Whom We’ve Helped with Lean Six Sigma

These success stories are representative of the many Lean, Six Sigma, and Environmental projects we’ve worked on in the last 25 years:

  • Telecommunications :: Design and Implementation of a Process Management System.

Project: Convert ten years of in-person workshops to a comprehensive learning site.

Issue: A new business unit within an established telecommunications company was growing faster than it could have ever dreamed. It was having trouble defining jobs for current and new employees, monitoring performance, and keeping complete chaos from ensuing.

Solution: Through personal coaching, facilitation, and just-in-time training, we… 

— Documented Key Processes (core and enabling); Defined metrics used to measure performance against corporate objectives.

— Designed and implemented a graphical user interface and supporting software for PC driven corporate report package. This was the prototype for the corporate-wide application.

— Devised a documentation numbering scheme and update procedure to meet ISO 9000 and customer standards for format and retrieval.

Results: The process maps revealed huge gaps (for instance, there was no one sending out bills!) and many redundancies (wasted time and effort) in non-critical processes. Report-generation cycle time was reduced by 75%.

  • Chemical Industry :: Coaching is Vital

Project: To Increase Yield On A Chemical Process, To Design Levels

Issues: A Team Leader struggled with Root Cause Analysis phase of his project for more than 3 months! This particular individual was an engineer and highly skilled in advanced statistical tools. He had become so involved in demonstrating statistical correlation between suspected causes and the low output of his process that he couldn’t “see the forest through the trees”.

Solution: An Albany Analytical coach was brought in to help. The coaching involved many “dumb questions” – the answers to which were “obvious” to the process experts. However, upon “walking the process” and seeing what was really happening, it became clear that the answer was not in chemical theory, or statistical analysis. The problem had been a misunderstanding by both the operators of the second shift (who had the wrong specification for setting the controls) and by the purchasing agent who had supplied a cheaper thermocouple, because no one had documented the requirements for that part.

Results: Within 6 weeks, root causes were verified, solutions piloted, and the project was in the final stages of implementation!

  • Pharmaceutical :: Getting Good Results Fast Saves the Plant

Project: A small manufacturing facility – part of a large, global corporation – was in danger of being shut down because of their poor performance. Defects were high, resulting in low yield and high process cycle time. Shipping of finished product took over 30 days because of paperwork delays

Issues: They could not meet their demand for goods (and the goods were already sold!), it was taking them a month to do a week’s worth of Regulatory paperwork, and morale was as low as it could get.

Solution: Using the BeeLineResults™ approach of targeting business process improvement efforts to the top 3 projects, limiting training on “the tools needed for the job”, and intense coaching, this facility was able to bring itself from a bad situation to a GREAT position within 7 months.

Results: Within 6 weeks, root causes were verified, solutions piloted, and the project was in the final stages of implementation! During the first 7 months they: reduced cycle time of paperwork to 25%, reduced equipment failures by over 50%, reduced inspection errors (which resulted in throwing away good product) by 80%, exceeded all of their production goals, improved employee morale, and did so with no major capital or resource investments. Within a year of launching BeeLineResults™, they were being held up by their corporate headquarters as an example to follow!

  • Internal Expert Mentoring :: Makes The Knowledge Your Own

Project: A business unit of a large global corporation wanted to groom a Six Sigma Master Black Belt (internal expert) from within their own ranks.

Issues: From within existing Six Sigma Black Belts, a promising person was chosen to become that Master Black Belt. He showed promise in the tools, and had management experience, but wasn’t sure what his role as Master Black Belt should be. How should he coach others? Was statistical knowledge more important than management skills? How could he effectively manage 30 or more Black Belts?

Solution: He was coached in his own improvement project, but more importantly, we coached him in how to coach others. The skill of doing a project is very different from the skills needed to coach a project. He sat in on many coaching sessions with his fellow team leaders – to observe the process. He was guided in the logistics of coaching: when to meet, what to say, how to keep notes and follow through on action items. He was given recommendations for books to read, technical conferences to attend. Then, he was given the chance to coach improvement team leaders, with the Albany Analytical mentor observing him, and providing feedback later.

Results: A decade later, he is a strong and vital force within this company’s Six Sigma organization, acknowledged for its global success.

  • Power Generation and Energy Systems :: Get the Power from the Existing Facilities

Project: AAn electric utility needed to schedule a “refueling” for a nuclear power unit for the following summer months when power requirements are at their peak. The utility needed to find the most reliable and effective way to cover the power needs during that time period. One of the projects included improving the reliability of 36 aging aircraft derivative gas turbines used during peak periods.

Issues: Reliability – Utility would attempt to start 12 units and hope to have 4 to 6 start successfully. Execution of the start-up sequence was unreliable, resulting in higher costs and greater fuel usage.

Solution: Extensive Failure Mode Effects Analyses (FMEAs) and Error Mode Effects Analyses (EMEAs) were completed. Failure and Error preventions were introduced to the start-up process. The solutions were modeled via computer simulation and processes and new procedures were implemented.

Results: Reliability increased to > 90%. Utility was able to serve its entire regional load throughout the day including peak hours, therefore retaining revenues in excess of $75 Million.

To become one of our success stories, contact us today!

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