Lean Six Sigma

What is Lean Six Sigma

In simple terms, Lean Six Sigma is a methodology which combines the business improvement methods of Lean manufacturing practice and Six Sigma process.  Lean practice focuses on speed of the process while Six Sigma relies on quality. Therefore by the fusion of both the practices we have Lean Six Sigma which provides speed and quality to the customers. It leads to faster improvement in the business processes relating to customer satisfaction, quality and cost.

Lean : Speed

Six Sigma : Quality

Lean Six Sigma : Quality with Speed

Lean Practice was evolved to bring about faster execution of the business processes and Six Sigma was devised to deliver quality excellence to the products and processes.  Each of this practice has its own benefits and drawbacks.  Initially, both the practices were considered rivals to each other. Followers of Lean stressed that Six Sigma does not take care of speed while advocators of Six Sigma pointed out lack of quality excellence in Lean methods.

How the Lean Six Sigma evolved

As a result of applying various tools for business improvement, the need for both the speed and quality was recognized. If a process is showing great speed but with no quality or quality with no speed then it does not lead to business improvement. So a balance process which focuses on both Lean and Six Sigma was evolved. In a way both these practices complement each other because of their unique features and they provide opportunities for streamlining the core processes.

Comparison between Lean and Six Sigma

(1)   Lean stresses on eliminating waste and creating flow while Six Sigma reduces variation and improves process capability by using the problem-solving approach with the help of statistical tools,

(2)   Lean is applied mainly to the manufacturing processes and Six Sigma is applicable for all the business process.

(3)   Lean projects are driven by Value Stream Map while Six Sigma takes up different approaches in a project selection.

(4)   Length of projects in Lean methodology is usually about one week to three months however Six Sigma it extends from two to six months.

(5)   No formal training is required with Lean approach however Six Sigma involves broad based training utilizing various resources.

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