What’s the Difference Between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement.
Lean is a systematic method employed in the minimization of waste within an organization without sacrificing productivity.
At first glance these two definitions appear to be the same.
Indeed, it is hard for many to draw the line between Six sigma certification and Lean
However, let me use these four points to itemize the difference between lean and six sigma:
- Lean is focused on production, while Six Sigma is focused on reducing errors in production as well as nonproduction environments
- Lean looks at ways to increase flow while Six Sigma focuses on achieving consistent results.
- Lean is targeted at improving product quality and customer experience and so is six sigma.
- Lean looks to reduce waste in production, while six sigma looks to reduce waste in the process of production and satisfaction of customers.
A closer look at the two definitions we can glean that both lean and six sigma is focused on waste reduction but in different.
Since both are interested in quality production and customer satisfaction it has become advisable to merge the two processes.
Hence, Lean Six Sigma is a synchronization of lean and six sigma method that creates a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation.
Considering your understanding of both concept would be wise to learn just one of the concept? Definitely not.
How to use Lean Methodology
Lean six sigma as we have come to understand works at reducing waste.
Lean follows the process of identifying seven areas of waste that are common in most production systems.
Let’s look at each of the “seven deadly wastes” one after the other.
Overproduction: It’s easy for a company to produce things that no gets to buy because it is more than the demand.
Such waste is a great loss to the company.
Waiting: When employees have a lot of time in their hands time and money is being lost for the company.
When employees are left waiting between production time no value is being added.
Transport: Transport of materials or products can increase the cost on a company.
If care is not taken transport arrangement might be another waste on company’s resources.
Motion: Production process by a company comes with employees movement from one place to another.
Such motion between tasks when not properly regulated can contribute to company waste.
Over-processing: Over-processing occurs when more time is spent more than required in producing a product.
It is also a production process that is done in a very inefficient way.
Inventory: When your inventory levels are too high and you have too much work in progress at one time that can be counter productive and accumulate waste
How to Use Six Sigma
Six sigma focuses on eliminating any variation in the customer experience.
A Six Sigma methodology seeks to produce no more than 3.4 defects for every million opportunities.
That seems like a impossible task.
How does six sigma get to achieve that?
Sigma does this primarily by using a systematic approach called DMAIC.
DMAIC stands for define, measure, analysis, improvement, and control.
Here is a small explanation of each step of the six sigma solving process: