A collection of resources and commentary providing an introduction to supply chain management and related systems for students, practitioners, and anyone else interested in learning more about how to design, manufacture, transport, store, deliver, and manage products.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Six Sigma vs. Lean vs. TOC – What, When and Where?
efficiency can be a defining competitive advantage for the leading organizations
in an industry. This has been demonstrated by companies which have dominated
their space for long durations of time such as Dell, Apple, Walmart, Amazon, Toyota,
Ikea and many more. Perhaps, Scott Adams has a point when he says that mixing methodologies can create unnecessary confusion. Afterall, Six Sigma, Lean and TOC are find their origins in different schools of thought.
to the primary and the secondary goals which are covered in detail in the
article by Dave Nave, the question I wonder if certain organizations
and industries lend themselves to be one of the process improvement
Technology Manufacturing companies like semiconductor fabrication (Intel, AMD), Aerospace and Aviation (Boeing, Rolls Royce, Airbus, Lockheed Martin)
have inherent focus on quality. Hence the focus should be reduction of
variation and quality more than anything else. Organizationally, these could be
more engineering driven and hence, suited for analytical studies and
improvement by Six Sigma. Volume industries on the other hand, where
competition drives lower margins such as automobiles and other manufacturing plants
where visual change is key and inclusive change of philosophy can be cultivated
accompanied the continuous improvement from the workforce is essential might
look at Lean as the viable method. Industries such as Petroleum, Mining and
Retail where well defined organizational hierarchy and division of work between
the executive and the workforce exist might render itself to achieve operational
efficiency by implementing Theory of Constraints.
assumption here is that though the three methods help organizations improve operational
efficiency and effectiveness (in different proportions and metrics) , organizational
challenges to change are important to be addressed. The point is that Supply
Chains form only a part of the overall organization. Though the primary goals
of improvement might be important, does the philosophical alignment of these
methodologies with the organizational values and structure often take
How to Compare Six Sigma, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints (Nave, Quality Progress (www.asq.org), March 2002)