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What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of lean? If you're like most people, the likely phrase is "cost cutting." That's partly because lean and its quality-obsessed counterpart, Six Sigma, have helped many organizations, especially manufacturers, trim the fat from processes and reduce scrap and rework. Lower costs are the natural result.
But don't make the mistake of viewing lean-Sigma as something to be invoked only when cost cutting takes center stage. Far from it. Done properly, lean-Sigma can--and should--serve as the engine to drive growth in your organization. "It is a misconception that lean is a program to reduce cost," says Terence T. Burton, president of the Center for Excellence in Operations Inc., a consulting firm. "It is true you can use lean to reduce costs, but there is a tremendous growth opportunity as well."
At the simplest level, cutting costs by "leaning out" your processes frees up cash that you can then use for growth.
Source: Managing Automation, http://www.managingautomation.com
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