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Hi, my name is Peter Herku.  I’m specialized in process improvement and business improvement. Today I would like to talk to you about what you need to improve the efficiency of your company or the efficiency of yourself or the efficiency of the team you are responsible for. There are basically 3 main things you need to improve:

  1. A method
  2. Organisational changes
  3. Routines

1. You need a method, because if you don’t have a method you will just have to try. You’ll make errors, modify your approach and try again. It will cost you too much time and too much effort to really make improvement.

2. You need to organise the improvement efforts. In your team you will need people with different roles and responsibilities to work on continuous improvement. One might be a project leader that needs some deeper knowledge of the improvement method, others should have some general knowledge and be able to contribute to an improvement project.

3. You also need a routine. Normally you just go to your work and you complete your tasks and you go home. This is not enough if you want to become an efficient and well organized proactive company. You will need to establish some routines, like weekly and maybe even daily activities about process improvement. You will need to modify your current meeting schedules to combine and integrate the meetings on continuous improvement projects. Why? Because it will not happen just by itself. You really have to make a habit out of it from day one.

 

More about the method

My introduction to Lean Six Sigma

I would like to tell more about the method and to do that I will give you some more background. I studied Chemical Engineering in Hungary and later in the Netherlands. At that point I was already interested in processes – how to make processes efficient and how to find the most important factors that can influence the outcome of any processes. Later I spent 13 years in finance and there again I was trying to make my work and my team’s work more efficient and wanted to help manufacturing colleagues in the manufacturing to improve their manufacturing processes. The problem was that I didn’t speak their ‘language’, I didn’t communicate on the same level with them and I didn’t really know what problems they had. When I was trying to figure out new process improvements I did it behind my desk, because I thought I was supposed come up with the ideas. At the end we would have discussions and many times they didn’t accept my ideas or accepted them only partly. I was not very successful with that until the moment, when I was working in a manufacturing company as a finance manager, a new colleague joined us as production manager. He told us about Lean and Six Sigma. We decided to arrange a meeting with an expert, who told us that the Lean Six Sigma method is really looking to find the most important factors that have the biggest influence on the outcome of a production process or any other process.  It’s applicable for HR processes, customer service processes, finance process – it doesn’t matter. I said “wow, that’s what I was looking for all the time!”. So I decided to join a blackbelt team of this manufacturing company and I was one of five people in Europe that ran all kind of projects in Europe, like reducing scrap rate in production, reducing claims and customer irritations in Austria, improving packaging and logistical processes in in Germany. These were my projects.

 

The struggle with Lean Six Sigma

I didn’t really have an easy time at the start, applying Lean Six Sigma. I had an excellent training in Germany. What you normally get in such a training, though, is a lot of theory and a lot of statistics. After five weeks of full-time training, I went off to start my first project in manufacturing and I really didn’t know how to start, which tools I needed to apply and which steps I should take. Furthermore, when having a meeting with the production people, these guys really had no idea what I was talking about when mentioning statistics, design of experiment and p-chart, r-chart, c-chart or whatever chart or regression analysis. Those tools didn’t mean anything to them.

The solution: Simplified Lean Six Sigma

So I thought: okay, it’s a good education I got about Lean Six Sigma, but it’s only for a few selected people. I myself have a good educational background, I got a master degree in chemistry and after that I finished my MBA. But Lean Six Sigma is supposed to help a company in its whole. Not only a few people in a company, but everybody should be able to work with it. In order to make that happen I needed something else or at least I had to modify the Lean Six Sigma method. I talked about this with the production manager who was the initiator of using the method. He was a really practical guy. He had no (official) Black Belt certificate, but he had a lot of experience applying the method. We sat together and came up with a really good simplified version of Lean Six Sigma. We basically applied the 80/20 rule, one of the most important principles used in Lean Six Sigma, and applied it to the method itself. We selected 20% of the most important, most effective tools that will help any company and any process to be improved in 80% of the situations. I call this method ‘simplified Lean Six Sigma’ or sometimes 80/20 LSS. With this simplified version I went back to the operators in the manufacturing project. We used only the most effective part of Lean Six Sigma and together we were able to reduce the scrap rate by 42%, saving about 100,000 euro annually on material and labour costs! Later on I applied the same method in the healthcare industry. I had no experience in the healthcare industry at all, but I could work on issues like productivity improvement of district nurses or reducing administrative time of an elderly care team. We were using the same method as with the manufacturing guys and it worked very well. We were actually speaking the same language, I understood them and they understood me.

 

Join my Webinar

Simplified Lean Six Sigma is the method I would like to introduce to you as well. I will do this in a live webinar. I want to make sure that you really get all your questions answered. Questions about how to become an efficient company, how to apply Lean Six Sigma in your industry to your specific situation. Whether it’s manufacturing, healthcare, services, maintenance or finance or whatever industry you are in, I would like you to go https://herku.com/q and leave one question, your most important question about this subject. I will collect the questions and make sure to provide an answer during my Webinar. So please go to https://herku.com/q and enter your most important question. Thank you very much!

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