Towards An Integration Of The Lean Enterprise System, Total Quality Management, Six Sigma And Related Enterprise Process Improvement Methods
The lean enterprise system, total quality management, six sigma, theory of constraints, agile manufacturing, and business process reengineering have been introduced as universally applicable best methods to improve the performance of enterprise operations through continuous process improvement and systemic planned enterprise change. Generally speaking, they represent practice-based, rather than theory-grounded, methods with common roots in manufacturing. Most of the literature on them is descriptive and prescriptive, aimed largely at a practitioner audience. Despite certain differences among them, they potentially complement each other in important ways. The lean enterprise system, total quality management and six sigma, in particular, are tightly interconnected as highly complementary approaches and can be brought together to define a first-approximation “core” integrated management system, with the lean enterprise system serving as the central organizing framework. Specific elements of the other approaches can be selectively incorporated into the “core” enterprise system to enrich its effectiveness. Concrete theoretical and computational developments in the future through an interdisciplinary research agenda centered on the design and development of networked enterprises as complex adaptive socio-technical systems, as well as the creation of a readily accessible observatory of evidence-based management practices, would represent important steps forward.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2010-05