This week we came together with the sales trainees one last time in Pittsburgh for Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training. It was a 3.5 day crash course in problem solving and tools to use in the workplace. Six Sigma is a methodology used to optimize manufacturing processes empirically and ultimately reduce variability, waste, and cost.
Some things we learned about included spaghetti diagrams, value stream mapping, and balance sheets. Spaghetti diagrams create a way for manufacturers to see their process in terms of flow of people and materials in order to streamline processes. While developing a spaghetti diagram it becomes more clear where unnecessary and costly movement occurs. Value stream mapping is used to lay out the exact jobs, flow of information/material, and the time it takes to complete each task in order to pinpoint non-value added time and reduce it. Finally, a balance chart is used to further evaluate the waste of time that occurs during manufacturing. These tools can be combined to develop an overall picture of a process and facilitate cost saving projects.
Overall, Six Sigma training provided invaluable tools for us to use in our new roles in manufacturing plants. These tools will definitely be useful as we start our final trainee projects.