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Little's law forms a part of queuing theory and has deep implications for the 'Improve' aspect of DMAIC within Lean Six Sigma. It calculates the average wait for a customer or item within a transactionary process.
So what exactly is Little's law, how does it impact upon Six Sigma and why is it so useful and important?
In no small part due to Jack Welch, ex-CEO of General Electric, Six Sigma is now considered a staple of good business practice with over half of all Fortune 500 companies employing the methodology
This was not always the case.
Although developed and used in manufacturing by firms like Motorola in the 1980s, it took for Jack Welch and General Electric’s adoption of the principles to really spark US and global interest in Six Sigma.
For that reason, Jack Welch has played a pivotal role in its development and building reputation.
So why exactly did his use of Six Sigma make all the difference?
On our range of Six Sigma Training Courses, you’ll learn about the modern day uses and how it can benefit your business.
More and more employers are beginning to recognise the importance of having Lean Six Sigma professionals within their organisation, so there's never been a better time to come on one of our Six Sigma Courses.
According to the Globe and Mail in Canada, there's been an increase in demand for Lean Six Sigma Practitioners across all sectors and this is a pattern that's mirrored in the UK.
So let's take a look at why Lean Six Sigma is currently in such high demand and in what industries in particular.
Could Lean Six Sigma be used to create the perfect sportsman/woman?
This is a topic of much debate across forums, blogs, books and in lecture halls around the world.
Lean Six Sigma has had unprecedented success in reducing waste and improving quality, not only in the manufacturing industry in which it originated, but in other branches of business from Advertising to HR, which is why we don't only focus on its manufacturing roots on our Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training.
Six Sigma Tennis
After recovering from a traumatic brain injury, former Tennis professional Steven Falk wrote "Six Sigma Tennis" in which he outlined his methodology for using Six Sigma to improve the coaching and training of players to the point where they reach their maximum potential ability (or at least 99.7% of it!).
Using the DMAIC method he argues that a coach or player themselves can pinpoint weaknesses and improve on them.
So let's take tennis as the example as Falk does: imagine a player who is of the highest quality but still loses about 40% of points when returning a serve. Using DMAIC you can pinpoint exactly where the deficiency is.
Let's imagine that they win 80% of points when using the forehand shot; this must mean they only win 40% of points when using a backhand. This is clearly the weakness and so can be identified as the shot that needs most work and training.
Everyone hates queueing. It annoys customers and business-owners alike; so much so in fact that queue management is considered a significant part of business theory as it can have a huge impact on the service that a customer receives.
If it's done well, it becomes a barely noticeable aspect of the experience. Done wrong, and it can lead to excessive waiting times that will distress and irritate the customer.
Using the DMAIC method from Six Sigma, it's possible to reduce waiting times in queues for everywhere from supermarkets to airports. This will lead to a better service overall and that means happy customers.
Six Sigma is used in a wide variety of businesses and settings to increase efficiency and quality. From factories to governments, its primary use is to make processes better. On our Six Sigma Green Belt Training Course you'll learn all the basics of how to apply Six Sigma to your business needs.
So firstly, it's important to define what the exact issue is with the queueing system. Is it that the waiting time is consistently so long that customers are actually leaving before reaching the front? Is it that there are certain 'peak' times when staff can't handle the volume of customers?
Knowing exactly what the problem is allows for more targeted, and therefore successful, addressing of the issue.
According to queue management theory, there are three aspects of queueing which could be causing an issue:
- Arrival Process
- Service Mechanism
- Queue Characteristics
How is it that customers are coming to be in the queue? Do they arrive in droves? One-by-one? Is there a primary queue and a secondary queue (like at a club for example; one queue to get in, another to pay)?
Is there some kind of bottleneck in the arrival process that means too many customers enter the queue at once? Answering these questions allows you to pinpoint the problem if it's in the arrival process.