Lean has established itself as the primordial approach to obtain operational excellence. Its simple and intuitive techniques focus on reducing lead time through continuous improvement, involving all levels of employees in the organization. However, the rate of successful implementations has remained low. This paper contributes to the understanding of continuous improvement in a Lean context, by analyzing a database of almost 10.000 improvement actions, from 85 companies, covering the time frame 2010–2018. It discusses categories of actions, their impact and cost, as well as key characteristics of the companies. It proposes an objective criterion to identify “success” and “failure” in Lean implementation and tries to link these to operational results. It is probably the ﬁrst time an analysis of this magnitude on the subject has been performed.
Six Sigma as the continuation of comprehensive quality management TQM is of interest to many enterprises. Unfortunately, not everybody successfully implements quality improvement projects using Six Sigma tools. This approach requires proper preparation in many areas of the company’s operation, including: organization of processes, establishing measures, employee engagement and creating conditions for continuous improvement. The goal of the article is to present on the case study the idea of using the organizational maturity model for production management to assess a readiness of organization to implement Six Sigma. The case study presents a company maturity level diagnosis and a successful project of quality and productivity improvement using the Six Sigma concept, confirming that the organization’s maturity model is the appropriate tool for assessing multi-faceted preparation for successful implementation of Six Sigma projects.