Why Combine Lean and Six Sigma Concepts?

Lean Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology designed to eliminate waste and inefficiencies, thereby improving working conditions to better meet customer needs? 

What is Lean?

What Lean does is removes the non-value adding activities from business processes thereby reducing process cycle time and improving product or service delivery times 

  •  reduce or eliminate the possibility of defects being generated, 
  •  reduce inventory levels, and 
  •  optimise resources for key improvements, including others.

Lean identifies 8 types of wastes It is very easy to remember the 7 wastes just by remembering DOWNTIME.

  1. Defects
  2. Overproduction 
  3. Waiting
  4. Non-utilized skills
  5. Transportation 
  6. Inventory
  7. Motion
  8. Extra processing

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To dive deep into each type of waste or nonvalue added activities click on (ADD NON VALUE ADDED LINK OF OUR PREVIOUS BLOG)

What is Six Sigma?

The Six Sigma model works on preventing process variation because variation hampers a process’s ability to reliably and consistently deliver high-quality products or services.

Six Sigma follows a DMAIC model consisting of steps namely Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control.

To define:  The definition phase consists of defining the objectives and limits of the project (It’s the problem statement)

Measure: The objective of the measurement phase of the Six Sigma strategy is to gather information about the current situation, obtain baseline data on the performance of the current process, and identify problem areas.

Analyse: The objective of the analysis phase of the Six Sigma quality effort is to identify the root causes of quality issues and confirm those causes using the appropriate data analysis tools.

Improve: The objective of the Improve phase is to implement solutions that address the problems (root causes) identified during the previous phase 

Control: The objective of the Control phase is to evaluate and monitor the results of the previous phase (Improve phase).

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Lean manufacturing alone: These methods are very effective at reducing waste and increasing profits significantly. Yet, the organisations that implement Lean manufacturing only are not able to sustain it and also cannot trace the variation in the process. The goal of lean manufacturing is to increase the processing speed and improve production capacity. However, if the process deviates from the mean then its impact on productivity is immense.

Six Sigma alone: Six Sigma is very effective at root cause analysis and its statistical methods but Six Sigma alone may not have rapid improvement events such as Kaizen which can accelerate project results and completion rates.

(How Does Lean Six Sigma Help in Cost Reduction? )

Why use Lean and Six Sigma combined?

Companies have implemented Lean Manufacturing intending to improve the elimination of waste in the processes. Companies using Six Sigma have found that by selecting projects and assigning them to teams after follow-up results show.

But Companies implementing both Lean and Six Sigma often raise awareness among teams, seeking projects in different areas to improve process structure and achieve results.

If you consider lean alone, lean does not focus entirely on the quality and six sigma alone does not focus entirely on time.

When both methodologies are combined it yields the following benefits

  •  When both Lean and Six Sigma are combined they take the complexity and cost out of your business.
  • Lean Six Sigma is fast and provides substantial results within weeks.
  • With a relatively low investment, it offers exceptional cost savings
  • Lean Six Sigma is effective and provides a mechanism to identify, leverage, and replicate cost reduction best practices across the enterprise.
  • It is practical and provides simple, analytical, and evidence-based methods used to uncover the root causes of high costs; eliminate waste from processes, and turn plans into action.

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Combining two different approach systems-

  • Lean is more of a bottom-up system, where ideas for improvement come from the people doing the manufacturing work.
  • Six Sigma is more of a top-down method that employs experts to collect, analyse, and act on the collected data. This provides different points of view that will not only capture problems the other hasn’t noticed, but also offer solutions the other hasn’t considered.
  • This helps in balancing the 3 legs of a stool.

The 3 legs include- Time Cost and Quality. A company wants good quality at a cheaper price and less time possible. Lean Six sigma combined will help you achieve the right balance between the three.

Using this approach, combined with end-to-end mapping, allows senior executives to see across the value stream to identify where excess resources are that are not critical to running the end-to-end process. 

The more we’ve tested and applied the combined Lean Six Sigma methodology’s fundamental ideas, methods, and tools we have become confident that both are critical to immediate and long-term cost reduction. 

Contact us to know how Arrowhead (Contact us – arrowheadco.net ) could help you combine the two methodologies and help transform your business.