Expira Lean Six Sigma was founded by Hakan Sodersved in Kista, Stockholm 1st of Dec 1989, a former specialist at Ericsson Radio Systems – now Ericsson. Hakan had implemented DPMO-measurements for product quality in the manufacturing process of mobile telephone base stations during five years, participated in the very first LEAN pilot experiments, and supported the designers in systematic cost reduction by DFA2-DFA-DFM and the known principles of Little's Law and Moore's Law. Before that, in 1980-85, he was the technical manager and product manager of complex automotive control systems for the international heavy vehicle manufacturers. In this market the LEAN Thinking was growing rapidly.
The Six Sigma Program of Motorola was very little known here locally at that time. Some active statistician at the University of Orebro had some early documents of Dr Mikel Harry on Six Sigma in it's form at that time, before the Motorola Six Sigma Academy was founded.
The Six Sigma Programs got popular in the US during the 90:ies. The first version seen here was the T50 program at ABB, starting in the Summer of 1990, aiming at reducing customer order lead-times by 50%. I was giving SPC Training at an ABB Electronics plant in Spring 1990. They reported very good results by SPC, understandings in Deming and applications of LEAN in 1992.
Looking into the mirror, the international research done in the IMVP – The International Motor Vehicle Program – really was going on these pioneer years. The results were gathered into the first book on LEAN by Womack, Jones, and Roos. Every eager organization tried to learn methods and thinking from Japanese industry at that time. Hewlett Packard in the U.S. was one of my personal favorites in the electronics field. Dr Richard Schonberger was an early JIT guru to us. The Japanese were very polite to us at our visits: "We have learned most of these subjects and techniques from the West, we are so very happy to give back whatever we can." Learning Taiichi Ohno sayings later, I found that some fundamental ideas of LEAN really were built on real constraints of Japan, and thus never came from the West.
Those who want to learn the quality history from 1990 until this day, are recommended to borrow and read the 180 Quality Progress Magazines, 1/month, produced by ASQ, Quality Press, 1990-2005. ASQ has only recently begun to include the Lean Thinking into their programs. Productivity Press - an Expira Lean supplier – has been our best source of detailed LEAN knowledge during these years.
I personally tried very hard to implement LEAN Production, 5S and TPM for my local clients in the early 90:ies instead of competing ISO 9000 heavy standard documentations, but alas, I became "A Don Quixote fighting the ISO Wind Mills" at that time. Today we have a very progressive climate for LEAN both in Manufacturing and Service Businesses in Sweden, with many active local actors and trainers. I really hope the efforts and interest in LEAN will last for many years this time!
For us at Expira this means we can finally combine our early learning from trips to Japan and experience in Lean Thinking and Production, the Statistical Thinking and Leadership from the Deming Philosophy and the formats of Six Sigma Programs in an integrated Expira Lean Six Sigma of today.
Hakan Sodersved, M Sc
Lean Six Sigma Trainer
Expira Lean Six Sigma