Manufacturer Credits Six Sigma for 30% Reduction in Waste

Manufacturer Credits Six Sigma for 30% Reduction in Waste

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM), a designer and manufacturer of specialized engineering woven fabrics based in Bally, Pennsylvania, recently announced that after two years of company-wide implementation of Six Sigma, they’ve seen a 30% drop in operational waste.

That number, as reported in Inside Composites, is amazing in itself. It also provides another example of how businesses across many different industries have implemented Six Sigma and achieved success.

One of the noteworthy aspects of Six Sigma implementation at Bally Ribbon Mills is that the company already was considered a leader in process improvement and quality management. But they took the next step, implementing Green and Black Belt training for more employees and creating a culture of continuous improvement across the organization.

The company told Inside Composites that “implementing Six Sigma methodology had a significant impact on manufacturing, design and customer relationships for Bally Ribbon Mills. The company is more able to design and manufacture products exactly to customer specifications, and with far greater confidence in finished products than ever before.”

Six Sigma Executive Buy-In

BRM, which has been in operation since 1923, provides products for medical, safety, automotive, commercial, defense and aerospace applications (NASA is a customer).

Bally also produces medical products for the healthcare industry. The items include biomedical webbing, composites used to make prosthetic devices, implantable ligature tape, materials for dental prosthetics and monofilament materials used in blood filtration and aspirating devices, as well as in bone marrow transplants.

The company places an emphasis “on continuous improvement and defect prevention.” That commitment goes all the way back to adopting MIL-Q-9858 standards for its military products. MIL-Q-9858 is now recognized as the origin of “quality management system standards and regulations over the world,” according to the American Standard for Quality.

That sort of commitment to standards can make all the difference to the quality of a product. So can finding ways to analyze and measure quality, perhaps demonstrated most dramatically by David Lee Roth of the rock band Van Halen in the 1980s.

Today, one of the tools Bally uses to achieve its quality standard goals is Six Sigma. The company has been awarded for its efforts in this area.

Achieving high quality is imperative for a business that works for healthcare companies, the military, defense contractors and the space program. Bally must meet stringent guideline and regulations on the materials they produce.

The executive buy-in at Bally Ribbon Mills offers a notable example for companies interested in training staff in Six Sigma and implementing process improvements. Executive buy-in ranks among the most important keys to success in implementing a strong process improvement culture.

Value of Training Employees in Six Sigma

Part of the “significant impact” of Six Sigma at Bally involved the cost savings to both the company and their customers. It also has led to higher quality products.

Company leaders were sold on Six Sigma after sending one employee through training. The employee used Six Sigma skills on a project that involved just one item and reduced costs by 77%. That got everyone’s attention.

The company then moved into training more employees as Green Belts and Black Belts. They also began having process improvement teams work side-by-side with design and manufacturing teams to create efficient processes from the outset.

Additionally, Bally has focused Six Sigma efforts on areas where there is an elevated risk of failure, a high amount of costs associated with waste and areas with the greatest amount of disruption.

The company has found that employees trained in Six Sigma excel at analysis. Inside Composites reported that company officials said well-trained teams who are knowledgeable in Six Sigma can “use the same data that most manufacturing facilities already collect and still get to a better confidence level, lower material use, less waste, lower lead times and reduced overproduction compared with other QA methodologies.”

That’s high praise and one of the reasons the company has invested so much into Six Sigma.

The post Manufacturer Credits Six Sigma for 30% Reduction in Waste appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: admin
Posted: May 2, 2019, 9:00 am

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