Is Lean Six Sigma about cost cutting?
Lean Six Sigma allows you the achieve your growth strategy – usually that means improving service times from less delays, improving sales from improved quality, and can also mean improved margins and profits from reduced costs. While reducing costs is always helpful, the greatest benefit from Lean Six Sigma is being able to better meet the needs of your customers. When the intent of Lean Six Sigma is to improve processes to give a better customer experience there is often the added benefit of reduced costs.
Do you ever have customer deadlines that require extra last-minute effort? Putting on overtime and extra costs for expediting so that deadlines can be achieved? If the processes are simplified so that the process is faster and more reliable then these costs can be avoided. By fully understanding what is important to customers, what they consider value-add, will allow a process to be improved by keeping the value-added steps and removing the wasteful and non-value-added activities that consume time, energy and costs. Sometimes delays in our workflow come from errors and defects which take time to rectify. This rework causes extra delay and also drives extra costs. Using Lean Six Sigma to improve the consistency of work processes will allow the work to flow with fewer problems, less risk in-process delays, and better quality delivered to the customer. Because Lean Six Sigma has achieved better quality the n the costs of poor quality can be avoided.
The best way to reduce costs with Lean Six Sigma is often not to chase cost cutting! Choosing to improve the customer experience of better quality and delivery will bring a business with lower costs also.