Lean Six Sigma is a two staged management approach for continuous improvement which concentrates on reducing waste and product variance from manufacturing, service or design processes. Lean refers to increasing customer value and reducing waste by delivering more value to customers with less waste in resources. Six Sigma uses a powerful framework and statistical tools through a defined project approach to reduce process and produce variation
Comparing Six Sigma with Lean
Typically, Six Sigma and Lean approaches have the same goal. They both aim to eliminate waste and design the most efficient system which is possible, but they take different routes to achieve this goal. In simplest words, the key difference between Lean and Six Sigma; they spot the root cause of waste differently. Lean practitioners accept that waste arrive from unwanted steps in the manufacturing process that do not add value to the end product, while Six Sigma implementers claim that waste occurs from variation within the process. Definitely both of these assessments are truth, which is why both Lean and Six Sigma approaches have been so successful in improving overall performance of business in a variety of fields. Literally, these two methodologies have proven to be extraordinarily successful when working in tandem, which leads to the creation of Lean Six Sigma.
Advantages of integrating as Lean Six Sigma
It is a win-win situation by integrating Lean and Six Sigma. Lean philosophy gives the strategy and designs the environment for improving work flow and eliminating waste. Staffs is Empowered and encouraged to continuously, which improves to create value adding opportunities. Six Sigma helps to figure out problems, gives evidence based decisions; this prevents wasting time, helps to understand and reduce variation in product or process and identifies root cause of variation to find optimal solutions. Of course, it gives the financial benefits and savings. This helps to concentrates in the areas that offer the most essential for improvement. It can provide the effective tools and techniques to solve problems and rapid transformational improvement at lower cost. Specifically, this will increase productivity, reduce costs, improve quality, create a safer environment, improve speed, and exceed customer expectations.
When Lean and Six Sigma were separately developed, they have same kind of goals and approaches. These approaches complement each other. Lean Six Sigma is a strategic approach for change management. It works well when it is used as a framework and mechanism for attaining strategic improvement goals. Value streams and value systems excel existing departmental and organisational boundaries. The tools of Lean Six Sigma can be used for specific departmental improvement projects but the biggest advantage can be attained at an organisational or system-wide level. Lean Six Sigma allows you to get results rapidly and to handle difficult systemic issues as well. Measuring and understanding variation in products or process within a system has been a strong way of influencing people’s behaviour. This is a continuous approach, we need to educate respective stake holders frequently, listen to them and create a receptive environment for continuous improvement.
Lean Six Sigma combines two methodologies which creates synergy. Both methodologies require a systematic process focus and both are customer drivers, either to identify what needs to be improved (Six Sigma) or to identify value, which then drive process improvement. Six Sigma focuses mainly on reducing variation, while Lean focuses on improving workflow in the value stream and eliminating waste, even though both may have same kind of secondary effects. An effective integration of both methodologies includes the value-maximization principle of Lean, Supported by data-driven methods in decision making focused on the customer. All effective measures are reviewed to ensure global optimisation and minimization of variation would be a part of this. The complete benefits of Lean Six Sigma will only be enjoyed when it is applied at both strategic and operational levels. Applying at the operational level will results only in cost reduction, whereas applying at the strategic level results in wide variety of benefits for the organisation. It has already found that Lean Six Sigma is a promising improvement approach that integrates the best of Lean and the best of Six Sigma. Generally, it is very unusual that two methodologies or approaches to eliminate waste, reduce variation and enhancing value can be used in a supportive rather than in a competing way.
Benefits of Lean Six Sigma
- Lean Six Sigma maximises your firm’s revenue by streamlining processes, which results in products or services by completing faster by more efficiently at no cost to quality and no compromise in quality. In simple terms, Lean Six Sigma maximises revenue by inducing your organization to Sell, manufacture and provide more products or services using less resources.
- Lean Six Sigma minimises your firm’s costs by avoiding waste from a process. Waste refers to any unwanted in manufacturing process, a product or service that is up to specification. In fact, Lean Six Sigma drives you to affix processes that cost your organization valuable and scarce resources.
- Lean Six Sigma increases the efficiency of your firm by utilizing your efforts towards continuous delivery of satisfactory product or service to your customers.
- Encourage your firm to allocate resources and revenue produced from your newly improved implemented processes towards growing your business.
- Lean Six Sigma empowers employees, increases engagement within your organization by involving them in the improvement process. This aid effective participation and results in a responsible, accountable team.
- Builds trust and creates transparency throughout all levels of the organization.
- It increases the effectiveness by delivering results.