Do you find that your organiza- tion continually is looking for additional resources to com- plete required tasks? Is it ruly a resource issue, or are you wasting valuable time
and human resources doing non-value-added work for your members? The staff
at NACE International, a Houston-based
international technical society for corrosion professionals, faced these same
questions and decided to use the Lean
Sigma approach to find new ways to
reduce waste in their processes while
improving customer satisfaction.
What is Lean Sigma?
Lean Sigma is a philosophy focused on
helping businesses improve processes
and streamline operations by employing team-based methods to identify and
eliminate waste and non-value-added
activities, and, as a result, deliver high-quality products or services to the customer in a timely manner.
NACE implemented this transforma-
tion with a clear set of goals in mind.
The goals for the implementation of the
Lean Sigma program included:
• Optimize workflow by eliminating
redundancies, unnecessary steps and
• Reduce employee stress caused by
• Produce a future state for sustainable and manageable growth.
NACE Case Study
NACE used a disciplined transformation
approach to identify opportunities in
its processes. Following a planning ses-
sion with the executive leadership team
where Lean Sigma concepts were intro-
duced, an initial project was selected.
A team of individuals familiar with
the selected process, along with both
internal suppliers and customers, were
identified to complete a value stream
analysis of NACE International’s proce-
dures for setting up conferences. The
three-day value stream analysis resulted
in a “rapid improvement plan” that
identified opportunities for elimination
by implementing Lean Sigma concepts
in other areas of the organization, specifically the education and first service
departments. The existing manual process for adding a new course was analyzed, including steps such as checking
and creating contacts, registering
students and applying complimentary
memberships. The existing procedures
required four hours per course. After
identifying the waste in this process
using Lean Sigma techniques and making the changes identified in the lean
event, the current process now takes
1. 5 hours per course. This resulted in
significant annual savings, transforming
the original manual process of 1,700
hours to 637 hours in the new system.
The identified savings is a testimony
to the hard work and dedication of the
education and first service department
How did they effectively use these
recovered operational hours to reduce
cost, increase revenue and improve cus-