Lean Six Sigma
What is Lean Six Sigma?
Lean Six Sigma is a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of continuous improvement, which incorporates two complementary disciplines: Lean manufacturing, which addresses process flow and waste issues, and Six Sigma, which improves quality through defect prevention.
Lean methodologies are congruent with the mission of Correctional Industries, helping employees improve process efficiency and effectiveness. This allows CI to offer products at competitive prices, which ultimately reduces the tax burden of corrections. Lean Six Sigma also helps create a workplace that is clean, organized, and safe, resulting in fewer accidents and better visibility. In addition, inmates with Lean Six Sigma experience develop marketable job skills, increasing the likelihood of outside employment.
Organizations that implement Lean strategies experience a variety of benefits, including:
- Improved employee morale
- Reduced costs
- Reduced lead times
- Reduced defects
- Improved customer satisfaction
Our Lean Journey
Correctional Industries' Lean journey began in 2007, when 25 staff members were trained in Lean manufacturing methods. Initially, CI pursued a "train the trainer" strategy, where trained staff educated others at each facility. The primary goal of early Lean efforts was to reduce inventory, reduce production lead times, as well as clean and organize work areas.
In 2011, Six Sigma was added to the Lean toolkit to reduce defects caused by variation within business processes. In practice, CI follows the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC) method. The addition of Six Sigma complemented the Lean curriculum, allowing employees to solve complex problems with statistical analysis.
CI Lean practitioners currently educate employees in Lean and Six Sigma, along with methodologies such as 5S, 7 Wastes, and Value-Stream Mapping. Employees are also involved in workshops, in which employees follow a structured method for continuous process improvement.
The ultimate goal of the Lean initiative is to instill a culture of continuous improvement, where management creates time for Lean efforts, employees look to the tools without prompting, and everyone feels ownership of the process. Early efforts have been extremely successful, but CI's Lean journey is far from over. A Lean journey always has a next step, and CI is committed to continuous improvement.