All work is a process and Six Sigma focuses on improving processes, you can apply the principles to any industry. The tools used will vary depending on your position, but wherever there’s a process, there’s an opportunity to improve with Lean Six Sigma tools. This applies even if you are more on the creative end of engineering.
When I first started learning about Lean Six Sigma concepts, I worked in Public Relations, a very creativity driven profession. No two days, or even projects, were ever the same. And, campaigns, news releases, and brochures rarely every repeated themselves. At first, I questioned the applicability of process improvement to my job. But on closer inspection, it was full of repeatable processes that would benefit from process improvement approaches. For instance, how did we get a news release approved? How did we prepare for a news conference? How did we gather information for a flyer or brochure? What was the proofreading process?
The designing, testing, and developing side of electrical engineering might be considered more creative and less repeatable. However, there must still be best practices and approaches that produce consistent results. For example, when developing, is there a repeatable approach to gathering customer requirements? In testing, what are the processes to ensure reliable and valid results so it is done right the first time?
If you’re working on the manufacturing side of electrical engineering, the application is clearly around the processes to build reliable equipment with as little variation and waste as possible. Are those processes clearly understood by all involved and do they reliably produce equipment that meets customer requirements?
If there’s a process, there’s an opportunity for Lean Six Sigma.