Part I. Process Cost Reduction: A Focus on Waste Elimination

Introduction to Part I

Your business is a series of processes. Your people work, live, love, and hate those processes, whether or not they are aware of the extent of those processes. To drive out costs and overhead from the business, you must drive it out from the framework of processes that constitute your business. The difficulty for most employees and business leaders is that their day is filled by work that is not focused on improving processes. People are busy thinking in terms of their job requirements, job responsibilities, and job descriptions, in order to keep their jobs. Your people are busy with the steps of the process rather than the costs of the process.

What is the state of your processes? Are they best-in-class or barely functioning? Global business pressures and customer demands—and we all have customers in some way—require more than barely functioning processes. If daily attention is consumed by every sales call that must be closed without ever working on the process to actually get higher-quality leads into the sales funnel, costs and lead times will grow in the absence of control. (This is a case of the third law of thermodynamics, which tells us that chaos will expand.)

  • Lean Six Sigma Question: What would the impact on your business be if you could cut 30 to 80 percent of wasted time and costs out of your processes?

  • Answer: When applied holistically to strategic needs such as cost-cutting, the Lean Six ...

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