A popular misconception is that lean is suited only for manufacturing. Not true. Lean applies in every business and every process. It is not a tactic or a cost reduction program, but a way of thinking and acting for an entire organization.
A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste.
To accomplish this, lean thinking changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets, and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers.
Eliminating waste along entire value streams, instead of at isolated points, creates processes that need less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services at far less costs and with much fewer defects, compared with traditional business systems. Companies are able to respond to changing customer desires with high variety, high quality, low cost, and with very fast throughput times. Also, information management becomes much simpler and more accurate
Six Sigma simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driving toward six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process – from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.
The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of Six Sigma improvement projects. This is accomplished through the use
of two Six Sigma sub-methodologies: DMAIC and DMADV. The Six Sigma DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) is an improvement system for existing processes falling below specification and looking for incremental improvement. The Six Sigma DMADV process (define, measure, analyze, design, verify) is an improvement system used to develop new processes or products at Six Sigma quality levels. It can also be employed if a current process requires more than just incremental improvement. Both Six Sigma processes are executed by Six Sigma Green Belts and Six Sigma Black Belts, and are overseen by Six Sigma Master Black Belts.
Many frameworks exist for implementing the Six Sigm a Methodology. Six Sigma Consultants all over the world have developed proprietary methodologies for implementing Six Sigma quality, based on the similar change management philosophies and applications of tools.
Lean Six Sigma is a process improvement program that combines two ideas: Lean – a collection of techniques for reducing the time needed to provide products or services, and Six Sigma; a collection of techniques for improving the quality of products and services, substantially contributing to increased customer satisfaction.
By combining the two, Lean Six Sigma is a proven business management strategy that helps organizations operates more efficiently. According to many business analysts and quality improvement experts, Lean Six Sigma is the most popular business performance methodology in the history of corporate development.
Lean Six Sigma is a managerial concept combining Lean and Six Sigma that results in the elimination of the eight kinds of wastes / muda (classified as Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-Utilized Talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Extra-Processing) and an improved capability of performance.
The Lean Six Sigma concepts were first published in the book titled Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma with Lean Speed by Michael George and Peter Vincent in 2002. Lean Six Sigma utilises the DMAIC phases similar to that of Six Sigma. The Lean Six Sigma projects comprise the Lean’s waste elimination projects and the Six Sigma projects based on the critical to quality characteristics. The DMAIC toolkit of Lean Six Sigma comprises all the Lean and Six Sigma tools. The training for Lean Six Sigma is provided through the belt based training system similar to that of Six Sigma. The belt personnel are designated as white belts, yellow belts, green belts, black belts and master black belts, similar to karate.