- IBIS UvA: Combining theory and practice in the area of quality and efficiency improvement
- Volume | Issue number
- 20 | 75
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
The institute for Business and Industrial Statistics of the University of Amsterdam (IBIS UvA) is an independent consultancy firm. The institute sees the interaction between scientific research, on the one hand, and the application of technology in business and healthcare, on the other, as its core. Research focuses on statistical methodology for quality and efficiency improvement, while consultancy focuses on support during the implementation of Lean Six Sigma programs at companies and healthcare organizations. All IBIS UvA staff have a background in econometrics or mathematics and combine research with consultancy activities. The purpose of this article is to elucidate Lean Six Sigma and the explain the author’s PhD research area, namely control charting. Lean Six Sigma Lean Six Sigma provides a framework, including roles and responsibilities, that allows organizations to strive for continuous improvement. Roles are defined for higher management, program management, project sponsors, project leaders and team members, amongst others. Improvement projects are led by people from the line organization, who are known as Green Belts and Black Belts. To facilitate project execution, Lean Six Sigma offers a stepwise procedure consisting of successive stages during which a problem situation is smartly defined, measured, analyzed, improved and controlled. In each stage, tools are provided in order to carry out the given step effectively. One important principle of Lean Six Sigma is that project execution should make use of facts and data, so that the organization’s most important problems are selected and that solutions to those problems are effective. The Lean Six Sigma methodology can be applied to all kinds of process improvements, examples being an expansion of the mortgage client base at a bank or a reduction in the cost of operating the children’s ward of a hospital. Lean Six Sigma is not new: it embodies principles and techniques - including managerial ideas as well as statistical tools and methods - that have proven themselves in the past few decades. The Lean Six Sigma program has shown its worth in that it has saved significant sums of money at numerous organizations. At the same time, by focusing on the added value for the client, it has often raised customer satisfaction and thereby increased sales. Since the program was introduced in the 1980s, many companies have adopted its methodology. And although Lean Six Sigma has its roots in manufacturing, since 2000, it has also been embraced by companies in the services industry such as banks and insurers. Hospitals have subsequently joined and, currently, we see that governmental bodies are taking steps to implement the program. IBIS UvA supports companies with their implementation of Lean Six Sigma by providing consultancy to higher management during the selection process and by reporting the results of all Black Belt and Green Belt projects carried out during the training period. In addition, a considerable portion of time is spent on training Black and Green Belts and assisting them with their process improvement projects.
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