Lean six sigma is a scientific methodology to eliminate problems effectively, remove wastes and make a standardized process to serve customers better especially in the service sector.
It combines the tools and principles of Lean and Six Sigma into one integrated 360 degree methodology for improving your organization’s operational efficiency
Lean Six Sigma’s team-centric approach has demonstrated capability in maximizing effectiveness and drastically improving profit margin for businesses around the world.
Still thinking, “What is Lean Six Sigma exactly?” Have an in-depth look into it , know why does it matters, and how to do it in right manner.
There are three main components to Lean Six Sigma.
Tools and techniques: A comprehensive set of tools and analytical techniques that are used to identify and solve problems in hand.
Principles and process: Sequential steps that determine the use of the problem-solving tools to ensure that the root causes are identified and that a solution is fully provided.
Mindset : A data driven mindset that relies on fact and figures and processes to achieve operational performance efficiency and overall effectiveness is very much needed
Have a look at the history of Lean Six Sigma, and how the different parts of this method were formed to make improvement in the methodology we know today.
What is continuous improvement?
Continuous improvement as a business fundamental and discipline developed as a result of Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management. Taylor described business as a series of interconnecting workflows that is to be managed using data.
What is Lean?
Lean was developed in Toyota as part of the Toyota Production System, which was built around the work of Shewhart and Deming. Toyota had been a client of Deming and established its operational practices based on his principles .The function of Lean is the elimination of waste. In fact, a good narrative of the Lean approach is, “a set of tools techniques that assist in the identification and the faster elimination of waste.”
If a company is in large scale production like Toyota; then a wastage in it means that company is inefficient in what it does. No company wants to be known for that in industry. The Lean approach uses tools to analyze the business process.
What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma was first developed at Motorola during the late 1980s. The technique was invented by Bill Smith, a quality engineer, whose sole aim was to produce quality products or zero error products The Six Sigma approach focused on identifying and eliminating anything that caused variation in the process. When the variation is gone, the process results will be accurate – every time. What are the five phases of Six Sigma?
First of all we need to define boundaries for the process being analyzed and the expectations or desired level of performance for that process are defined from a customer view point. This is to ensure that the change does not degrade the customer experience, but instead enhances it.
In this phase we try to measure the current performance of the process, product or service to determine what is actually happening, especially from a customer perspective. This is to ensure the analysis and solution are based on actual performance, not on assumption Analyze
In this phase the process, product or service is analyzed using the data and measurement available to us and determine the root cause of the problem.
In this phase the possible changes to the process, product or service are suggested and a set of solutions is prescribed and tested. This is to ensure the solution creates positive impacts and that the variation in process get reduced
In this phase the changes are implemented, the supporting systems are also updated and the process, product, or service is put under control – normally statistical process control – to ensure the solution is fully implemented in a sustainable manner and to identify if
Benefits of Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma is a continuous improvement methodology. However, a legitimate question is, what does it improve? Does it increase sales or profits? Does it improve customer satisfaction and lower complaints? Does it lower costs, improve incoming quality, outgoing quality or the cost of quality? Does it improve employee morale? Does it increase your pay and benefits, or improve your promotability? Does it create world peace and solve world hunger? “Yes” to all of these – except the last two. Let’s look at benefits for the business and then benefits for the individuals who attain a level of certification in Lean Six Sigma.
Lean Six Sigma provides benefits for individuals within the organization who become Lean Six Sigma leaders. We will discuss the various leadership roles in more detail in a later section. First let’s identify some of the personal benefits you can expect when participating in Lean Six Sigma.
Lean Six Sigma provides more structured and organized problem-solving skills that we use to solve any type of problem. Being able to find and solve the problems will improve your ability to perform in complex business scenarios. The Lean Six Sigma methodology makes you go through an organized process of inquiry, analysis, problem identification and solution creation. Many of those principles can be applied to day- to- day problems and issues. But even if you don’t use all the tools, the organized problem-solving approach will put you in control of finding and fixing your problems.
Lean Six Sigma is implemented through hands-on projects and projects that have leaders. Leading a Lean Six Sigma project will often provide you with an opportunity to explore other functions and senior management. Interacting with team members and managers will improve one’s communication skills. Decision making ability will enhance . The Lean Six Sigma can help you to develop project management skills. And being able to lead a project team that has achieved cost savings, process improvement, and has operationally efficient will add value to one’s resume
Pay and promotability
Attaining belt certification is a valuable addition on one’s resume. Want to go upstairs in the promotional ladder ?If yes, then,this certification will open the door of opportunities for that. In addition, within an organization, promotions are often based upon how you have demonstrated your leadership capabilities. By leading a project you show senior management and HR that you are ready to take a position of greater responsibility. The average salary for six sigma holders is just under $100,000. The average may vary according to the country and industry you are in. However, it is a safe bet to say that Lean Six Sigma certification will increase your earning potential manifold
Industries using Lean Six Sigma
Lean has also moved well beyond the domain of manufacturing. Many industries have inculcated Lean Six Sigma, and the list of companies using the methodology is too long to be mentioned here. Examples are as follows
- Financial Services
- Higher Education
- Medical Devices
- Oil and Gas