Lean Six Sigma

Continuous Improvement.

Jabil is committed to delivering the highest quality products, services, and supply chain management processes in the industry. The ongoing use of Lean and Six Sigma principles throughout the company has enabled Jabil to improve manufacturing efficiency; reduce variations, defects and costs; eliminate product development waste and non-value added activities; improve process value stream flow; and deliver customer products in the most effective way.

The goal of Jabil's Global Lean Six Sigma team is to create a workforce of problem solvers, where everyone is focused on continually driving improvements in quality, delivery and cost. Prioritizing Lean Six Sigma is a significant part of Jabil's culture within our plants and throughout all functional departments, including finance, business development, product development, supply chain management and others. To foster continuous improvement at Jabil, different levels of the organization undergo different certifications: Shop floor, Bronze, Silver, Champion, or Black Belt. The Shop floor certification is geared at all direct labor employees and provides foundational Lean knowledge. The Bronze certification is focused on providing general awareness of Lean Six Sigma principles, systems and tools for eliminating waste and is directed at indirect labor employees (supervisors, engineers, managers and directors). The Silver certification is geared at managers and develops leadership skills and an in-depth knowledge of Lean principles and tools. The Champion Certification is a one-day program aimed at senior leaders supplying them with knowledge to facilitate change management within the company. The Black Belt training is directed at management and develops in-depth knowledge of Six Sigma principles for reducing variation.

Deliver Best Practices

To further support the Lean Six Sigma implementation, Jabil holds an annual continuous improvement challenge called "Deliver Best Practices," to reward, recognize and share innovative process improvements throughout the company. The competition covers four categories: Customer Satisfaction, Employee Development, Operational Excellence and Social & Environmental Responsibility.

In 2009, the inaugural year of the competition, Jabil employees from 39 different sites submitted 282 projects. This year, 952 teams from 60 sites competed in the competition demonstrating their commitment to Lean Six Sigma. Since 2010, all teams have been following the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC) or the Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify (DMADV) methodology to execute and present their improvement projects, reinforcing a standard scientific approach to continuous improvement at Jabil. In October 2012, a Jabil-developed platform for managing, tracking, and sharing all Lean Six Sigma projects as well as automating the competition submission and judging process was launched to foster replication and collaborative innovation at Jabil.


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Operational Excellence

The increasingly complex world of customs, duty and value-added taxes provided an opportunity for a cross-functional team in Jabil Shanghai. Mapping the original inbound customs process, the team found both repetitive and manual steps, which could be eliminated and enhanced for better compliance with the customs system data. They created a tailored customs portal to link all relevant software, which reduced cross-functional repetition and manual errors. The system automatically updates the bill of materials and converts data into the required customs format. Engineering change notices improved dramatically; data errors were reduced; and inspection rates fell to nearly zero.It also improved inbound lead - time by two days and eliminated numerous fees and other costs. External recognition was the icing on the cake: the Shanghai government recognized Jabil’s efforts and awarded the site with a five - star category award and first place in Shanghai Customs Excellence Quality award.
Jabil employees know controlling costs is imperative, so when a Materials Technology team from Tianjin received a significant demand increase their first step was to analyze operations and identify five manual steps that were the most costly, least efficient and involved significant rework. Then the Tianjin team moved to a semi-automatic process that reduced both costs and the defect rate. They also implemented a fully automatic assembly that improved the quality even further and reduced the number of manufacturing lines required. This project team has already begun to share their successful experience with other Materials Technology sites including Tianjin, Suzhou, Wuxi and Shenzhen.
Proactively differentiating their capabilities and a commitment to continuous improvement constantly fuels the operations team at Jabil Chihuahua, so when they needed to increase output while maintaining a high customer satisfaction rate, they were ready for the challenge. The team utilized value stream mapping to detect inefficient process flow areas on the production floor. Sixteen Kaizen projects were identified and resolved by implementing a new production floor layout design. The projects resulted in improved efficiency rate per hour; scrap reduction; and improved the on-time delivery metrics nearing 100 percent. The Kaizen projects resulted in manufacturing cost savings, utilized less manufacturing floor space and improved waste and production floor efficiency. A satisfied customer, improved production efficiency and financial savings made this project a three-way win.

Customer Satisfaction

St. Petersburg’s Advanced Planning Team faced a daunting challenge of non-routine product demand and an extremely high on-time delivery standard. The team developed a Demand Management Tool to implement a process that predicts nonroutine product demand. As part of the process both Jabil and the customer’s supply chain management team were required to update a daily, weekly and monthly process map outlining product demand intended for employees to reference. To ensure sustainability, they transferred the process map to the easily accessible online Demand Management Tool and conducted training. Following the process upgrades, on-time delivery levels increased dramatically and consistently. In the spirit of continuous improvement, the team is already implementing this demand alignment process with other customers and they are realizing impactful results.
Decreasing prices are good for consumers, but a challenge for businesses. As the price of new products continues to drop, the need for repairing existing models decreases. Rather than sit by and wait, a Jabil Szombathely team decided to jump into action. While reducing repair costs, the team also pledged to sustain quality, employment and program profitability. The team organized Kaizen events to determine all possible wastes in the repair process. They redesigned workstations to ensure safety, ergonomics, efficiency and quality. They combined five workstations into three, integrating quality and packaging, which reduced cycle time. By modifying test scripts, processes and setting up dual benches, non-value added steps were removed from the test process. Through redesigning the repair line, the team was also able to streamline the layout of the floor. The project’s overall efficiency improved, customer satisfaction increased and environmental impact was lessened.
A competitive group of employees in Suzhou jumped at the opportunity to build a screen frame for a notebook computer. This was their chance to take business from a competitor who was unable to meet the complex product specifications. They identified several problems, including parts which were sticking to the molding causing serious deformation, white marks and uneven coloring due to the consistency of the material. After brainstorming each of the challenges, the ingenious team remedied all of the problems identified in the production process. The Suzhou Tooling team quickly impressed their customer by solving issues that a competitor couldn’t. They shortened overall cycle time using automation and won valuable new business from a competitor.

Human Development

Jabil Venray sought to improve training to increase the flexibility of their workforce and improve overall labor efficiency, while maintaining quality levels. Analyzing their current training process, they found it lacked dedicated trainers and standardized materials; there was no cross-functional training; and development opportunities weren’t clear. Based on their findings, the team separated manufacturing jobs into categories that reflected the required level of training needed and the ability to be cross-trained. To address career development, high performers were identified in all groups, allowing them to move up to the next highest job group. The team improved initial in-classroom training of key skills that affect all jobs, such as electrostatic discharge, safety/health and quality. This reduced the need for on-the-job training, increased the overall labor efficiency and reduced defective parts per million. The project also yielded a secondary benefit by freeing up 4,000 square meters of production space that can be used to attract new customers.
Operator certification ensures Jabil delivers on the promise of providing the highest quality service to its customers. A team in Penang set out to improve the certification and re-certification processes of their plant operators to ensure efficiency and accuracy. To improve the process, the team implemented two programs: an automated certification compliance system; and a work flow process that ensures all visual aids are opened and read before operations can begin. They named their programs Oscar & Avata: Online System Certification And Recertification & Automatic Visual Aid Triggering Acknowledgment. The customized online certification system is paperless and verifies, auto reminds or denies access to operators with expired certifications until re-certification is complete. One of Jabil Penang’s largest customers called the program an “outstanding initiative.” And, with five months of 100 percent certification compliance, the programs are going strong and can easily be duplicated.

Social & Environmental Responsibility

While Jabil employees across the globe are proactively implementing recycling and waste reduction initiatives, a team in Szombathely took a different approach to environmental responsibility with their initiative to reduce waste and create a lucrative revenue stream. The team identified untapped markets and new partners for the resale and recovery of assets, such as motherboards, hard disk drives and liquid crystal display panels. Their efforts helped current customers meet environmental responsibility goals and asset recovery requirements, and were perfectly aligned with Jabil’s global initiative to optimize and standardize these activities. The project reduced Jabil Szombathely’s landfill and incinerator usage by 80 percent, reduced waste by 30 metric tons and generated $1 million in revenue via re-sales and recovery during fiscal year 2012. We intend to replicate the project at other Jabil sites worldwide.
Raw copper is a naturally occurring but increasingly expensive metal used extensively in the electrode manufacturing process. Knowing that copper is instrumental in computer numerical control and electric discharge machines, a team in Taichung devised a novel process to reduce waste in the manufacturing process and save money in the process. The team’s process collects properly sized scrap copper from the electrode manufacturing process, then mills, tracks and stores the material for reuse. To track scraps throughout the process, they designed a self-directed control system through SAP that provides accurate inventory management. As a result of these efforts, the Taichung site reduced its average copper usage by 251 tons over an eight-month period. Further, the team surpassed its goal by reducing copper waste and creating an average yearly savings of more than a half of a million dollars.
Jabil Shanghai’s management staff and Human Resources team noticed that many employees wanted to get involved in community volunteer activities, but didn’t know where to start, so they established a Volunteer Center. The center has enabled thousands of employees to participate in a variety of activities, benefiting numerous causes. To increase awareness internally, an onsite TV station was established with three different channels: Company News; Sports and Entertainment. All of the journalists, cameramen, hosts and producers are Jabil employees from the Volunteer Center. Since the launch of the Volunteer Center, employee events have increased significantly while turnover has decreased. Benefits from the Volunteer Center for Jabil Shanghai include a sense of belonging for employees, increased social reputation and an opportunity for employees to “Make a Difference.”

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