July 10, 2019 – From international trade, consumer preference changes, and industry consolidation, the dairy industry is subject to many challenges. In the latest Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc. Magazine, Ralph Jeswald and Andrew Reading discuss how Lean/Six Sigma can help companies achieve successful outcomes.
Navigating a Changing Economy and Industry
Managing Profitability Through Lean/Six Sigma
Financial experts predict that the economy is due for a global slowdown, which will present additional challenges to U.S. businesses. Already navigating the dynamics of international trade, consumer preferences, industry consolidation and global dairy overproduction, the dairy industry is susceptible to profitability risk. Companies that remain at the forefront of change remain positioned to navigate these challenges with successful outcomes.
Where do I Start?
Taking the time to look at strategies for managing through the current economic and industry challenges should be at the forefront of your strategy. Often, companies without a continuous process to strategically assess opportunities and implement improvement initiatives resort to reactive and less effective actions. A strategic and methodical approach to manage profitability improvements will expose the inefficiencies and waste that is inherent within a company, most of which is masked during periods of sustained growth. Lean/Six Sigma methodologies can strategically manage your improvement process.
An Overview of Lean/Six Sigma
Started in post war Japan, Lean was designed to encourage creative thinking and discussions with employees to result in higher product quality and customer satisfaction. Lean is a customer-centric methodology, asking the question: “What does the customer want?” It then organizes its enterprise to provide a solution for what the customer wants, when they want it, at the lowest cost possible and with the highest desired level of quality. Most importantly, this is powered by individuals at all organizational levels.
Next, the Greek letter Sigma is defined by statisticians to denote a standard deviation for a set of data. This is an important metric for analyzing business processes as it describes the variations from an established standard within a process. A low variation will typically provide more consistent quality and therefore customer satisfaction. Through the process as a discipline, Six Sigma is a problem-solving methodology dedicated to reducing deviations and improving performance.
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