The Use of Lean Six Sigma Methodology in Increasing Capacity of a Chemical Production Facility at DSM


  • Marco Meeuwse DSM Nutritional Products GmbH Emil-Barell-Strasse 3 79639 Grenzach-Wyhlen, Germany.



Lean six sigma, Chemical production, Debottlenecking


Lean Six Sigma is an improvement method, combining Lean, which focuses on removing 'waste' from a process, with Six Sigma, which is a data-driven approach, making use of statistical tools. Traditionally it is used to improve the quality of products (reducing defects), or processes (reducing variability). However, it can also be used as a tool to increase the productivity or capacity of a production plant. The Lean Six Sigma methodology is therefore an important pillar of continuous improvement within DSM. In the example shown here a multistep batch process is improved, by analyzing the duration of the relevant process steps, and optimizing the procedures. Process steps were performed in parallel instead of sequential, and some steps were made shorter. The variability was reduced, giving the opportunity to make a tighter planning, and thereby reducing waiting times. Without any investment in new equipment or technical modifications, the productivity of the plant was improved by more than 20%; only by changing procedures and the programming of the process control system.