Background: This company is a major manufacturer of plastic film used for laminating, packaging, printing, and advertising.

Issue: Sales were being limited by insufficient capacity on their main production line.

Project: Management reach out for expert help. Using the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology, current line operations were assessed to understand the root causes. A major reason that limited output was a significant amount of downtime / setup time to prepare the line to switch over to another product.

A cross-functional team of company employee was then formed and led by a LSS consultant to go through the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) improvement process. The team observed and documented the existing line changeover process done by the 5 floor workers. The findings were analyzed, and improvement ideas discussed.

The team developed a new procedure for doing changeovers, wrote new work instructions, and trained the workers on the new sequence.

Results: After a few turnarounds, the workers mastered the new procedures, and downtime due to setups started decreasing.


Background: This clinic did 14 endoscopies daily, using 8 nurses, 2 patient service assistants, 4 doctors and 2 clerks. Demand for endoscopy services have been increasing year over year. This endoscopy center was over capacity, resulting in long lead times for appointments. Once at the clinic, patients also complained of long times. On average, it took 10 hours from intake to discharge.

Challenge: Management wanted to increase capacity and reduce wait times.

Project: Using Lean and Six Sigma principles, the team first documented the entire intake to discharge process and then did a time and motion study. We reviewed data to determine patient process time by procedure; colonoscopy, bronchoscopy, gastroscopy, fluoroscopy, etc. Space utilization, floor and equipment layouts, and patient flow were also analyzed.

On average, the prep and procedure time took 1 hour. However, patients waited an average of 4 hours throughout the entire process, and spent 5 hours in recovery.

The team brainstormed ideas and proposed a three step solution consisting of 1) layout change, 2) formal scheduling procedure, and 3) workplace organization (5S) and visual metrics to track key indicators.

The team implemented these ideas over the next 4 weeks. The results at the end of 4 weeks were: 20% capacity increase from 14 to 17 patients a day, wait time reduced from 4 to 2 hours, and recovery time reduced from 5 hours to 4 hours.