In my role as a Production Supervisor at the cosmetic retailer, Estee Lauder, I had the opportunity to get my Green Belt certification in Lean Six Sigma methodology. For those unfamiliar, lean six sigma essentially encompasses improving a particular process by reducing resources involved in the process and variations. In terms of producing makeup cosmetics, that means producing the same results repeatedly with minimal resources and labor.
This methodology closely follows the DMAIC Process of Problem Solving:
Define- Clearly define your Problem/ Objective.
Measure- Decide which KPI’s or measures of success for the Project.
Analyze- Analyze those KPIs/Metrics and Identify the Root Cause of the Problem.
Improve- Implement actions to Countermeasure/ Remedy the Problem.
Control- Sustain your Improvement.
At my manufacturing facility, one of our automated lines was underperforming on producing one of our hero products at Estee Lauder- The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum Duo. The line was not running efficiently and our incoming material was getting damaged in the process due to workers needing to cut open plastic wrap off the components from our NY facility. This led to quality defects with the finished goods and raised a safety concern for our workers.
While in the Define phase of our project, we were able to create a swim lane process map to map out the process of creating our finished products at our facility and follow the flow of the product from when it’s received at our facility as a component to when it leaves as a finished product to our distribution center. The Swim Lane Process Map was effective in displaying all those involved in the process and help us identify where we experienced bottlenecks or inefficiencies.
As a result, we were able to pinpoint and identify what part of our process was most inefficient -unwrapping the products and providing them onto the assembly line. Moving forward, we were able to further identify the root cause of our process and eventually came to the conclusion that we needed to work with our NY facility to alter their process and change how they send their components to our facility without plastic wrap.
By mapping out the process, my team was able to save lots of time and resources throughout the project by quickly identifying the problem area with the Swim Lane Process Map and further identifying the root cause with techniques like the “5 Whys” and Non-Value Analysis.
If you want to learn more about my project, feel free to reach out or comment below.