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A lot of Kaizen opportunities for Lean Sigma in Business
Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black belt.
I talked a lot about Lean Sigma and Project Management up to now in my videos. Other backbones of my work are Excel and VBA. Everyone knows Excel, right?
What surprised me when I joined my current company was that, even though it’s a large company, many operations were very much dependent on Excel.
When a company grows, its operations become diversified and it is impossible to cover all the operations with just the company’s core IT system.
Therefore, it’s usual that on the front line, each individual is doing a lot of work with Excel, so there are a lot of kaizen opportunities for Lean Sigma here.
What’s VBA, which is a very advanced usage in Excel?
The problem is that, since Excel is a very complex software, there are huge gaps in Excel utilization among the front line employees. Many times some tasks that would take 4 hours if done manually, can be done within 10 minutes by using Excel functions.
You can also use VBA for periodically repeating tasks. If you make a program using VBA, you can finish the work just by clicking one button.
VBA is a computer language developed by Microsoft that is relatively easy to learn, and very compatible with their products such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint.
Great Synergy Effect of Lean Six Sigma and Excel/Excel VBA
With the Lean Sigma method, we find and collect the best practices of operations, improve the process flow, and do data analysis using statistics methods.
In the current business world, you can put most of the data onto Excel spreadsheets. By using Excel functions and VBA, you can develop a simple operation system for the target process and achieve dramatic improvement.
Doing this, you can make progress with your company’s standardization and expect high productivity from even newly appointed people. Moreover, you can maintain the same productivity even when your personnel changes.
If Lean Sigma experts are at the front end and they can conduct everything from process analyses to simple system developments, those projects will be completed in one or two months.
I call that kind of person a “Front-end System Engineer”. If you pursue becoming a process improvement professional, please obtain those skill sets.
The three stages of mastering Excel skills
I’m going to produce videos about Excel topics from now on. Since Excel has a wide range of contents, it will be very helpful if you give me video requests. Please write your request or question about Excel in the comment section below.
Also, I would like to describe the three stages of mastering Excel skills. Let’s call the first level, “Green Belt”. This is the level where you can create a table on the worksheet, use simple Excel functions such as mathematical calculations and SUM functions.
The next is “Black Belt”. This is the level where you can utilize other Excel functions well. Let me ask you, are you using the VLOOKUP Function? If you are using it, you’re probably a Black Belt.
The last one is “Master Black Belt”. It is the level in which you should be able to use VBA. Which level are you at – either “Green Belt”, “Black Belt” or “Master Black Belt”? Can you answer this one too, in the comment section below? I’ll refer to it for my future videos.
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