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STRATEGY AND PLANNING TOOLS
SURVEYING THE TOOL KIT
Lean and Six Sigma are designed to be comprehensive programs. Embedded
within the two initiatives are pervasive philosophical principles, values, models,
and tools. This creates a challenge when trying to describe what Lean and Six
Sigma have to offer when combined. As well, it can make training and implementation
challenging becauseemployees may get confused between theory
and practical next steps. This is especially true in logistics, given its hands-on
focus on operations. Consequently, it is important for the logistician to understand
Lean and Six Sigma beyond theory, from a practical point of view. In
order to be effective, the logistician must be armed not only with theory, but
also practical knowledge and tools thatwill lend directly to improved operational
effectiveness and reduced costs.
Many training courses and books will attempt to separate the Lean tools
from the Six Sigma tools. For example, one may argue that voice of the customer
is a Six Sigma tool, whereas value stream mapping is a Lean tool.
Although the tools’ origins may be traced to one camp or the other, the logistician
simply needs toknow what tools are available and when they are best
applied. For that reason, we have interspersed the tools commonly associated
with Lean and Six Sigma across four categories: (1) strategy and planning, (2)
problem solving, (3) operations, and (4) measurement. Methods and tools associated
with these four categories are reviewed in this section over the next
four chapters.
201
202 Lean SixSigma Logistics
Before introducing the tools of Lean Six Sigma Logistics, three points are
critical to note. First, the tools are not “new.” In most cases, it is only their
common application to logistics and operations that is new. Second, the list
provided is not meant to serve as a comprehensive catalogue of available tools,
methods, and concepts, but rather as a representative sample ofvalued, tested
tools used in Lean Six Sigma Logistics. Third, the discussion tied to each tool
is intended to provide awareness and the beginnings of a working knowledge
of the tool. Fortunately, volumes of reference books and Web content exist for
each tool.
This chapter reviews key tools used for strategy and planning that aid in
providing direction and scope for Lean Six Sigma Logisticsimplementation. It
is here that the focus and priorities of the organization’s efforts are established;
for Lean Six Sigma Logistics is not just about doing things right, but doing the
right things right. The Logistics Bridge Model emphasizes hearing the voice
of the customer, and it is here that we start our discussion of valued tools.
VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER
The voice of the customer is, as itsname suggests, a concept that embraces the
input of customers toward the products and services provided to them. This
belief is the Six Sigma manifestation of the “marketing concept,” the realization
that customers are the business’s reason for being and that it is far more effective
and efficient to identify customers’ specific needs first and then develop
products and services consistentwith these needs. This runs counter to the
conventional “production mentality” that suggests finding products and services
in which the company excels and then passing those goods and services to
customers. This distinction can be summed in a comparison of the statements
“We make what we sell” versus “We sell what we make.” Lean Six Sigma
Logistics recognizes that understanding customer needsmust come first. Pushing
products and services to customers can only create waste.
When it comes to logistics services, it is easy to see that not all customers
want the same services or expect the same level of service. Some customers
seek value-added services like labeling and packaging, others call for transportation
and storage, and still others seek only transportation. Among those...
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