How does Lean Six Sigma work?

December 02th, 2014

Lean Six Sigma is all about the integration of practical application tool kits. Lean is the synchronization of process output to customer demand.

There are seven key principles in the Lean philosophy.

  1. Eliminate Waste, where waste is defined as anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, parts, space, and time which are absolutely essential to add value to the product or service in the eyes of the customer.
  2. Simplify production flow
  3. Achieve quality by managing the process, not the product
  4. Produce to demand, not to stock
  5. Produce one at a time
  6. Continuous improvement
  7. Respect for people and teamwork Six Sigma is a structured method that drives continual improvement of products, processes, and service delivery that meet or exceed customer requirements.

The Six Sigma philosophy has four key principles:

  1. Customer Performance Metrics are measured on a common scale, namely the Process Sigma Level.
  2. Use a structured continual improvement process that follows five phases, namely Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC).
  3. Implementation should be as “Fast as You Can, but as Slow as You Must” using a project completion strategy.
  4. Use the “Best Practice Tools” for improvement from Total Quality Management, Business Process Engineering, Balanced Scorecard, Applied Statistics, Just-In-Time, Continuous Flow Manufacturing, Lean Enterprise, and Design for Excellence. Integration of these two philosophies for improvement is the key to making it work.

The glue that holds it together is the DMAIC Improvement Process. The duration of a project is driven by the scope of the issue that must be resolved.

The Lean Six Sigma philosophy can be applied in a day, a week, or multiple months. It just depends on the depth and breadth of the issue.

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