Eliminate waste and go lean with Six Sigma

 In Best Practices, Business Intelligence

Eliminate waste

Looking to eliminate waste? Digging up those golden opportunities for growth propel the eager, agile business forward, but adopting this mindset takes work and determination

Making that extra effort to run lean, though, pays off in a big way. When your operations are focused on efficiency, they’re concentrated almost exclusively on providing value for the customer. Putting that emphasis on the customer is a wise use of precious resources, leading to higher customer satisfaction, more returning customers, and greater profitability.

So how do you learn to run lean in your operational processes? What are the tools you need to find and eliminate waste in your various systems?

Eliminate waste using Six Sigma principles.

Six Sigma principles are process improvement strategies that focus on improvement through the elimination of waste. This is a great kick-starter for improving your bottom line. 

There’s a lot to Six Sigma principles (so much so that you can enroll in entire courses to earn your Six Sigma belt of choice), but they all boil down to the five DMAIC steps: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. 

Put your business on a diet plan.

As with any improvement plan, before you can fully eliminate waste from your operations, you need to take your cue from the experts at Six Sigma and define what sort of waste you’re dealing with. 

The seven main types of waste in typical ERP operations are as follows:

  • Defect Waste: Activities or outputs that do not conform to the customer’s requirements
  • Waiting Waste: Waiting for something before taking the next action results in waste
  • Not Utilizing Waste: Not utilizing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals on your team
  • Motion Waste: Adding movement without value
  • Excess Processing Waste: Performing more work than is required or duplicating work
  • Overproduction Waste: Not truly understanding the demand for your product and overstocking
  • Transportation Waste: Unnecessary movement of parts, double handling of materials, or shuffling of inventory

Once you’ve defined the type of waste you’re dealing with, it’s on to the next steps. And that’s where it starts to get fun. Refining your processes to eliminate specific types of waste is a lot like solving an ever-changing puzzle. It’s a little bit art, a little bit science, and 100% in our wheelhouse. So, let’s dive in!

What’s the solution?

Much like the Six Sigma principles, SalesPad focuses on facilitating lean operations by locating and eliminating waste within your processes. Two of our main tools for helping businesses accomplish this are our flagship products: SalesPad Desktop and SalesPad Cloud. A flexible ERP solution designed to scale alongside your business is a crucial piece of the puzzle when fighting waste in any distribution business, whether you operate in an on-premises or cloud environment.

However, simply implementing a lean, mean ERP machine is not enough. You’ve got to dig into the product and learn the inside tips and tricks that will help you transform your operations. Taking that deep dive into your software solution reveals shortcuts you can utilize to introduce more efficiency into your operations. Or, maybe you’ll hit the motherlode and uncover functionality you didn’t even know was an option. 

There’s more to this story.

Consider the above as merely an appetizer for whetting your waste-elimination appetites. You can get the whole story, including an interview with SalesPad’s own Six Sigma samurai, Matt Greyerbiehl. With 14 years of experience in the manufacturing world, several levels of Six Sigma training, and a passion for improvement, you know he’s the real deal. You can read his take here.

We’re here to help if you need us.

Matt and the rest of the team here at SalesPad are passionate about helping businesses reach their peak potential. Whether that’s by creating leaner processes, cutting back on waste, learning how to better utilize your ERP solution, or any number of additional savvy business improvements, we’re here to help. 

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