jagdish
    i shall be grateful
    thanks sandeep

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