Getting the skinny on quality

For years, Six Sigma has been considered the ultimate in quality programs. But for many companies, it was too expensive. The cost aspect is being addressed by combining Six Sigma with lean manufacturing techniques.
The resulting Lean Sigma approach focuses on doing things smarter, faster and better. It has concepts like value stream mapping, in which specialists examine processes to make sure that all non-value-added steps are removed.
Often, companies will run kaizen events in a factory, focusing on each step of the process to make sure that every action is needed for efficient operation. Simplicity is one of the key parameters, specialists focus on keeping everything in its proper order and ensuring that everything located in a workplace is necessary.
Among the differences between Six Sigma and Lean Sigma is that the lean approach takes much less time to learn. Managers immersed in Six Sigma concepts often deferred to so-called black belts who better understood the intricacies of this complex quality program.
With Lean Sigma, a couple days training is all that’s needed. IPC will prove that with a training workshop on Nov. 17, followed by a two-day technical conference. That event, IPC Lean Sigma Conference for Electronics Manufacturing, will be in Phoenix, Ariz.

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