The Effect Of Lean Six Sigma On The Employee And The Organization

The Effect Of Lean Six Sigma On The Employee And The Organization

Length: 1957 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Effect of Lean Six Sigma on the Employee and the Organization


Abstract
Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that creates processes within an organization to cut waste and improve the company’s performance. However, studies have shown that over the past decade applying Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma can create problems for companies financially and potential problems for employees. Companies should take great care before implementing a Lean Six Sigma solution because in some instances, going lean can do more harm than good both financially for the organization as well as destroying employee loyalty and moral.

The Effect of Lean Six Sigma on the Employee and the Organization
The methodology of Lean Six Sigma is the merger of two business tools that includes Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. Six Sigma focuses on improving current business processes and performance while Lean Manufacturing focuses on the improvement of the processes of an organization by using highly skilled employees to increase speed and quality. Combining the two methodologies creates an organization that focuses on quality, efficiency and speed to lower operational costs and increase profits. By following the Lean Six Sigma methodology, many companies have attempted to create a lean, waste-free environment ultimately at the expense of the employee and occasionally at the expense of the organization.
Variability and Failing the Lean Test
Creating a process is not always the answer to every organization. Organizations attempting to reduce waste may find themselves stuck trying to understand precisely where vital financial cuts need to take place. Variability can actually prevent Lean Six Sigma from working in a business environment and can sometimes impact flow in a negative way (Locher, 2007, p. 54). As demand in many organizations can be unpredictable, many employees will find the need to multitask in order to get the job done. Multitasking itself creates highly skilled employees that are required in a lean environment. Companies that employ individuals who are capable of multitasking benefit from these employees as the organization see’s a high degree of flexibility and responsiveness with a reduction in operational costs. Companies looking to cut waste in an environment where employees are already stretched thin by performing multiple duties and tasks beyond their job description could find its employees becoming even more overworked and see a larger degradation of performance due to understaffing in an effort to cut costs. These cost-cutting measures could actually do more harm than good to an organization.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Effect Of Lean Six Sigma On The Employee And The Organization." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Aug 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=167727>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Application And Execution Of Six Sigma Essay

- Annotation: Due to the fact many companies have expanded their operations internationally, this article investigates a valuable aspect of Six Sigma: how the application of the process is influenced by culture and how it influences cultures. The application and execution of Six Sigma vary based on a culture’s orientation, specifically on how companies focus on hard and soft savings and the organizational scope of projects. Therefore, these findings demonstrate how Six Sigma directly influences the general environment of an organization....   [tags: Six Sigma, Management, Strategic management]

Research Papers
1093 words (3.1 pages)

Basic Principles Of Lean Management Essay

- The Toyota Production System represents a manufacturing culture of continuous improvement based on eliminating waste through involving all employees in the process. The objective of the TPS is to reduce the lead-time until the time it is delivered to the actual customer. Basically, TPS aims to produce the highest quality at the lowest cost as much as possible, and with the minimum lead-time possible. Methodologies: Lean management is customer oriented. There are five basic principles of lean management (Arnheiter & Maleyeff, 2005): • Understanding customer value • Value stream analysis • Flow • Pull • Perfection The main elements contributing to the elimination of non-value-added activities...   [tags: Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, Auditing]

Research Papers
1305 words (3.7 pages)

The History and Role of Six Sigma and Lean in the Manufacturing Environment

- ... (“Six Sigma Basics”) - DPMO – Defects per million opportunities. (“Six Sigma Basics”) Six Sigma can be traced, at its earliest inception to Motorola. Motorola was trying to devise a method that could measure defects at a more granular level. (“Six Sigma Basics”) Bill Smith worked for Motorola. He came up with a theory called the Theory of Latent Defect. “The core principle of the latent defect theory is that variation in manufacturing processes is the main culprit for defects, and eliminating variation will help eliminate defects, which will in turn eliminate the wastes associated with defects, saving money and increasing customer satisfaction.” (Akpose)....   [tags: environment, tools, theory, roles]

Research Papers
748 words (2.1 pages)

Structural Dimensions And Its Impact On Organizational Technology Essay

- Findings Contingency Factors Organizations are typically defined by their structural dimensions since these are visible and easily calculated qualities. Although these are key to an organization’s success, even more important are the contingency factors since these are the larger settings that influence and determine the structural dimensions (Daft, 2016, p. 17). Moreover, Six Sigma has the greatest influence on these contingency factors since the overall goal of the administrative innovation is to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the organizational technology....   [tags: Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, Manufacturing]

Research Papers
1916 words (5.5 pages)

Managing Projects Is A Key Part Of Any Company Essay

- Project management has become a crucial part of any company in this twenty-first century. It not only helps the company expand and grow, but also helps target smaller segments of the operations at a time and upgrade or update it to increase productivity of that segment (Kerzner, 2013). Managing projects is a challenge every project manager faces. Finding different ways of improving a project’s management is very important. Thus, utilizing lean and Six Sigma processes can help minimize project cost and maximize productivity....   [tags: Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, Project management]

Research Papers
2226 words (6.4 pages)

Lean Six Sigma Or Six Theta Essay

- Lean Six Sigma or Six Sigma There is always a debate in the business world as to whether lean six sigma or six sigma is the best suitable process to implement when it comes to organizing processes pertaining to business and eliminating wastes. Both these systems have their supporters, claiming theirs to be the best. On the other hand, some argue that both should be implemented for ensuring the success of any organization. For clearly understanding the debate, it is essential that the differences between the two systems should be understood....   [tags: Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, Quality management]

Research Papers
729 words (2.1 pages)

Effectiveness Of Total Quality Management Essay

- The article concludes with the commonality that despite the varying criticism of different improvement methodologies, the ultimate objective of using these methodologies separately, or in tandem, is the same, which is to solve the problem. While Total Quality Management (TQM) was reviewed earlier as a quality initiative that centers more on the actual product than the process, the TOC centers more on the process than the product. Michel Baudin (2013), professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, submits in his article that TQM is essentially dead in the manufacturing world, which has increasingly shifted toward Total Quality Control (TQC), which has more to do with controlling the...   [tags: Management, Process management, Six Sigma]

Research Papers
1572 words (4.5 pages)

Lean Six Sigma Training Offerings Essay

- Lean Six Sigma training offerings vary greatly. Offerings include 5 days to get certified as a Black Belt (guaranteed) all the way up to 20+ days of training with no guarantees unless the student demonstrates competency over following months. Offerings also include Green Belt level courses with a bundle of six sigma tools all the way up to Green Belt training that includes a comprehensive array of both lean, six sigma and facilitative leadership methods. Which one do you buy into. Which one will serve you best....   [tags: Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, Manufacturing]

Research Papers
1315 words (3.8 pages)

Case Studies On Six Sigma Essay

- CASE STUDIES ON SIX SIGMA IN LIBRARIES Many studies have concluded that targeted the verification of the effect of the application of Six Sigma in libraries that the concept of Six Sigma to achieve a number of competitive advantages. It is including improved business performance and streamline business processes and improve the quality of services provided by libraries levels, and that the application of the concept of Six Sigma in libraries needs to unite workers in libraries and support the efforts and participation of all of the process....   [tags: Six Sigma, Strategic management]

Research Papers
1011 words (2.9 pages)

Business Improvement Techniques, Lean And Six Sigma Essay

- Business improvement techniques such as Six Sigma, Lean Management, Theory of Constraints (TOC) and Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) are successful and accepted worldwide. Many successful firms, for instance Toyota uses production planning techniques to achieve world class quality output. AGI in this paper illustrates the before and after stages by implementing various business improvement techniques to achieve the desired output. Also, high end business such as, U.S Navy implements the integrated blend of TOC, Lean and Six Sigma approach- “AIR” to eliminate the problems arising from uncertainty and inefficiency....   [tags: Toyota Production System, Lean manufacturing]

Research Papers
716 words (2 pages)

An organization already stretched thin financially is a desperate organization. Many employees who work for companies in this situation find themselves working in a highly stressful environment constantly fearing for their own job security. This fear will not only affect employees’ ability to perform their jobs effectively, it will also have a negative impact on the company’s environment. If an organization has a highly dedicated workforce that believes in the company and is driven to perform well for the organization, the company might see this drive diminish or disappear over time as employees lose faith in the organization they once believed in. Attempting to apply cost-cutting measures will over-extend employees who are already stretched thin and will promote an even higher stress environment.
Within the last decade, companies in the United States have invested heavily in implementing a lean environment. Many companies have attempted to cut costs wherever they see an opportunity to save money. There have been many cases documenting Lean Six Sigma successes in defect reduction, high investment returns, cycle time reduction, waste reduction, significant process improvement and an increase in customer satisfaction (Edgeman & Bigio, 2004, p. 27). The truth of the matter is, for every successful documented implementation of a Lean Six Sigma environment, there are an equal if not higher number of undocumented failures. Occasionally, even the successes are not wholly attributed to the Lean Six Sigma process.
The question currently being asked, are United States companies doing poorly with lean and is lean faltering? Studies over the past 10 years have shown that United States companies are not only doing poorly, but that they have become worse over the past five to seven years (Schonberger, 2007, p.22). Lean Manufacturing was a brilliant idea that achieved great success with car manufacturers like Toyota. However, these practices have actually hurt many organizations when companies attempt to apply them internally to certain practices. Too many companies have attempted to correct problems internally using certain lean methods that should only be applied to manufacturing. Companies have applied the Lean Six Sigma approach to cut waste within the organization by reducing raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods inventory. Companies have also streamlined their own employees reducing headcount and hiring or retraining remaining staff that can perform many tasks instead of specific jobs. In-fact, organizations that have applied Lean Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing internally are still seeing losses. Companies have neglected to look externally for waste instead of constantly focusing on internal processes and problems. Creating these reductions, companies are actually seeing two to 10 times more lead-time externally than internally (Schonberger, 2007, p. 22). Just-in-time (JIT) inventory was thought to reduce company waste by allowing a company to concentrate on manufacturing instead of worrying about spending money on resources and finished product. However, after dramatically changing the corporate environment to reduce waste internally, it appears that the external waste is having the ultimate impact on not only the employees who are stretched to perform multiple tasks once the materials arrive for manufacturing, but also to the organization that is still losing money due to very long lead times in ordering materials for manufacturing. Some large organizations have been able to effectively synchronize demand with supply chains like Dell and Wal-Mart; however, many organizations are suffering because of a lack of this understanding.
Problems with Teams and Middle Management
Lean Six Sigma’s implementation counts heavily on the project team. The Lean Six Sigma process applies consultants who create project teams within a company to solve problems. These well-led cross-functional teams build ownership of problems that they are tasked to solve. The issues begin when many individuals begin to think that problems can only be solved in these teams (McManus, 2007, p. 20). Relying on teams for problem solving can also lead to sustainability after the improvement is implemented. Instead, organizations should have a process improvement team in place that involves much of the workforce. By creating specific teams who implement improvements, an organization is ignoring the fact that these improvements will not always stay in-place after implementation. Departments might resist or be unable to sustain certain improvements once an external team implements specific changes. These teams can also create employee animosity in that employees might feel that their jobs are threatened due to outside team members implementing department changes at the direction of a consultant. This can led to high stress for employees, diminished work capacity as well as diminishing department cohesion. These effects can also be seen in a company’s bottom line as deadlines slip and projects fail to be complete.
Middle management resistance, employee resistance and lack of implementation know-how are the top three reasons listed as to why Lean Six Sigma might fail (Jusko, 2007, p. 36). Application of lean management can expose department or specific employee issues (Danford, 2007, p.42). Middle managers can feel threatened by the exposure of these issues as they might feel that these issues might point to their own inability to manage. Many middle managers also feel that cutting organizational costs could mean cutting middle management, as many companies have demonstrated in the past. This creates a great deal of friction within the organization and within entire departments. Certainly, employees will begin to fear for their jobs when discussion of lean processes and implementations reach their own departments as organizations attempt to cut waste. Employees have good measure to be fearful as many organizations have demonstrated in the past that cutting departmental waste often spells a reduction in force (RIF).
Fixing Problems, Not Employees
Lean Six Sigma preaches identifying the problem and fixing the process, not the employees (Cveykus & Carter, 2006, p. 26). Using this method, a company should be able to become more efficient and reduce waste. However, many companies have often seen losses after implementing lean processes and have resorted to cutting the ultimate visible cost; the employee. “An intense focus on productivity can often lead to legal, moral and ethical compromise” (Stimson, 2005, p. 67). Organizations strive to cut operational costs in order to show a higher profit. Often, publicly traded companies need to satisfy the bankers and the investors before they ever look to taking care of their own employees. For many companies, the bottom line is highly significant for continued operations. A company needs to be able to afford its employees. When a company desires to cut costs, it desires to increase efficiency, customer service, quality, profitability, cost reduction and finally, the elimination of unproductive positions (Simone & Kleiner, 2004, p. 125). As Lean Six Sigma strives to reduce company and department waste, unproductive positions can fall under the category of waste. Likewise, employees could be tasked to learn multiple positions in order to keep operational expenses down. An organization with an excellent culture could destroy that culture overnight through position elimination and over tasking remaining employees. Employees that remain would be fearful of losing their jobs. However, in reducing organization headcount, a company would lose the most important thing an employee can give; loyalty. Such an organization could possible see employee attrition as disgruntled employees leave for greener pastures effectively leaving the company less staffed and in a time-sensitive predicament where project deadlines will not be met. This situation could hurt an organization even more in the long run than applying the Lean Six Sigma methodology by reducing production, customer service and profits. Organizations may in-fact experience more waste do to Lean Six Sigma practices.
Conclusion
Lean Six Sigma is considered to be an excellent methodology used to reduce company waste and cost while increasing efficiency, profitability and customer satisfaction. However, a company’s application of Lean Six Sigma could hurt its overall organization and employee base if the company decides that the employee should figure in to the formula of cost reduction. Implementing position elimination within an organization can hurt employee morale, create stress within the organization due to more work and fewer employees and ultimately can led to hurting the company as a whole by increasing costs through employee attrition and reducing profits and customer service. Implementing lean manufacturing can hurt the organization as well. Companies that do not take the time to properly research their supply and demand infrastructure will find that even though internal factors see a lean implementation, external factors will still suffer costing the company more financially in the long run. Organizations must perform the proper research when implementing a lean manufacturing environment to ensure that supply and demand is taken into account. Not performing the proper research will see an organization lose money due to delays in actually getting product in to the manufacturing process. Resources will be wasted and the organization and employees will suffer due to long lead times from suppliers.


References
Danford, Matthew D. (2007). Middle Management Resist Lean Implementation, Survey Suggests. Modern Machine Shop, 80(5), 1.
Edgeman, Rick L., & Bigio, David I. (2004). Six Sigma In Metaphor: Heresy Or Holy Writ?. Quality Progress, 37(1), 6.
Jusko, Jill. (2007). Accounting For Lean Tastes. Industry Week, 256(9), 3.
Locher, Drew. (2007). In the Office: Where Lean And Six Sigma Converge. Quality Progress, 40(10), 2.
McManus, Kevin. (2007). The trouble with teams. Industrial Engineer, 39(10), 1.
Schonberger, Richard. (2007). Faltering Lean. Industrial Engineer, 39(11), 1.
Simone, Andrew., & Kleiner, Brian H. (2004). A Practical Guide to Workplace Reduction. Management Research News, 27(4/5), 8.
Stimson, William A. (2005). A Deming Inspired Management Code of Ethics. Quality Progress, 38(2), 8.
Veykus, Renee., & Carter, Erin. (2006). Fix the Process, Not the People. Strategic Finance, 88(1), 8.
Walesh, Stuart G. (1997). Job security is an oxymoron. Civil Engineering, 67(2), 2.
Return to 123HelpMe.com