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What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma: What Is It?

Simply put, lean six sigma is the fusion of the lean and six sigma techniques to decrease waste, defects (variation), and improve efficiency and outcomes. Lean emphasizes effectiveness, while Six Sigma focuses on how efficiency can produce quicker outcomes.

Together, they are more effective than each technique used separately. A thorough grasp of the employee's duties, responsibilities, organizational structures, and training needs is essential for a successful Lean Six Sigma deployment.

Lean Six Sigma's origins

Lean Six Sigma dates back to Motorola in the United States in 1986. Through the use of the Kaizen business model, Japan has been experiencing an economic boom since World War II, and as a result, Japanese products were regarded as being of a higher quality than American products. Lean Six Sigma was developed as a result to counteract the Kaizen business strategy.

Lean Six Sigma is a method for organizing, managing, and enhancing performance in an organization that has its roots in the Juran Trilogy. The Trilogy makes use of projects to concentrate on achieving improvements in present performance levels through design or improvement techniques. Breakthroughs don't just happen; they call for a methodical change-making process, which can be accomplished with the “project-by-project” approach.

The results of a newly designed or improved process, service, or product must be managed in order to maintain the gains. A quality control procedure and the root cause corrective action approach are used to accomplish this. It is an ongoing process to improve goods, services, and procedures, 3.4 parts per million is a Six Sigma level.

An organization must grasp the abilities to plan, control, and improve quality if it wants to keep making strides forward and satisfy its stakeholders. They must engage Lean Six Sigma experts who are Yellow Belts, Green Belts, Black Belts, and Master Black Belts to do this.

Lean Six Sigma advantages

In order to achieve the ultimate aim of continuous value creation for the customer, Lean and Six Sigma, or Lean Six Sigma, offer a comprehensive set of methodologies and technologies that enable organizations to improve quality and reduce costs. These are some important advantages for any company. However, Lean Six Sigma Company also gain the following five advantages:

Planning Strategically

The mission and vision statements of an organization, which highlight the reason for the organization's existence and describe its goals, serve as the foundation for strategic planning. The best strategic plans convert the vision statement into concrete, quantifiable goals, including growing market share or decreasing staff turnover. Lean Six Sigma could quicken the pace at which those objectives are achieved.


Organizations can increases employee productivity. When they eliminate waste and variance from their operations. There are various causes for this. First, there is low rework when there is low waste and variety. You don't waste time repairing mistakes when you do things correctly the first time.

Employee Satisfaction

Employee happiness and motivation both rise as a result of higher employee productivity. Employees that don't have to struggle with poor conceived procedures, come up with workarounds to solve problems, or waste time on tasks that don't add value are more motivated and content. Not all employees receive this benefit. Employees become more adept at spotting waste and variation as well as chances to boost quality and deliver more value for customers as enterprises integrate Lean Six Sigma into the foundation of their businesses.

Customer Satisfaction

Imagine a company that excelled in adding value for the customer, lowering faults, decreasing variation in its goods and services, increasing features and advantages, providing a wide range of options at little to no extra cost, and accelerating the delivery of goods and services. That company will undoubtedly experience great customer happiness, which leads to high customer retention and loyalty.

Supply Chain Administration

Mature Lean Six Sigma organizations discover to constantly improve processes, suppliers must eventually be included in their projects. Your suppliers' processes must be made less wasteful and variable in order for you to totally decrease waste and variance in your processes.

Describe Lean. (What is Lean?)

By removing or reducing typical types of "waste" from organizational systems, lean is a process optimization methodology that helps them run more efficiently. By enhancing cycle time and throughput, it achieves this to help firms operate more quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

Waste is something that does not provide value. Organizational efficiency can be significantly increased using lean techniques and tools. In manufacturing-based businesses as well as service and healthcare-based enterprises, lean has continuously come back into fashion.

Taiichi Ohno, a Toyota executive, created the Lean concept after identifying the seven categories of muda (waste). From there, the Toyota Production System and other process improvements, including World Class Manufacturing, were developed (WCM).

As a result, lean production systems are frequently based on the Toyota Production System and aim to reduce waste, cut lead times, and increase productivity.

In conclusion, Lean:

· Decreases lead time

· Increases throughput

· Eliminates waste

· Gives consumers more value

· Increases profitability

· Improves delivery time.

The Plan for Lean Methodology

Lean employs the DMAIC methodology, which is an acronym for the five stages of Six Sigma:

• Define

• Measure

• Analyse

• Improve

• Control

With Lean, however, you apply this step-by-step methodology to a complete process rather than a single ongoing issue.

Following is the Lean DMAIC roadmap:

· Define value, stakeholder value and CTQs

· Customer needs,

· High-level process mapping,

· 6S implementation.

Measure Value

· Identify supply and capacity constraints

· Identify speed, take time, and manpower o

· Create a value stream map o

· Measure customer needs o

· Plan for data analysis o

· Evaluate the system of measurement o

Examine process flow,

· Continuous improvement plan,

· Process and load capability;

· Conduct Value Added / Non Value Added decomposition analysis;

· Use lean problem-solving techniques to address specific causes.

Enhance Procedure Draw

· Perform continuous improvement

· Design process and modifications in process flow

· Input, load, and optimize the process

· Standardize assigned work

· Introduce new procedures.

What does the word "Value" mean?

Let's study what "Value" means in the previous meaning of lean:

The customer defines "value" in accordance with the nature of the business procedure and the industry context. Value is related to how the customer feels about the product or service they are willing to pay for.

A process is a set of actions that uses resources to change inputs into outcomes. These actions within a procedure can be divided into three categories. As follows:

Non-Value Added Activities: These activities don't improve the goods made by the processor in any way. They create the wasteful processes. A customer does not voluntarily pay for the expenses related to these activities.

Value-added Activity: These activities are necessary and add value to the process. They boost productivity and quality by improving processes.

Enabling value-added activities: These activities add no value to the customer. They are required for the process to continue.

An effort has been made to understand the "value streams" by a Lean expert working with subject matter experts (All over process tasks that add value to the good or service produced when combined together). The eight typical wastes in processes can then be eliminated by synchronising processes with customer demand:


T- Transportation

I- Inventory

M- Motion/Movement

W- Waiting

O- Over Production

O- Over Processing/ Rework

D- Defect/ Process Rejection

N- Non – Utilized Talent

Transportation: - Transporting people, goods, materials, information, or tools between locations without adding any value to the finished product or service

Inventory: - Information or materials being stocked or stored without a need or desire (eg WIP, WIQ – work in the queue)

Motion/Movement: - Movement of people or equipment that is time- and energy-consuming but is not essential. Because of the unnecessary movement of the body, it might make workers tired.

Waiting: - Time wasted waiting for materials, knowledge, personnel, or equipment. Manufacturing work setup times are long. Or an abnormally long processing period for data in the services industry.

Over Production: - Increasing the production of products or services that customers require or that subsequent processes can use

Over Processing/ Rework: -Process steps, such as performing work beyond the customer's specifications that do not improve the quality of the product or service

Defect/ Process Rejection: - The activities included checking for mistakes and correcting them through reworks.

Non – Utilized Talent: - Not properly utilising people's abilities and ideas. According to Japanese expertise, employee empowerment can reduce waste.

An Overview of Some Key Lean Technologies

VSM (Value Stream Mapping): As was already mentioned, VSM assists in the identification of system failures and their root causes.

• Kaizen:- Kaizen is a continuous improvement strategy that emphasises small, incremental changes. It comprises the dedication of lower-level employees to organisational process improvements, backed by management and assisted by subordinates.

• Just in Time: This pull strategy satisfies customer requests as they arise from the customer.

• SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies): It reduces the time it takes to swap out equipment. The idea behind it is to keep transition times under ten minutes.

• Poke-Yoke:-The poke yoke is an error-proofing tool used in assembly to alert workers of mistakes or defects.

• Jidoka (autonomy):- Also known as effective automation, jidoka (autonomy) if a defect occurs, the assembly process or production line is stopped.

• Heijunka: Line balancing is the idea behind this game. By balancing manufacturing lines, it is intended to distribute the load uniformly.

• Gemba (Go & See): The objective is to visit the real workplace. Carefully monitor the procedure and actions in real-time. Make a note of the findings. It's an additional means of spotting procedure problems.

• Kanban: This communication method controls the quantity of inventory. Kanban boards can be managed and displayed to show the real-time inventory status. Additionally, it warns management to call attention to an overabundance of inventory. Overstock of inventory ties up working capital and prevents its use for useful activities.

What exactly is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma generally emphasizes identifying and meeting the requirements of customers first, followed by the organization or business.

As a result, profits increase while costs decrease, ultimately improving results.

Six Sigma is all about improving what is critical to the customer (CTQs)." This is referred to as the "Y." The equation Y = f(x) is used to guide the team and communicate what a project is aiming to achieve.

Once we've determined what the Ys are, we can measure them to see if we're on track. We analyze the Ys to know the process variables that cause variation, and then we control the process variables to reduce their variation. These variables are referred to as "Xs."

There could be several Xs that influence the Y. If Y is a function of X, all we need to do is define the Xs exactly enough to control them. Once in control, the Y should be satisfied. After that, we can hold the gains to maintain performance.

Y = (x1, x2, x3, x4,...)

Six Sigma vs. Lean

Because Six Sigma and Lean implement different strategies to achieve greater effectiveness, efficiency, and cost reduction, neither one can completely replace the other. In actuality, they concentrate on various issues.

Lean, for instance, begins with a workflow analysis before defining value in terms of the advantages the customer receives from the produced products or services. Instead of tasks, it is carried out in Quick Improvement or Kaizen activities.

As an alternative, Six Sigma concentrates on removing waste and defects to increase quality and effectiveness. This will not only improve efficiencies the process while also increase the customer satisfaction.

Six Sigma and Lean are two of the most well-known and effective techniques for achieving breakthrough improvements. Both have developed from the foundations of previous methods, such as Dr. Juran's Breakthrough Quality Improvement Universal Sequence, Dr. Shewhart's and Dr. Deming's PDCA Cycle, and, as previously mentioned, Toyota's specialized focus on waste reduction.

Lean and Six Sigma are two distinct but complementary methods of continuous improvement. When used individually, Six Sigma allows the project teams to boost process effectiveness, while Lean aids in process efficiency. When used in combination, the two can be incorporated into the

DMAIC methodology to create a new procedure that is both productive and useful, reducing waste while increasing valuation.

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