Designed and assembled in the manufacturing space, the Lean Sigma approach to business can leave a service provider (like commercial cleaning services) feeling like a foreign exchange student within their own country. If you are hoping for an “out-of-box”, WYSYWIG type implementation for janitorial services, please read the packaging-label warning, “TRANSLATION REQUIRED!”
However, I have also witnessed the power and the excitement of Lean Sigma with proper translation. I have seen the “Ah-ha moment” when people really get it. I have seen meaningful projects completed. Those moments are the motivation for this and future posts.
For this post, I will use the DMAIC structured approach to problem solving as my guide for translating Lean into the commercial cleaning world. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. I will structure my Lean Sigma Janitorial posts so that the translation in janitorial service follows the DMAIC process below.
|Project Selection Tools||Operational Definitions||Pareto Charts||Brainstroming||Control Charts|
|PIP Management Processs||Data Collection Plan||C&E Matrix||Benchmarking||SOPs|
|Value Stream Map||Pareto Chart||Fishbone Diagrams||TPM||Training Plan|
|Financial Analysis||Histogram||Brainstroming||5S||Communication Plan|
|Project Charter||Box Plot||Detailed “As-Is” Process Maps||Line Balancing||Implementation Plan|
|Multi-Generational Plan||Statistical Sampling||Basic Statistical Tools||Process Flow Improvement||Visual Process Control|
|Stakeholder Analysis||Measurement System Analysis||Constraint Identification||Replenishment Pull||Mistake-Proofing|
|Communication Plan||Control Charts||Time Trap Analysis||Sales & Operations Planning||Process Control Plans|
|SIPOC Map||Process Cycle Efficiency||Non-Value Added Analysis||Setup Reduction||Project Commissioning|
|High-Level Process Map||Process Sizing||Hypothesis Testing||Generic Pull||Project Replication|
|Non-Value-Added Analysis||Process Capability Cp & Cpk||Confidence Intervals||Kaizen||Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle|
|VOC and Kano Analysis||FMEA||Poka-Yoke|
|QFD||Simple & Multiple Regression||FMEA|
|RACI and Quad Charts||ANOVA||Hypothesis Testing|
|Queuing Theory||Solution Selection Matrix|
|Analytical Batch Sizing||“To-Be” Process Maps|
|Piloting and Simulation|
I am going to take a “Lean” approach to start this series of posts (pun intended). Let’s start with the basic definitions.
|Manufacturing Application||A structured continuous improvement approach to identifying and eliminating waste (non-value added activities) and flowing the product only when the customer needs it (called “pull”).||Both statistical term and a management philosophy. Identify and reduce “Variation” in the manufacturing process driving towards zero defects|
|Janitorial Services Application||A structured continuous improvement approach to identifying and eliminating waste (non-value added activities) in managing, supervising, hiring, training, purchasing, routing, and executing cleaning tasks.||Identify and reduce “Variation” in managing, supervising, hiring, training, purchasing, routing, and executing cleaning tasks.|
You will notice from the definitions above that the two methodologies are very different in their objectives. Lean focuses on “Waste” or non-value added cost. Sigma focuses on variation or quality. Yet both support each other and that is why you will see them joined together in the term “Lean Sigma.”
Lean is probably the easier methodology to apply to janitorial. Lean is often called the “poor man’s problem solving tools”. This is because many Lean practices are common sense. That’s why you might find yourself saying, “Hey, I do that already”. If you have a creative operational mind, you will most likely have already put some Lean practices into place.
Lean brings those practices into a single body or methodology increasing the likelihood that an organization achieves results. You will notice from my previous post about the Lean 8 wastes, that all janitorial processes have waste in them. The Lean methodology, therefore, works just as well for janitorial services as it does for manufacturing.
As for the Sigma part, manufacturing has attributes inherent to it that services like janitorial services do not have. For example, Sigma requires data to identify variance and analyze problems. In manufacturing, data is easier to get data due to machine automation and electronics. You can get a steady stream of data from the “voice of the process” through automated data. In a service like commercial cleaning services, data is much harder to come by. Until technology evolves (and becomes more ubiquitous), you have to use data that flows from the “voice of the customer”. For example, we use call data generated from customers calling in complaints or requests. The call volume gives us a steady stream of data about our services.
Be sure to comment on this and future posts to share your experience in converting Lean Sigma into service operations. Your experience will be different than mine and you may have insights that I do not.
In 2011, Marc's team won the large company category, "Best in the Industry" marketing materials from the Building Service Contractor Association International (BSCAI). Marc also directs Varsity's proposal writing, sales process and tools development, marketing campaigns, corporate website SEO performance and customer support center.
Marc has spent his career developing strategic capabilities that enhance value to customers and the company. A Lean Sigma Green belt himself, he developed the company's Lean Sigma offering, providing an innovative solution to customers' need to lower cost while raising quality. He led the development of JanOPS, an industry-leading janitorial operating system, which brings standardization and service consistency to large campus and geographically disperse national accounts.
Prior to this position, Marc was responsible for strategic management at Varsity. He has initiated or directed multiple strategic technology initiatives, ranging from a corporate website, a corporate intranet, a web/smartphone based quality control system, a learning management system, a corporate content manager and knowledge wiki, salesforce.com deployment and customization, and an Android app which facilitates the GROW sales process he has developed.
Marc is the author of several leadership and management training manuals, field guides, marketing collateral and case studies. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and holds a bachelor degree in English/Technical Writing and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Idaho State University. Marc enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and golf. He is happily married, and he and his wife Victoria enjoy raising and spending time with their four children.