Lean and Six Sigma Project Ideas

The following is a list of Lean and Six Sigma projects to consider, based on your industry or department. Actual project case studies are also available.

In general, consider process areas that come to mind when you think about these questions:

  • Take the longest to complete?
  • Have the most complaints?
  • Require the most employees to support?
  • Seem inconsistent month to month?
  • Have the most mistakes?
  • Have costly mistakes?
  • Seem the most hectic?
  • Have the highest risk (keep you up at night)?
  • Have legal risk or potential reputation damage?
  • Have “heroes saving the day” to meet deadlines?

Finance and Accounting

  • Reduce the cycle time to close the books
  • Improve the variation in forecast accuracy for sales or budgets
  • Reduce the time to generate recurring (weekly or monthly) reports
  • Reduce inventory levels while avoiding delivery risks
  • Improve processing timing or accuracy of payments to vendors/suppliers
  • Reduction of Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) 
  • Reduce payroll process cycle time or accuracy
  • Improve payment/collection processes
  • Reduce electronic financial transaction and processing costs
  • Reduce the cycle time of reconciliation
  • Reduce the procure to pay cycle
  • Standardize the accrual and deferral processess
  • Reduce time to process invoices
  • Reduce purchase order creation cycle time

Human Resources

  • Reduce the turn around time to hire an employee
  • Evaluate and improve gender pay equality
  • Reduce the time to process an insurance claim
  • Improve employee on-boarding and orientation processes
  • Reduce expenditures for recruiting firms
  • Improve hit-rate for successful hiring
  • Reduce Attrition
  • Improve timeliness and the value of employee performance reviews
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Improve new hire training efficiency
  • Improve employee satisfaction from survey results
  • Identify and correct retention issues

Sales

  • Improve cross-sell opportunities
  • Increase % of sales from new customers
  • Increase % of bids/proposals won
  • Reduce time required to enter sales orders
  • Reduce errors and rework associated with sales orders
  • Reduce customer credit worthiness cycle time
  • Reduce the number of “bad deals” that are processed
  • Improve the cycle time of the entire sales order to cash process
  • Increase repeat orders/customers
  • Increase customer experience ratings and survey results
  • Improve service sales (cellular service provider top-up system)

Shipping, Receiving, and Warehouse

  • Improve on-time delivery of products to customers
  • Reduce number of finished goods inventory without impacting deliveries (oil drilling fluids)
  • Reduce processing time from items received until available for production team
  • Reduce time to retrieve parts when requested or triggered
  • Setup pull system with factory
  • Improve on-time delivery of goods to our facility from vendors
  • Improve documentation accuracy
  • Reduce time to unload trucks and shipments
  • Improve inventory control/rotation
  • Improve and minimize inspection processes
  • Reduce floor space requirements for warehouse

Information Technology (IT)

  • Reduce network/server/application/website downtime
  • Improve process of logging-in to network from remote locations
  • Improve system reliability/uptime
  • Increase speed of webpage loading/processing
  • Standardize computer loads for configuration and support productivity improvement
  • Reduce number of software licenses based on usage
  • Improve project request turnaround
  • Improve quote accuracy for projects
  • Reduce time to respond to help desk requests
  • Reduce hardware inventory
  • Reduce number of security
  • Reduce risk of access to system from non-authorized employees

Product/Service Design

  • Reduce time required to design a product or service
  • Reduce errors in design or find them earlier in development
  • Reduce estimated production cycle times
  • Improve predictions of capability and risk of new products and services
  • Reduce testing and inspection time
  • Reduce software bugs in programming code
  • Reduce risk of errors and defects in new products and services

Call Center

  • Increase/decrease (depending on your business needs) average talk time
  • Reduce abandoned calls
  • Reduce time to answer and handle phone calls
  • Increase employee knowledge to reduce response time
  • Reduce number of times customer are put on hold
  • Reduce calls that are dropped
  • Reduce time to respond to issues and queries
  • Increase customer satisfaction scores (survey results)

Healthcare

  • Decrease occurrence or risk of adverse events
  • Decrease near miss incidents
  • Decrease patient falls or risk level
  • Reduce variation in surgical completion times
  • Increase patient compliance to taking medication
  • Reduce time in Emergency Department until first contact with nurse
  • Reduce medication errors
  • Reduce number of patient dosage changes
  • Reduce overtime staffing hours
  • Improve alignment of patient demand with staffing schedule

Manufacturing

  • Improve test yields
  • Reduce testing time based on sampling and defects
  • Reduce batch sizes
  • Standardize instructions for performing tasks
  • Reduce overtime %
  • Increase worker quality performance
  • Reduce time to complete key tasks
  • Increase capacity at process bottlenecks (steel hardware)
  • Reduce setup time during equipment changeover
  • Improve communication between shifts
  • Reduce lead time from work order start to finish (Aluminum Casting)
  • Reduce risk of supplier late deliveries or quality issues
  • Reduce time to respond to problems
  • Reduce variation in manufacturing processes (steel wire capability and cost reduction)

Sports

  • Evaluate and analyze best marketing approaches
  • Reduce fan complaints
  • Increase average sales per attendee
  • Reduce concession stand line times
  • Reduce time for fans to enter venue
  • Reduce time to park vehicles in parking lot
  • Reduce traffic delays leaving venue
  • Reduce waiting time for restrooms
  • Reduce risk of litigation with fans, staff and players

Nonprofits

Environment

  • Reduce electricity costs or carbon emissions
  • Reduce tonnage to the landfill
  • Increase recycling rates
  • Increase amount of compost
  • Reduce natural gas consumption
  • Reduce water consumption
  • Reduce amount of wasted food at events and meetings
  • Read more environmental case studies at LeanSixSigmaEnvironment.org

Contact us if you need help determining what project you could work on in your organization or department.

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