Beyond the Tax Return: How KatzAbosch is Helping Clients Implement Lean Six Sigma Methodologies in Their Businesses May 18, 2017 By: Claudia R. Wolter In today’s marketplace, the majority of organizations are looking to do two things: lower costs and maintain their competitive advantage. Lean Six Sigma is a process that can help achieve those goals when implemented correctly by improving efficiencies and eliminating waste. In the first of several posts on Lean Six Sigma, I want to start with some basic context and definitions before we dive into what we’re doing here at KatzAbosch to help our clients succeed and grow. What is Lean? Lean Manufacturing or simply “Lean” is a popular methodical approach to streamlining both manufacturing and service processes by eliminating waste while continuing to deliver value to customers. Waste, in this case, is identified as a step or action that is not required to complete a process or a product in the case of manufacturing. At the completion of a successful Lean implementation only the steps required to produce a product or service that is satisfactory to the customer remain. Many of the principles were first used in Henry Ford’s assembly line and more recently recognized when Lean Management Philosophy and Practices were introduced into the Toyota Production System. What is Six Sigma? Six Sigma is simply a method of efficiently solving a problem. It is named after a statistical concept where a process only produces 3.4 defects per million opportunities. The desired goal when implementing Six Sigma is that processes not only encounter less defects, but do so consistently. Motorola introduced Six Sigma processes to its organization in 1986. Since then, it has saved organizations billions of dollars across virtually every industry. So Lean Six Sigma is… Lean Six Sigma is a combination of the Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma processes. Over 30 years ago, synergies between the two techniques were identified by consultants familiar with both and they began to use the different tools of Six Sigma, that are focused on improving quality, in combination with Lean, which is focused on removing waste. Who Can Use Lean Six Sigma? Because of its origin, a common misconception is that Lean Six Sigma can only be used for manufacturing. With the advancement of technology it is easy to see how it can be applied there. However, Lean Six Sigma can be applied to any industry or business process. Doctor’s offices, accounting firms and other service industries have used Lean Six Sigma to streamline their processes, eliminate waste and improve the customer experience. The Lean Six Sigma Principles can also be applied to any size company. In some instances, small and medium sized businesses can achieve the same success as large companies and they can move faster because a smaller number of people, fewer resources and less bureaucracy are involved. Lean and Six Sigma complement each other. Lean accelerates Six Sigma, delivering greater results than what would typically be achieved by using one processed alone. Results of a successful application will be increased revenue, reduced costs and improved collaboration. By combining these two methods an organization gets a comprehensive tool set to increase the speed and effectiveness of any process. It applies to processes of any size organization and across all industries from a factory assembly line to the flow of paperwork at a law firm. Stay tuned…next in our series we’ll explore “Getting Started: Lean Six Sigma in Your Business” Interested in learning more about Lean Six Sigma? Contact Claudia R. Wolter at firstname.lastname@example.org Article by: Claudia R. Wolter, CPA, CCIFP, CCA Claudia Wolter, a Shareholder with KatzAbosch, joined the firm in 1988. She has played a major role in leading the firm into the 21st century with cutting edge initiatives, including the transition to and managing of a paperless environment. She serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Accounting and Auditing Services Group, assists in the quality control management and oversight of the firm and is a member of the Construction and Real Estate Services Group. Most recently, Claudia served as a contributing author of “Construction Accounting,” an in-depth guide to construction financial and accounting issues for attorneys distributed by the American Bar Association. A dedicated professional, Claudia holds the prestigious distinction of Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional (CCIFP), a certification held by less than 50 professionals in Maryland and less than 1000 professionals in the United States, the designation of Certified Construction Auditor (CCA) from the National Association of Construction Auditors (NACA) and a Lean Six Sigma CPA Green Belt certification from Ohio State University ATI and Boomer Consulting, Inc.