Guide

Increase efficiency to maximise your profit

Improving efficiency through lean thinking and Six Sigma

Operations management is a way of organising your business in order to improve efficiency. It provides a framework which can help you with planning, forecasting, or marketing your products or services. The two most common approaches to streamlining operations management are:

  • lean methodology
  • Six Sigma

Lean and Six Sigma management systems can help you reduce inefficiencies and waste across your business, and increase both the quality of your products as well as your business' profitability.

What is lean methodology?

Lean thinking method focuses on only spending money on resources that create value for your customers. Anything which does not ultimately increase value for your customers is considered wasteful and a target for savings.

Lean is concerned with optimising the flow of work, so it can apply in almost any business or process. You should view lean thinking as a way of thinking and a way of changing the culture of your business for the better. See what are lean methods.

Invest Northern Ireland has created a series of video tutorials on lean thinking to help businesses understand the methodologies involved. Watch Invest NI's tutorials on lean thinking.

What is the concept of Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a methodology similar to lean that started out as a set of practices designed to eliminate defects in manufacturing. It has now extended to other types of business processes and defines a defect as any output that does not meet customer requirements.

Six Sigma methods are data-driven and this data can be used as a management technique across all businesses in order to improve operations. See what is Six Sigma.

You may also be able to use lean methods and Six Sigma together.

Watch a video case study below and hear Brian Johnston, Factory Manager at Moy Park, explain how they use lean thinking to improve process efficiency.