Sample Paper on How Apple Benefited Implementing Lean Six Sigma

How Apple Benefitted Implementing Lean Six Sigma


In 2008, the CEO of Apple Company, Steve Jobs made an important statement concerning the company’s product design and production processes. Steve Jobs noted that the major reason why Apple has always remained stable in its operation is because of the company’s ability to design high quality products at relatively lower costs. While most companies believe that producing high quality goods means high cost of production, Steve Jobs pegged his statement on a different opinion (Lunau, Stephan and Alexander 12). Steve Jobs believed that if things are done the right way, improving the quality of products could help the company reduce the cost of production. Therefore, the need to reduce the cost of production by releasing quality outputs and offering efficient services is the main reason why Apple’s management focuses on product design and improved production process (Lunau, Stephan and Alexander 12).

With the changing business environments and rising competition within the computer industry, producing companies today shift their attentions to fulfilling the needs of customers. Applying Lean management in a production system would mean focusing on more value creation for the customer by mainly eliminating or disregarding those activities the company considers wastage (Lunau, Stephan and Alexander 15). As much as companies use different production strategies to improve their performance and relationships with customers, the premises upon which Lean Six Sigma is applied within an organization remain a defining concept. In general, companies that apply the elements of Lean Six Sigma in their production processes have emerged to be highly competitive through a facilitated process speed, reduced cycle time, becoming more efficient and reducing the cost of production (Lunau, Stephan and Alexander 117). This study focuses on Lean Six Sigma and how its application in a company’s production process helps in improving industrial performance. Apple Company, its management and production strategies act as a perfect example based on the views presented in Job’s statement.

Lean Six Sigma and its application in Apple Company

As already stated, Lean Six Sigma is one of the concepts applied to improve efficiency and effectiveness in a production system (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 21). Within the frameworks of Lean Six Sigma, Apple Company works towards eliminating those activities or processes that consume resources, adds the costs or time of production with no value created at the end of the process (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 21). Through the concepts of Lean Six Sigma, managers within the company are able to understand that any unnecessary complexity in the company’s operations is likely to add the costs and time of production while at the same time opening routes for wastage.

In order to improve on the company’s operations, the first area organization managers give attention is the system-level enhancement (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 23). This is because improving the system level work puts the company at a better position of improving the bottom line results without spending much on wasteful production plans. As the case stands, Apple Company also focusses on other four important elements of Lean Six Sigma. The four elements of Lean Six Sigma as applied by Apple Company include focusing on process velocity (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 20), providing efficient tools that can be used to analyze process flows and any delay at every stage of production, paying much attention to the separation of value-added from non-value added work as well as providing a means for quantifying the average cost of production and eliminating costs complexities (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 26). With these two concepts, Apple Company has been able to merge quality with speed as the only way of improving industrial performances. Important to note is the fact that the Company uses Lean management to improve the speed of production while reducing cost complexities and Sigma Six to improve product and service quality.

The benefits of Applying Lean Six Sigma

Efficiency, effectiveness and controlled production processes are key factors towards ensuring success in any business operation. A company that aims at maximizing its profits and remaining stable throughout its business operations must consider regulating the costs and time spent in production while ensuring that the various products delivered into the market get a higher market reception (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 29). On the side of cost reduction, Lean Six Sigma focuses on mass production of identical items and provision of similar services. Apple’s new production strategy and the inclusion of Lean Six Sigma into the company’s processes have allowed the company to produce variety of products using a particular resource. As the company struggles to keep the quality of its products match the interests of customers, the need to control the various programs running concurrent to the major operations and also to help the company solve any problem that would arise in the course of production (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 29). This means that organizations must always give a firsthand approach to the rising business problems while paying attention to the best ways of achieving longer growth.

While the role of managers in the company’s operations still remains outstanding, employees take a central role in ensuring growth through good performance. The ability to work together as a team within the organizations helps in developing and applying precise solutions to particular problems in the production systems (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 31). The Lean Six Sigma concepts as applied in Apple Company established opportunities for employee’s training, testing and task assignment based on merits and relevant skills. For example, the teamwork in Apple Company is the driving force for every production process. Employees in Apple Company understand that through training and testing, employees’ recognition and ranking arises based on skills and knowledge (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 33). Member of every team must however remain innovative and ready to create contribute into the company’s innovation plans. Through this notion, Apple Company uses Lean Six Sigma to engage the whole company in creating a culture that enhances individual recognition for learning and continuous improvements (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 31). The company therefore builds the knowledge and skills of its workers, making workers to participate in identifying and solving problems that may arise in the course of production.

Otherwise stated, Apple Company has always remained cautious, analytical, observational and rational in its production approaches. Through the methodological concepts of DMAIC, workers in the company are always determined to improve the company’s operations and ensure dominance through quality and improved service delivery (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 34). Apple Company being an innovative center does not advocate for front-loading methods of decision making since this is considered traditional and inconsistent with the company’s innovation programs. However, the company bases its innovative programs on good observations, knowledge creation and prompt implementation strategies. Lead Sigma Six as a strategy of production allows employees in the company to develop observational methods of decision making for continuous tweaking of organizational operations and improved results (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 45). Employees are therefore able to address important issues that require close attention and prompt solution, and this is the main reason why Apple maintains Lean Six Sigma as its best approach towards organizational improvements.

Lean Six Sigma also determines the way companies manage their employees as well as the relationships between managers, workers and other groups of stakeholders. With a proper system of management in place that responds to the core areas of operations, the possibility of creating a more conducive and encouraging environment becomes very high. Employees’ performance becomes higher when they have a peaceful mind, their positions respected and the tasks assigned to them uphold business ethics. The Lean Six Sigma compels managers to apply workable policies and production strategies that are favorable to all workers (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 45). A manger is restricted to apply organizational rules, and this means that no particular person can adjust a rule for the purposes of intimidating of settling personal issues with another employee. The production system created by the company in this case is only controlled by major goals and every employee must contribute positively without being forced.

In most cases, organization managers tend to neglect the importance of putting in place proper operational strategies and other related production management approaches (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 46). The decision by managers to include management approaches such as Lean Six Sigma is regulated by the views on the costs of production and how best the company can create value for the various products released for sale in different markets. Opposed to the views presented by major producing companies, Apple Company applies Lean Six Sigma concepts to create a base for innovation opportunities in order to create a positive impact on the every production process and the entire business operations (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 49). One important thing to note is the rate at which Global business operations are changing, and the best strategies Apple can use to make its products and services keep in pace with changes in business environments. The need to fulfill the demands of customers across global markets is fundamentally regulated by the organizational production mindset, the type of challenges the company faces in its production systems and the desire to incorporate important innovations as a way of revolutionizing the entire industrial operations (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 47). With Apple Company in mind, instances of improved industrial performance through increased sales, enhanced growth and stable operations point to proper application of Lean Six Sigma.

Apple Company has realized stability in its operations since Steve Jobs took office in 1997, and this is mainly because the CEO was able to study the business climate, merge the interests of customer and resource suppliers to the major goals of the company. At every stage of production, Apple Company maintains its product quality, charge considerable prices for its products and also make instant delivery for both product and services (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 49). At the same time the company understands that suppliers play vital roles in every production process. The purchase period and the rate at which the company converts its raw materials into final products equally have impacts on the company’s progress. This means that the company must keep in touch with its suppliers of raw materials and ensure good work relationship between operators and specific suppliers (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 52).

For the discussions above, it becomes clear that a company whose operations retail around the elements of Lean Six Sigma have a better placement within the market. This is because efficiency and effectiveness in production not only determine on the part of suppliers but also improves consumption level among customers (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 50). It is therefore important to understand the work relationships between industrial policy makers and respective companies since every process designed by the company can work towards improving the overall performance or could derail significant operations in the company. Production, supply and maintenance of good reputation through quality production are elliptical towards profit generation.

Amidst the challenges businesses face in their quest to improve profits, delayed production and late delivery of goods and services impedes progress. It is a common fact that consumers are sensitive to product quality, effective packaging, timely delivery and product process (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 53). The first step towards improving business operations is by ensuring that all the products and services the company delivers in different market segments present the quality customers desire. customers’ tastes for quality products is considered higher and rises with the amount of money they are willing to spend in every product or service(George, Michael, Dave and Bill 54).

It is highly unethical for a company to charge higher prices for goods or services with lower quality and forcing consumers to believe that the products are of higher quality (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 55). While a company can control its production and supplies, consumers have control over the amount of money spent on such products and services. Therefore, companies must always give a higher rating for their product quality, which can only be achieved through proper production management (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 57). Apart from quality output, manufacturing companies must understand that consumers’ tastes changes with time and any delay in delivery may have negative impacts on the company’s level of sales (George, Michael, Dave and Bill 59). Giving a higher response through product and service delivery is the only sure way a company can remain competitive in a market full of producing firms.


Some important factors affecting companies’ performance include globalization and technological changes. Companies struggle each day to make their activities meet global standards so that they can always remain competitive (Lunau, Stephan and Alexander 22). Globalization as a factor in this case opens varying opportunities that every company can explore in order to improve the level of operations. With such opportunities, the consumers’ demands are also shifting and becoming even higher than before, meaning that every company must pay close attention to those strategies that can best improve their performances in various markets (Lunau, Stephan and Alexander 21).

Apart from the elements of globalization, companies’ operations must respond to the changes in technology. Companies must consider putting in place production plans that best suit their current technologies in order to eliminate anomalies in the production system. Lean Six Sigma is a concept that opens the mind of an organization manager to a range of issues and plans that can be used to give the entire production system a new face. Businesses have the desires to improve their profit margins and applying Lean Six Sigma in such circumstance remains an important decision (Lunau, Stephan and Alexander 25).

Works Cited

George, Michael L, Dave Rowlands, and Bill Kastle. The Lean Six Sigma Guide to Doing More with Less. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. Print.

Lunau, Stephan, and Alexander John. Six Sigma+lean Toolset: Executing Improvement Projects Successfully. Berlin: Springer, 2008. Print.