LEAN SIX SIGMA. CREATING VALUE THROUGH OPERATING EXCELLENCE
Lean Six Sigma es la metodología de trabajo en la que se apoya Erhardt Proyectos para aportar valor a sus clientes desde la excelencia operativa. MMs Marian España, the firm’s Operations Manager, lists the six keys that ensure it can be implemented without major costs and with the entire team’s acceptance and engagement.
Lean Six Sigma is an approach that companies adopt to raise the quality of their products and/or services, improve the efficiency of their processes and productivity, and increase their clients’ satisfaction and their own performance.
Each company needs to customise it according to the nature of its business. In our case, we have focused our initial effort on two core activities in our value chain, which contribute the most to the deployment of our “Boutique & Unique” strategy, which we introduced to the market in January this year.
STARTING WITH MANAGEMENT
Lean Six Sigma involves a sea change in the way we do things. It means unlearning “bad habits” and embracing more efficient working practices, as well as investing in and using new resources, mainly technological ones, which we need to assimilate.
Hence the reason its implementation should be fostered and marshalled by the firm’s management. At Erhardt Proyectos, the new CEO, Mr Igor Muñiz, is steering the process, ensuring the entire team’s is on the same page, and providing the material resources required for its success.
It is not a question of seeking efficiency for its own sake, but instead an adaptable and systematic approach that at any given moment provides the appropriate flexibility and dynamics for responding to strategic goals related to the business’s development, consolidation and growth.
We understand these goals are related to the ability to provide our clients with better ideas, solutions and experiences, within the “time to market” in which they need them in order to be different and competitive.
This explains why the initial deployment of this methodology has been focused on all those internal processes involving clients: marketing and the undertaking of the operations entrusted to us.
ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL
It is not possible to address a process of this nature without being confident of the engagement of the entire team at the firm and without setting up multidisciplinary working teams for identifying all kinds of redundancies within the key activities that the firm is seeking to streamline.
We are holding different workshops at the firm with a range of employees for identifying wastage. The sessions involve brainstorming techniques that enable our staff to provide creative ideas that help us to discard operations that do not add value at the least possible cost and in the shortest possible time.
This implementation needs to proceed one step at a time. The main hurdle tends to be the difficulty in abandoning fixed ideas and rejecting the current modus operandi, as they are part of our ingrained mindsets, as well as harping on about “it can’t be done” instead of setting about finding ways of doing things differently.
Once wastage has been identified and steps taken to remove it, our teams focus on gradually trialling the different measures, taking time to see whether or not they work. If they do, the redundancy is removed. If they do not, they try to find the real reason for it, proposing fresh ideas to tackle the difficulty they are encountering. At the same time, if they detect any errors during the trialling, they look for ways of resolving them immediately.
This allows implementing new practices that replace those causing the wastage.
MINDFUL OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
We are not seeking perfection, but instead continuous improvement, given that we are living in a changing world in which new needs are constantly being created.
Our work teams meet on a daily basis for 5-10 minutes to share experiences, problems and ideas. In addition, we hold monthly quality meetings in which we decide which redundancies we have identified that should be considered for their removal. This extremely simple approach is used to expose staff to the premise of continuous improvement in their daily routines, and it helps us to improve our teamwork, distribute duties more fairly and, in short, be more effective.
Coordinadora de operaciones