Lean Six Sigma

Lean Manufacturing, a management tool, has taken the manufacturing industry by storm. Companies around the globe have adopted Lean methods in many forms and by many names. In thousands of organizations across different industries, “Lean Enterprise” is one of the most promoted and competitive business models in use today. The Lean Manufacturing concept, known as the Toyota Production System (TPS) consists mainly of the elimination of the seven kinds of wastes ( muda ), classified as Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Over-Processing, and Defects. Lean 6-Sigma is a new concept focused on increasing the efficiency in production through the combined application of Lean practices and 6-Sigma statistical methods. Lean 6-Sigma aims to enable faster, more precise, and less expensive production and implementation of products and processes.

Modern IT systems for manufacturing provide the main tools for the implementation of these concepts.They are a condition for achieving goals, preserving gains and implementing measures from the Lean 6-Sigma concept. NearSoft has identified the main obstacle in successful implementations of Lean 6-Sigma initiatives being the lack of cooperation between management consultants and production IT system providers. The factors that have prevented such close cooperation are as follows:

  • Management consultants generally do not have sufficient knowledge about functions and workflows of an MOM/MES system. They are generally restricted to organizational services and employee training.
  • System providers are generally concerned with the problems of software development and the technological basis of the system.

NearSoft’s MOM4 solution achieves the full potential of the synergy offered by its qualified integrated production management system and management consultancy support. As a unique bottom-up developed system, MOM4 has achieved the highest levels of Manufacturing Operations Management excellence in compliance with ISO quality standards.

Lean Six Sigma and MOM


Lean Six Sigma and Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) are two distinct methodologies often used in manufacturing and business process optimization.

Lean Six Sigma focuses on reducing defects and waste in processes through structured problem-solving, while Manufacturing Operations Management encompasses a broader range of activities related to managing and optimizing manufacturing operations. Both approaches can be valuable in improving manufacturing processes and achieving operational excellence. By integrating Lean Six Sigma principles into your Manufacturing Operations Management approach, you can create a more comprehensive and data-driven strategy for continuous improvement in manufacturing processes. This alignment helps in achieving operational excellence, reducing defects, and minimizing waste effectively.

A MOM/MES system could be a vehicle for Lean 6-Sigma due to its core functionality:

  • A real-time operative planning system reduces waiting, storage, and transport times by synchronizing the production process,
  • Ensures standardized processes and productivity efficiencies by empowering and supporting employees with accurate, real-time information,
  • Minimizes re-works, reduces failures and improves overall workplace efficiency by correlating and storing all production process information in a database for further analyses using statistical methods and associated instruments (SPC).


Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) encompasses all aspects of managing manufacturing operations, including planning, scheduling, quality, and more. It’s a strategic, cross-functional approach.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is a subset of MOM, focusing on real-time control of production on the shop floor. They monitor and enforce production plans, collect data, and ensure quality compliance. MES integrates with other systems, including MOM and ERP, to provide timely information for decision-making.

Over the early 2000’s, much of the good work done by the automation industry in creating batch-level standards, like ISA-88, was being extended to enterprises with the ISA-95 standard. In this standard the term Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) was laid out and detailed activities and business processes were defined within the MOM space, including the areas of: Production, Quality, Maintenance, and Inventory.


Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems serve different but complementary purposes within a manufacturing organization. While both systems can manage aspects of manufacturing operations, they excel in different areas and are designed to address specific needs. Here are the reasons why you might need MES even if you have ERP:

  • Real-Time Visibility and Control: MES provides real-time visibility into shop floor operations, including machine status, work-in-progress (WIP), and quality data. This level of granularity is typically not available in ERP systems. This allows for immediate decision-making and control over manufacturing processes.
  • Detailed Work Order Management: MES focuses on the execution of manufacturing orders, providing detailed instructions to workers and machines. It tracks the progress of each order, enforces routing and sequencing rules, and ensures that production follows the defined plan.
  • Quality Control and Traceability: MES systems offer robust quality control features, including real-time data collection, quality checks, and traceability. They can capture data at various stages of production and link it to specific parts or products, making it easier to identify and address quality issues.
  • Shop Floor Automation: MES can integrate with equipment and machinery on the shop floor, enabling automation and data exchange between machines and systems. This automation streamlines processes and reduces manual data entry errors.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: MES optimizes the use of resources, such as labor and materials, at the shop floor level. This ensures that production schedules are adhered to and that resources are allocated efficiently, contributing to reduced lead times and costs.
  • Complex Manufacturing Processes: For organizations with complex manufacturing processes, MES provides a more granular and specialized approach to manage those intricacies. ERP systems are typically more focused on broader business processes.
  • Regulatory Compliance: MES systems often include features to support regulatory compliance, particularly in industries with stringent requirements, such as pharmaceuticals and aerospace. They help in recording and tracking data necessary for compliance.
  • Production Visibility for ERP: MES systems can feed critical real-time production data into the ERP system, enhancing the accuracy of inventory levels, order status, and production schedules in the ERP. This integration ensures that ERP data is up-to-date and reliable.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: MES can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a manufacturing operation, making it highly adaptable to changes in production processes and product lines. ERP systems are typically more rigid and designed for broader business functions.
  • Overall Manufacturing Efficiency: MES focuses exclusively on manufacturing operations, helping to maximize efficiency, reduce waste, and improve quality. ERP systems encompass a wider range of business functions, and their manufacturing modules may not offer the same level of depth and specialization.