A lean six sigma framework for the reduction of ship loading commercial time in the iron ore pelletising industry

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Garza-Reyes, J. ; Al-Balushi, M. ; Antony, J. ; Kumar, V. (2016)

Evidence suggests that specifically designed frameworks to implement Lean Six Sigma (LSS) projects to tackle particular problems are more effective than “generic” versions. This paper proposes an implementation framework to effectively deploy LSS to improve a key operation and performance indicator, i.e. ship loading commercial time, of one of the largest world producer of iron ore. This article therefore contributes with a refined framework to effectively implement LSS, and documents its successful application and effectiveness within the context of the case organisation. The LSS framework and project contributed in helping the studied organisation to improve both the capability of its ship loading process and commercial time by more than 30 percent, resulting in operational savings in the range of $300,000 USD per year. The systematic nature of the framework proposed also helped the organisation to establish a standardise routine to improve its operations. Managerial implications exposing the challenges faced during the implementation of LSS are also discussed to serve as lessons learnt to be considered in other LSS projects. Managers and engineers in charge of improving operations and processes can benefit from this paper as it can be used as a guide to direct the conduction of LSS projects and the empirical application of its principles and tools.
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