First developed to combine the principles of lean manufacturing and the Six Sigma enterprise process improvement methodology, Lean Six Sigma (LSS) became quite popular in the logistics industry during the last decade. But this era might be winding down, considering some companies – most notably Xerox – are cutting back on their LSS programs.
Is this due to the programs not working or are they simply becoming a regular part of doing business? Let’s take a closer look.
Reducing Enterprise Waste and Improving Operational Efficiency
Businesses hoping to reduce waste while improving the efficiency of their operations remain the main reason for implementing a Lean Six Sigma program. Back when the Six Sigma concepts were new – both to individual enterprises and the industry as a whole – it took extra effort to embrace them within any company. Specialized teams comprised of experts boasting their Six Sigma “black belts” made it easier for organizations to quickly see results from their investment in the methodology.
Xerox doing away with their centralized LSS team isn’t as much a rejection of the Six Sigma concept as it is a realization this way of doing business is now part of the DNA of every team at the printing business giant. In short, essentially every employee at the company is now a Six Sigma expert whether or not they are part of a specialized team – a fact illustrated by the 500 black belts and 2,500 green belts currently employed by Xerox.
Company president of operations, Herve Tessler, said as much to the Democrat and Chronicle. The company successfully achieved “embedding the principles and practices of (Lean Six Sigma) within the business … we no longer have a need for a centralized LSS function and (will) disband the corporate LSS team.”
“It didn’t make sense to have a separate Lean Six Sigma operation. Lean Six Sigma is alive and well (in) Xerox and will continue to be so,” echoed company spokesman, Bill McKee.
Lean Six Sigma Not Finished in the Supply Chain Industry
So if Xerox and other large enterprises are getting rid of their LSS programs, it likely speaks to the methodology truly becoming a normal part of a company’s business operations rather than a rejection of its principles. Smaller organizations in the supply chain industry still benefit from embracing Lean Six Sigma to improve their efficiency and better compete with the companies also leveraging the methodology. Whether they need a separate LSS team depends on their size and familiarity with Six Sigma concepts.
If your organization needs any additional insight on improving its operations through smart hiring, talk to the experts at ZDA. As one of the top staffing agencies in the logistics industry, we have the vetted candidates able to make a difference for your firm. Talk with us soon!