Lean Sigma Tools and Techniques at Zaitoon Plastic Factory LLC

Introduction

Quality improvement has become one of the major areas that the company management is concerned. Quality tools and techniques are applied to ensure the production of quality goods and services in all companies globally. The creation of quality products and services increases the competitive advantage of that company, and this leads to profitability to the business through increased demand. Some various tools and techniques are applied to ensure the production and maintenance of quality goods and services. These techniques include Six Sigma, Lean Management, Lean Six Sigma, Agile Management, Total Quality Management, Just-In-Time, Kaizen, and process excellence.

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These tools and techniques are applied in all stages of the production process. Lean six sigma tools are a technique that utilizes teamwork to improve performance through the removal of waste elements to reduce the cost of production. It combines lean manufacturing techniques and Six Sigma. This helps to identify and eliminate defects, overproduction, long waiting periods, and other wasteful elements (Muda). The mentioned technique creates an environment for the cultural transition of the employees to enhance organizational growth and effectiveness of the process. This change increases the productivity of the employees resulting in increased profitability. This report aims at studying the lean stigma tools and techniques that will help us determine a lean sigma project for Zaitoon Plastic Factory LLC.

Literature Review

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the lean sigma tools and techniques deeply to identify the relevant lean sigma for Zaitoon plastic Factory LLC. Also, the paper will evaluate the appropriate tools, models, approaches, and frameworks for quality improvement. This will be done through a systematic literature review that will aid in updating the earlier work documented by Joseph in 2017.

Research Methodology

The research aims at addressing questions such as; what is lean Six Sigma? Where is lean Six Sigma applied in an organization? Which lean Six Sigma can improve quality issues at the Zaitoon Plastic factory? The above questions offer guidelines to carry out adequate research from the existing database from various publications. However, the literature found may not be enough to develop the findings of the study. Therefore an in-depth analysis of the results will be analyzed to identify the main upcoming ideas presented.   

Data Analysis and Results

Lean Six Sigma is a technique designed to identify wasteful elements and eliminate them to improve the efficiency in the production process. The method combines the tools and principles of lean and sigma six into one method that aid in improving the efficiency of operations in an organization. The main goal of lean Six Sigma is to increase the profitability of an organization through cost reduction (Cherrafi et al., 2017). These three significant areas of Lean Six Sigma, which include; tools and techniques, process and methodology, and mindset, and culture. The tools and techniques are detailed analytical methods used to identify problems and offer relevant solutions to these problems.  Process and methodology involve several steps followed to address issues. The root cause is first identified and then treated appropriately. Mindset and culture is the process of thinking based on information and procedures to attain consistent and improved productivity.

The discussed areas rely on each other for optimal realization of the organizational goals. Analytical techniques can only be applied if there is an active process in place of using them and with the existence of mindset to enhance continuous improvement of the methods. For continuous improvement to be useful, there must be tools and techniques that will aid in analysis. Also, methodology relevant for constant improvement of quality must be applied; therefore, the Lean Six Sigma offers all the required elements for quality improvement in any organization.

Lean refers to a concept that deals with the identification and elimination of wasteful elements during the production process. In companies that sell with large scale production of products, the existence of wasteful items during production results in the creation of goods with a high quantity of waste, which lowers the overall quality of production. The lean approach has been globally applied in analyzing an organizational strategy. There are five principles of lean approach which include;

  1. Value the value of output is determined by studying the customer’s preference as opposed to the manufacturing of products that the company wants to produce. Production should be tailored to meet customers’ tastes and preferences.
  2. The value stream refers to the relationship between all the activities that are followed to deliver quality goods and services. This element focuses on the coordination of these steps and not a single stage.
  3. Flow refers to the extent to which there is effective running of the production process without the existence of waste elements that bring about inefficiency in operations.
  4. Pull it is the extent to which value streaming focuses on the production of goods and services in response to prevailing demand.
  5. Perfection is the consistency of value stream production that identifies and adds value to the products given to clients. It embraces the necessary changes that are vital for quality improvement.

Six Sigma was developed in 1980 at Motorola to improve the quality of the operations of quality and measurement systems by eliminating errors in these systems. Sigma has five phases which are; Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) (Cherrafi et al., 2017).  During the define phase, limits for the process of analysis are defined, and the customer specifications and demands are identified. The stage enhances the implementation of changes without affecting the customer’s request. In measure, the progress of the process, product, or service is identified to identify the current position of the product regarding customer’s specifications. This ensures that the analysis and solutions offered are achievable and not fictions. During the analysis phase, the process, product, and service are examined and assessed to identify areas that are bringing defects. This ensures the root cause of the problem has been adequately addressed to prevent errors. In the improvement phase, necessary changes are identified and are addressed using approved solutions designed specifically for the changes. This results in the elimination of the causes of defects. Lastly, the implementation of identified changes and control of the supporting system occurs during the control phase. This phase sees the full implementation of solutions and its long-term sustainability for continuous quality performance.

Zaitoon Plastic factory

Zaitoon Plastic Factory targets a change in production from ordinary plastic bags to the production of bio-degradable bags that has less environmental pollution. Most countries globally have banned the usage of the regular polythene papers and hence the need for the company to implement the change (Defeo & Juran, 2010). First, the company has already discovered the preferences and demands of its clients; therefore, the company has identified an environmental technology company that will develop an additive for the company. This additive will enable the production of plastic bags that have a preprogrammed lifespan, after which the plastic breaks down into the water, carbon dioxide, and biomass, which are environmentally friendly. This will reduce the dead stock in the warehouses following banning as the company will only manufacture bags according to the demand in the market. Also, by the use of Six Sigma, the company has identified an opportunity to invest in cloud computing services. By the use of Six Sigma, the quality team can come up with the best system that will support online sales globally. Cloud computing will enable the company to market the products online, and therefore the quality of the system should be highly considered.

Tools and Techniques of Quality Improvement In Light of Recent Research

Other relevant tools and techniques of quality improvement in light of recent research are Kaizen, Gemba, and kanban pull system. The Kaizen continuous improvement technique refers to continuous activities that link people and systems in any business for the optimal quality production process (Despeisse et al., 2012). Gemba is a quality technique that removes wasteful elements during production to enhance quality improvement in production. Kanban is an inventory control system which monitors the flow of production to identify areas that need improvements to increase the quality of output. Kanban allows production only to be done based on the current demand, therefore, reducing the production of goods with no market. These tools and techniques will facilitate the production of high-quality plastic bags at Zaitoon Plastic Company. This will increase customer satisfaction and hence increasing the profitability of the organization.

Recommendation

The application of quality tools and techniques will be demonstrated in the production system of Zaitoon Company. Zaitoon Company has been experiencing challenges in the market due to the banning of usage of the regular plastic bag in most of the countries worldwide. The lean Six Sigma will enable the company to improve the quality of production in response to the changes in the market (Despeisse et al., 2012). The company has already known the problem, and they want to implement the change. First, Zaitoon Company will carry out a market analysis to its clients to determine the brands of biodegradable bags that are needed and the required quantity. The production system implemented should produce the bags tailored to meet customer specifications. This will eliminate the overproduction of unwanted bags. Also, the product manager should continuously monitor the system to ensure there are no defects that arise in the course of the production. The company also wants to broaden its market through cloud computing services, which will enable the company to market its bags online. The company, therefore, through lean Six Sigma, will also come up with the best designs of bags that suit the online clients. The brand has to be appealing and met customer demand. The choice of technology to use is as critical as the system should not disappoint clients. The system should have a support team that offers real-time solutions and dispatches sales as soon as the customer requests. Therefore Zaitoon Company will apply lean Six Sigma for quality improvement of products and services.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, quality tools and techniques are very critical in the production system of any organization. These techniques enable the organization to identify the causes of variations in production, identify the root cause of these variations, find the most relevant solution, implement the change needed, and control the solution for sustainability factors.  The quality tools and techniques aimed at improving the production of quality products and services by eliminating wasteful elements that affect the production process. Also, these techniques aim at maximizing output to enhance the profitability of an organization.  By utilizing these techniques, an organization only produces goods and services that are demanded by the customer to avoid the overproduction of products that will take longer to sell. In this case, Zaitoon Company has been able to maximize the production of biodegradable bags as they are the most preferred in most of the countries.

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