Making it Simple

Six Sigma & Lean Manufacturing

Lean Six Sigma is a business improvement methodology which combines tools from both Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.

Lean manufacturing focuses on speed and traditional Six Sigma focuses on quality. By combining the two, the result is better quality faster. This strives to mitigate significant failure modes of "Quality only" Six Sigma when it is applied to reducing variation in a single process step (sub-optimising), or to processes which are not value added to the customer.

The DMAIC steps can still apply, but the objectives ("Y's") and inputs ("X's") under study incorporate both quality (ppm) as well as speed (cycle time) metrics.

Define: The problem or opportunity to be investigated and prepare flowcharts & maps of the existing processes
Measure: Current performance (e.g. cycle times, costs, defect rates, cost of poor quality & customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction)
Analyse: Current methods, processes & procedures - what works well & what doesn't?
Improve: Develop & prioritise ideas for improvement (with input from customers, users and colleagues)
Install: Implement agreed upon cost-effective improvements
Control: The new improved process with appropriate performance measures