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Numerous companies report annual savings have documented annual savings from Lean Six Sigma initiatives that range from $2,000 to $250,000 (and higher) per improvement, and those figures don’t include the added value of increased sales, enhanced reputation and expanded customer goodwill. The U.S. Army reports that its Lean Six Sigma initiatives have resulted in savings approaching $2 billion.
But saving money isn’t the only benefit, according to a recent article in Reliable Plant Magazine from Samuel Silva, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and chief operations officer for HiPower Systems. Companies implementing Lean Six Sigma also see increased work productivity and morale, the ability to adjust to unexpected changes in the business or economic climate, better innovation and standards-driven achievement, and greater customer satisfaction.
However, Silva wrote, companies often misunderstand the nature of Lean Six Sigma. Saving money must not be the only reason a company would adopt this approach. Further, without 100 percent buy-in from senior management and the willing of the company to invest appropriate resources for the initiative, they’re not likely to succeed with it. They must be willing to commit time and to work as a team, he stated. And the team must be able to carry out the initiatives without constant evaluation or approval.
If, however, a company is able to successfully implement Lean Six Sigma initiatives, the benefits may be seen not only with the specific project but throughout the entire organization, Silva wrote. When Lean Six Sigma’s principles are allowed to permeate every aspect of the business, happy customers and happy employees are the result.