The article by Smith is educative and interesting, giving out crucial knowledge regarding the reduction of costs in firms. The combination of more than a single way to solve the issue of wastefulness of both resources and time spent on an activity is vital in increasing revenue and customer satisfaction (Smith 37). The combination of Six-sigma and lean manufacturing processes can bring out overall exemplary results, reducing time spent and resources waste while and at the same time increasing efficiency and hence customer satisfaction and profitability. The use of Six-sigma alone leads to waste of timer and projects take a much longer than they actually should. Six-sigma also does not see the unseen problems and this gives it the biggest loophole. On the other hand, lean process looks into the best solutions and approaches through which a certain problem should be addressed. When combined with lean manufacturing, the whole system is much more effective since lean would unearth the unseen problems for Six-sigma to attack. This therefore leaves nothing unseen and problems are solved from the bases and causes and not the effects. Thes combination of these two approaches is also accurate, holistic and overlooks none of the probable causes to problems no matter how obvious they look or sound (Smith 38).
Though the combination of the two approaches is very appealing, many firms opt to choose either of them. Very few combine the two. This is because combining them has proved quite a challenge to many management teams in the renowned companies in the world. They believe that there arise conflicts as the two approaches compete for resources and in worse cases fight against the organization’s culture. Therefore, the articulation of these two methods within the same organization calls for an exemplary competent management team. They prove to be very tricky to use together and they call for people who would think beyond what a common person can see. This is a rare feature especially in a whole board where different people have different capabilities and different views over issues.
Employee satisfaction is a major factor that determines the success of the approach that an organization chooses to follow, especially the lean method (Smith 41). When employees participate more in organization events, through lean approaches, they are more likely to be loyal to the organization than those who do not participate in any of these activities. They would also become more productive and more efficient.
Six-Sigma tools use data to make decisions and to determine the root causes to the problems that an organization face during its daily processes. Lean approach determines the best causes of action that should be taken to kill the problem from its roots. Further, the lean approach gives time and accuracy a preference. Therefore, it looks for precision and the shortest time that the remedies to the problems can be completed. This gives the combination of the two approaches the best preference among any other management strategies. This is because the hindrances to success are cut off from their respective bases and not just the effects are addressed. For instance, continuous leakages would not be mended, but the causes of the leakages would be addressed.
The use of lean method together with the Six-sigma can be adequately used to improve the status of the US navy. During the process of servicing U.S.S. George Washington, the safety of the ship is highly reduced and this translates to the reduced safety of the United States citizens. Therefore, the time taken to service the fleet ship has to be reduced to the minimum in order to ensure that there are few chances that the United State could get hit by any other military team. The use of the lean methods significantly reduced the time taken to do the servicing. The job usually took 53 days, but its introduction resulted to a 68% drop on the time taken to complete the servicing which translated to a mere 16 days (Chircop 2009).
The efficiency of the team could be further increased by involving the workers on the Kaizen process. As Smith (41) noted, there is a significant increase in the employee satisfaction and efficiency whenever they are involved in the process of lean manufacturing or servicing. When they are actively involved, they would be better placed and this would improve the overall outcome. The team servicing U.S.S. George Washingtonis not an exception. If they are involved at higher implementation levels, they would take the idea as their own and bring out more than the team in place is currently doing. The management team on the other hand is required to be very thoughtful and critical in making the decisions. This is because extremely deep involvement of the employees could give a different outcome from the one that is desired.
Since the use of the combination of the two approaches, lean and Six-sigma would bring out the best results; it is paramount that the Navy buys the idea as well. However, care should be taken since the management of the combination could be disastrous if poorly implemented. The magnitude of success of the combination is as high when the management of the team overseeing the process is good. The US navy should therefore choose a team of experts who have the ability to think critically and never overlooking the obvious, then choose equally competent people from U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC). From there the combined team should lay down strategies to determine the best way to combine Six-sigma and lean approaches.