Lean Operating System
Lean operations involve the implementation of principles that provide maximum value to customers at minimal costs. Recent years have seen an increased interest in factors contributing to operational success. Regardless of size or location, organizations are automating ways to increase efficiency in production processes while maintaining customer satisfaction as a competitive strategy. Successful implementation of lean operations can be achieved through creating a structured workforce, refining operational processes, and optimizing the workplace through streamlined communications and task automation. Benefits derived from lean concepts include performance improvements and administrative and strategic enhancements. Some of the notable companies that use lean methodology include Toyota and Nike. To understand the lean operational concept, three quality management systems are analyzed: six sigma, ISO9001, and Baldrige.
Six sigma is a business strategy focusing on improving service delivery to the customer, understanding business systems involved in the production, and increasing financial performance. Five key processes characterize this complimentary management methodology (Collier & Evans, 2017). The first one defines the needs and requirements that will lead to quality business processes for customers and the organization. Secondly, firms have to measure and assess the execution of defined processes, usually done through customer satisfaction surveys. Thirdly, after evaluating those experiences, an analysis of processes and data collected is done to identify the problems’ root causes. Brainstorming available improvement options is necessary at this Six Sigma stage.
The fourth key process is the optimization of procedures through measures considered to be both corrective and preventive. Finally, there is a need to control processes through developing strategies that ensure customer satisfaction is maintained. Compared to other quality management systems, six sigma is uniquely identified as a methodology best suited for identifying quality improvement issues. Moreover, six sigma is often a complementary approach to other management systems.
ISO9001 is a standard quality management system that clearly defines the organizational structure, processes, resources, roles, and responsibilities. It ensures that organizations improve on the bare minimum specifications of quality. Additionally, ISO9001 forms the basis for measuring the overall organizational performance towards improving quality (Almanei et al., 2018). Companies that comply with the standards described in ISO 9001 usually receive a compliance certificate.
Baldrige is a quality framework structured as a total quality management system. Its principles are applied universally across the entire organization. Focusing on strategies to improve quality, ethical practices, and integrity, Baldrige can lead to changes in the organization’s culture (Peng et al., 2020). Most importantly, this framework aligns resources with other management systems like lean management, Six Sigma, and ISO 90001 using seven criteria. They include leadership, customer and market focus, strategic planning, information analysis, business outcome, management, and workforce processes.
Comparing the Three Process Improvement Methods
Although six sigma, ISO 9001, and Baldrige are quality management systems, they emphasize the improvement of operational processes while maintaining customer satisfaction. Six Sigma is concerned with reducing operational costs and improving manufacturing processes. In contrast, ISO 9001 is a compliance model awarded to organizations offering high-quality products and services. According to Almanei et al. (2018), Baldrige is a management framework used to maintain and improve performance excellence across the organizational structure. Comparatively, ISO 9001 provides a template used to evaluate the overall organization’s quality compared to Six Sigma. In this case, Six Sigma provides a framework used to deliver quality processes based on recommendations defined by ISO 9001. Alternatively, while the first two systems are focused on specific operational processes, Baldrige considers an organization’s overall performance.
Although six sigma, ISO 9001, and Baldrige use different approaches, organizations agree that they are compatible. They all play an important role in improving and maintaining quality operational processes throughout an organization. Customer satisfaction and lowering the cost of production are also considered when choosing the management system to be implemented. The main outcomes include efficiency gains, increased output, and productivity that contribute to higher overall performance.
Almanei, M., Salonitis, K., Tsinopoulos, C. (2018). A conceptual lean implementation framework based on change management theory. Procedia CIRP, 72, 1160-1165. Web.
Collier, A. D., & Evans, J. (2017). Operations and supply chain management. Cengage Learning.
Peng, X., Prybutok, V., & Xie, H. (2020). Integration of supply chain management and quality management within a quality-focused organizational framework. International Journal of Production Research, 58(2), 448-466. Web.