Matt Hrivnak

Kaizen: There's always another future state

15 March 2008

While the U.S. economy is currently in a slight and temporary recession, it remains strong.

For those of us that are lucky enough to live in this great nation, we need to be mindful of how fortunate we really are.  We have the greatest standard of living of any nation in the history of the world.  We have come to expect such great financial rewards that the smallest downturn in economic growth sends people fleeing for the exits.

In addition to this recent slowdown, many companies are moving their operations overseas (or to other areas of the U.S.) or even worse, closing their doors for good.  Despite this sad and unfortunate news, there is hope:  Lean Manufacturing (i.e. Lean) and Six Sigma.

These two topics have been around for a long time and have received varies levels of press and acceptance.  There is, however, one FACT that cannot be spun or denied:  both Lean and Six Sigma work because you cannot dispute cold hard mathematics.  Sure, companies can play with the numbers and fudge the bottom-line, but that’s not the math I’m talking about.  I’m talking about pure profit(s) and loss(es).

Many companies have invested millions of dollars enlisting gifted (some more than others, by the way) consultants to introduce Lean and Six Sigma to their organizations.  Whether it is done by going down the consulting path or just started by managers and associates from within the company, it will work if it is setup in a manner that allows for continuous improvement and growth, and most importantly, is driven/understood/accepted by every member of the organization; from the CEO down to the janitor.

For anyone that is unfamiliar with either topic, here is a brief description (very general, so all of you hardcore semantics critics…please relax).  Lean Manufacturing is a cultural, systematic growth strategy that is aimed at producing exactly what the customer wants, in exactly the time frame they want it, at the lowest cost and at the highest level of quality.  Six Sigma is a total quality system based on the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, & Control) process with defined, built-in quality inputs and verified outputs with a structure of problem solving driven towards root cause analysis, team building and results driven activity all aimed at satisfying every (i.e. internal and external) customer.

Once considered “buzz words”, Lean and Six Sigma are here to stay!  Countless companies have been able to not only stay within the U.S., but have been able to hire more people, introduce more products, reduce costs, grow profits, and out compete foreign manufacturers who benefit from cheaper labor and looser laws.

My sole goal of this website is to improve the level of awareness of the average American on these topics.  You may be a factory floor worker, you may be an engineer or manager, or you may even be an owner or CEO of a small company that employees 100 people, but if I am able to open your eyes and allow you to see the benefits and YOU introduce these techniques at your business, then that makes all of these words and web-pages worthwhile.

We live in a capitalistic society where people want to buy products of the highest quality at the lowest cost while getting paid the most amount of money for the work that they do – we need to do everything and anything to make sure that as many of those products being purchased are made by American companies.  It benefits us all; from the taxes leveled by state and federal governments due to increased sales to more job opportunities for all Americans.

So please…read, read, and read some more.

Together, let’s continue to build America!

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Comments (1) Posted by matt on 31 Mar