Dr. Tony LaTurner is CEO of Pacific Rim Business Review, Inc. He has certifications in Lean and Master Lean, Theory of Constraints-Jonah’s Jonah, and Black and Green belts. He has taught for Brigham Young University, Weber State University, and Utah State University’s business programs for over 10 years and has taught for the last 15 years over 400 seminars in 20 foreign countries. He has worked with hundreds of companies in industry as a private consultant, both foreign and domestically. He is an expert in the Lean or Kaizen-Lean methods for continuous improvement efforts.
Applying a three pronged approach of Six Sigma, TOC, and Lean.
Six Sigma emphasizes selecting a project that provides the greatest financial returns or the greatest savings to a firm. It also suggests selecting a financial person on your team to ratify all of these savings. Well, I have learned over the years that the true savings in most projects initiated are unknown and unknowable (Deming). Second, the greatest savings can be a series of many smaller improvement events; they do not have to be major events.
The Theory of Constraints (TOC), properly defined as the Thinking Process (TP), addresses proper financial measurements and a different set of operational tools and measurements. Without this basis, it is practically impossible to evaluate the worth of any project’s returns. TOC helps us with proper operation measurements and the use of capacity and excess capacity that Six Sigma lacks. TOC also focuses us on the major weakness in the system or constraint.
Using our present absorption accounting measuring tools could lead us completely astray. Over the years, I have learned that most improvement initiatives taken that cost money, do not contribute to a firm’s bottom line. In fact they do just the opposite! TOC also provides some tools totally independent of present-day Six Sigma measurements.
Lean or Kaizen-Lean allows us to attack small and short-term projects in our continuous efforts to improve. We need to first understand Muda or all waste and prioritize and attack these improvement efforts in isolation without having to establish each activity as a major project. The emphasis is always for us to be system oriented and know what results we expect before initiating any activities in isolation.
Six Sigma provides a great format for projects. Lean allows us to work on those projects while continuously improving. TOC provides a new set of tools, proper measuring, and the directional focus that Six Sigma and Lean need for the fastest rate of really measurable improvements.
Solving conflicts and removing roadblocks to lasting continuous Improvment success!