Dave Olski Lenovo Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt Sometimes things are even better together than they are apart. What’s the Internet without Google? The Houston Rockets basketball team without Yao Ming? New Year’s without fireworks? Take Lean Six Sigma, a popular method for driving continuous improvement across a business. Individually, Lean and Six Sigma are both effective continuous improvement methods. Lean focuses on improving process speed by eliminating non-value-added activities in an end-to-end process. Six Sigma focuses on improving process quality by eliminating defects through in-depth analysis of a problem’s root cause. Together, Lean and Six Sigma enable organizations, like GE, DuPont, Toyota and Lenovo, to examine end-to-end processes while doing in-depth analysis of problem areas. The result? Increased value to customers, improved business results and establishment of a high-performance culture – driving increased efficiencies and process improvements that Lenovo will pass on to customers in the form of increased quality, improved order processing and shorter delivery times.
Connections: I see your title says you are a LSS Master Black Belt, can you break a board with your head?
Dave: (Laughing) Well, I might have a hard enough head to break a board but that's not part of the progression of knowledge to become a LSS Master Black Belt. At Lenovo, it begins with online Lean Six Sigma Awareness training then progresses to LSS Yellow Belt Training, Green Belt Training, Black Belt or Lean Master Training and finally, Master Black Belt Training, which takes a minimum of a year to complete. As with martial arts, one must practice the techniques until they become second nature. As Lean Six Sigma students progress, they shift from simply understanding how Lean Six Sigma methodologies work to implementing them and ultimately, looking at everything from a continuous improvement perspective.
Connections: What does Lean Six Sigma offer a global company?
Dave: LSS provides Lenovo employees around the world with a common set of tools and methodologies along with a shared language for examining and solving problems. As all Lenovo employees complete Lean Six Sigma Awareness training, and many achieve different LSS Belt levels, the continuous improvement approach will permeate Lenovo to become the bedrock of and driver for our high-performance culture.
Connections: Why do you need a method to implement continuous improvement?
Dave: It's important to provide an effective framework for implementing continuous improvement because, as I mentioned earlier, it develops common ground for all employees by providing them with a shared set of tools, terminology and methods for examining and solving problems. However, Lean Six Sigma is more than an improvement or quality program, it is also an employee development program that builds a continuous improvement culture and enables Lenovo to achieve continued excellence in all areas of the company. For more information on Lean Six Sigma (LSS), go to www.lean.org, www.isixsigma.com, or www.gembapantarei.com