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'LEAN SIX SIGMA, SCIENCE OF BREAKTHROUGH IMPROVEMENTS'

By NBF News

Mr. Hubert Eke, a management expert, illustrating the uses of the Six Sigma System to participants during the seminar at Protea Hotel in Lagos

A top Nigerian trainer and Business management expert, Mr. Hubert Eke has urged corporate Organisations in Nigeria and medium scale companies to embrace Lean Six Sigma Management system if they truly desire to achieve sustainable and measurable improvements in their operations.

Eke was speaking at an introductory seminar  organised recently by QPine Resources Ltd and Process Consulting Ltd at Protea Hotel, Ikoyi-Lagos  to introduce Lean Six Sigma Management tools to selected corporate organisations in Lagos. Present at the introductory seminar were representatives of companies in the manufacturing, telecoms, banking, advertising and other sectors.

Mr. Eke explained that since companies are consistently under pressure to improve operational efficiency and profitability, turning to Lean Six Sigma, which he describes as the science of breakthrough improvements, could bring near magical results that would reflect from changes made throughout the value chain, including internal pressures, supplies and most importantly customers relationship.

The Lean programme, according to Hubert Eke is basically a system that seeks to improve process efficiency and quality by increasing speed and eliminating waste. It was first used as a term in quality improvement system when it was applied to the Toyota Production System (TPS) in the 1980s. Presently it is used by at least 25 percent of Fortune 500 companies in America. When it was first used by GE in1997, over $400million was gained in the company's operating income.

Mr. Eke emphasised that Lean's attention to eliminating waste evaluates all areas of value provision. In his words, ' think about the cost of returned or reworked account opening forms, the cost of resolving thousands of telecommunication customers complaints which should never have occurred with a process designed for lean or six sigma performance'.

During presentations at the introductory seminar, it was emphasized that   Six Sigma is not a one-time project or improvement effort.

Rather it is a process of establishing a new culture that pervades the organisation before becoming part of its DNA. Capturing the full image of the programme, Hubert Eke describes it as 'a methodology focused on creating breakthrough improvements by managing variations and reducing defects in all processes across the enterprise'. Companies using other management systems were advised at the introductory seminar to pick tools peculiar to Six Sigma to make their operations faster and more efficient.

Areas that respective industries can reduce cost, eliminate misuse and get rid of waste were identified during the training. For the telecoms industry they include download speed, availability of refill cards, input errors, and poor customer services. The ones identified in the manufacturing sector include bagging waste, under fill, impurity levels, under weight, bottle colour, active ingredients and many others. In banking such areas include ATM uptime, ATM errors, new account openings and customer services.

According to Eke Six Sigma  succeeds through significant process improvement that require defining process goals in terms of critical parameters on the basis of customer requirements, measuring current process performances in context of goals, analyzing current scenarios in terms of variations and defects, improving the process by systematically reducing variations and defects besides controlling future performances of all processes.


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