Wal-Mart is a company that sells retail products and operates departmental stores. The company has established various strategies to promote sales and improve the welfare of the employees. However, the management has experienced a lot of challenges such as strikes and competition from other companies (Roberts & Berg, 2012). Therefore, to improve the competitiveness of the company’s products, the management should apply the lean and Six-Sigma programs. The lean management program aims at creating customer value through minimizing expenditure. On the other hand, Six-sigma is a process that aims at improving the quality of products and processes. The two processes are used to improve customer satisfaction. Therefore, it would be beneficial for the Wal-Mart company to merge lean and Six-Sigma programs.
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Lean Manufacturing is a process that targets to eliminate expenditure on any unnecessary resource in an organization. The creation of value is the main aim of lean manufacturing, and any production process that does not create value is not considered when calculating the expenditure. The value is considered as the process or any act that a client is willing to pay. Therefore, lean manufacturing aims at creating value for clients with less work. The ultimate goal of lean manufacturing is reducing waste during the production process (Meredith & Shafer, 2010).
On the other hand, the Six-sigma process that aims at achieving the highest quality possible. Defects are eliminated through accurate calculations. Variability from the perfect situations are avoided at a cost under the Six-sigma management. Experts and professionals are employed to manage the quality of an organization (Meredith & Shafer, 2010).
The benefits of combining the two tools of management are more than negative aspects of implementing the tools separately. Antagonists argue that the two methods are like tools that can be used to serve a certain purpose. Therefore, combining the two tools does not add value. Also, the past theorists argued that getting experts who can implement all the strategies was not possible. There were few experts in the two fields, and theorists viewed that integrating the two methodologies were impossible. Lastly, an integrated model for the two programs had not been established. This was a hindrance to the implementation of the integrated model (Ammons, 1999).
On the contrary, today, the combined model has improved the performance of businesses. Applying the two models separately is more disadvantageous that implementing the combination of the two models. The combined model has improved the competitiveness of companies in the modern market environment. The global competition grows daily, and organizations are under pressure to improve their performance. Managers face challenges such as increasing the volume of sales, reducing the cost of conducting business, reduction of inventory, predicting the future demand accurately and survive in the turbulent market environment, among other challenges. The application of lean and six-sigma can help solve these challenges. If the Wal-Mart company can merge Lean and six-sigma processes, the performance will be improved (Bateman & Snell, 2011).
Integrating the two programs improves the competitiveness of an organization. The lean processes are implemented to increase productivity, change the culture and clean up the processes. Therefore, implementing a lean program alone does not create quality assurance. This creates the need to have the six-sigma program to improve the quality aspect. Therefore, integration of the two processes improves the competitiveness of an organization because there is a 360 degrees growth. This aspect places an organization at a higher competitive position compared to other companies in the market (Bateman & Snell, 2011).
Applying the lean program will introduce the just-in-time system of managing inventory, and this will help to reduce wastes. On the other hand, the six-sigma will encourage the continuous improvement of the products. Therefore, combining the two processes will create a continuous improvement in the business. Most of the challenges facing Wal-Mart can be eliminated if both programs are applied.
The integration of the two programs will improve the innovativeness of the company. Lean and six-sigma create an environment where employees can develop value-added processes to minimize the costs of operating a business. Wal-Mart has developed strategies to attract as many customers as possible through programs such as the low-price strategy. This strategy can only be successful if lean processes and six-sigma modules are implemented (Roberts & Berg, 2012). The company will avoid the strikes that affected its operation by applying the integrated model. This can be achieved by improving the quality of human resource management aspects. Improving the welfare of the employees creates a higher level of satisfaction. The result of improving the satisfaction level of employees is that customers are satisfied because they get quality services (Roberts & Berg, 2012).
In conclusion, it would be beneficial for the Wal-Mart company to merge lean and Six-Sigma programs. However, some theorists argue that the integration of the two processes creates an extra burden to the management. The integration of the two processes requires a large number of experts and professionals. Despite the few bottlenecks which were experienced in the past, the integration of the two models has created a lot of benefits. The integration of the two models increases the performance and competitiveness of an organization. This indicates that the management of the Wal-Mart Company should consider integrating the two models.
Ammons, D. N. (1999). A proper mentality for benchmarking. Public Administration Review, 5(2), 105-109. (Business Source Complete Document ID: AN 1693560).
Bateman, T. S. & Snell, S. A. (2011). Management: Leading and collaborating in the competitive world (9th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Meredith, J. R. & Shafer, S. M. (2010). Operations management for MBAs, (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Roberts, B. R., & Berg, N. (2012). Walmart: Key insights and practical lessons from the world’s largest retailer. London: Kogan Page.