Lean Six Sigma

Operational excellence and lean six sigma
Progress is your partner for operational excellence and lean six sigma projects in the (bio-)pharmaceutical and health care industry.

Do you recognize any of the following issues in your business?

  • Process lead times are too long
  • Product fails minimum quality requirements
  • Too much variation in process output
  • Team output is effective, but not efficient
  • Departments / teams work on different priorities

How can we help you?
Progress offers specialists who can help you to solve problems by applying lean and six sigma tools. These are structured and proven methods that focus on a combination of increasing efficiency and reducing variation in processes. Because we have a long track record in biotech and pharma, we understand the specifics of this industry, including its regulations and guidelines. We will not suggest improvements to your process or business which jeopardize compliance.

Lean is about value and waste
Lean focuses on finding value within your organisation. For which activities is the customer willing to pay for? Which activities are not adding value to your customer? By applying the five principles of lean (define value, map the value stream, create flow, establish pull, pursue perfection), our consultants will help you to make your business more efficient.
During that process, we identify and eliminate non-value added activities, or waste. The acronym TIM WOOD describes seven types of waste:

  • T for transport
  • I for inventory
  • M for movement
  • W for waiting time
  • O for overproduction
  • O for overprocessing
  • D for defects

Do you recognize any of these seven wastes, but don’t know where to start? We got you! Our experts will find the value and the waste within your business and with you, we define the improvement plan to reduce waste from your organisation.

Six sigma
Sigma is a statistical measure for variation or spread around the mean (average) outcome of a process. Sigma shows how well a process is performing and it is a prediction of how often a defect is to occur. When a process operates at one sigma, approximately one out of three produced units fails to meet acceptance criteria. When a process operates at six sigma, only 3.4 out of a million products fail.

Sigma Level Defaults per million Within Acceptance criteria (%)

Six sigma is a scientific statistics based structured methodology to reduce variation from a process. A project is executed according to a five step improvement cycle (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), which has some similarities to Demings 4-step PDCA cycle.

  1. In the define phase, we scope the project, align stakeholders and form a team of process experts.
  2. In the measure phase, we measure the current state. The process is mapped, we identify the process outputs we need to improve. We qualify the measurement system for the process output and we measure how well the process is performing as a baseline for our improvement project.
  3. In the analyze phase, we identify input variables that have an effect on the output of the process. We determine which inputs contribute the most to the output not meeting acceptance criteria. We find root causes based on objective data.
  4. In the improve phase, we identify and validate improvements that reduce process variation.
  5. In the control phase we document and monitor the process at its new input variables. We assign accountability to make sure the improvements we have made are sustainable.

Where to start?
Progress developed a lean six sigma quick scan. This scan will give you insight in where your organisation stands on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being best-in-class) on the following improvement areas:

  1. Process optimisation. How well are your end-to-end processes described and understood?
  2. Data, Analytics & Six Sigma. What is the standard of your data integrity? Does your organisation make decisions based on data?
  3. Lean Way of Working. How well does the organisation work according to standardized and agreed methods?
  4. Visual management & Dashboards. How does visual management support your daily activities and communication within the organisation? Are metrics visible and cascaded in the organisation?
  5. Continuous Improvement. Is scientific problem-solving part of daily activities within the organisation and is it used to its full potential?
  6. Lean Organisation & Leadership. How well is continuous improvement imbedded within the company culture? Does the organisation focus on short term targets?

With this quick scan, we can assess the baseline performance of your business across the six improvement areas​. Each improvement area is measured objectively against standardized reference data​. The baseline is a starting point for the improvement program​. Goals can be set differently per improvement area, depending on where the baseline is measured. The quick scan can be re-used over time to assess progress towards the goals.