Reimagining The Possible

Reimagining Possible

By: Ronette Kersting


This week we celebrate the many ways engineers make a difference in our world! Founded by National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in 1951, Engineers Week (February 20–26, 2022) is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. The theme this year is “Reimagining the Possible.” Engineers are continuously doing this as innovators, inventors, and problem solvers. How can engineers utilize Lean Six Sigma to test new solutions, turn new ideas into reality, be curious and invite different perspectives?

Lean Six Sigma methodologies add customer value and improve processes by eliminating defects and raising the quality of a product while also streamlining production and eliminating wasted time, money, and resources. Lean Six Sigma also drives innovation. As improvement areas are identified, people innovate to develop new ideas for improvement. Six Sigma has two primary processes. The DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) process typically is used when improving existing processes. The DMEDI (define, measure, explore, develop, implement) process is used to create new processes.

Engineers generally work in complex operations involving many different processes, people, and projects. Utilizing DMAIC or DMEDI methodologies can prove useful. Here are some areas of engineering where Lean Six Sigma is useful:

  • Design Engineers – Usually working in the early stages of product development, design engineers look for issues in a product from the perspective of customer requirements.
  • Process Engineers – Similar to industrial engineers, they develop the optimal manufacturing process, searching for ways to improve processes and make them efficient.
  • Systems Engineers – They evaluate operations at all levels, looking not only at manufacturing efficiencies but also cost analysis and the allocation of resources to projects.

While Lean Six Sigma methodology might prove most applicable to certain engineering jobs, it also provides the skills and knowledge that can benefit those in leadership and management roles across all engineering professions. Some key areas where Lean Six Sigma can benefit an engineer include the following:

  • Customer Value – Creating more value for customers with fewer resources. A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. Ultimately, the goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste.
  • Reducing Inefficiencies – While typically associated with manufacturing, it can apply to any process requiring improved efficiency.
  • Problem-Solving – a hybrid of skills and tools that can be utilized for wide range of problem scope.
  • Career Enhancement – Having knowledge of Lean Six Sigma methodology, and success in applying it, can make an engineer a leader in both management and innovation. For engineers who want to move into management positions, these skills can lead to some of the top jobs in the profession and make you a leader in driving innovation and change.

For Engineers Week 2022, we shine a spotlight on all the engineers who conceptualize, design, and develop the products and solutions that help our world be a better place. They are innovators, inventors, problem solvers. They ask questions and test solutions. They are dedicated to continuous improvement.


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