March 20, 2023
What is Lean Six Sigma?

Modern business management isn’t easy. Our world is fast-paced, requires constant adapting and optimising, and is highly competitive. There are different ways to manage your business, numerous approaches you might want to follow and many strategies to help you improve your company’s work. The decision of what to choose is not an easy one and you may end up trying over and over again until you find a perfect solution. However, it is worth trying, as the results will be long-lasting and will help you make more profit, bigger savings, better products, have happier customers and expand your business. Sounds good, doesn’t it? One of the methods that are definitely worth exploring is Lean Six Sigma. What are its principles? How does it work? Where to learn it?

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Let’s start with the most basic question. What is actually Lean Six Sigma? If you have even a vague idea about product management, you might have heard about the lean management method and about six sigma before.

Lean management dates back to the 1950s and was first implemented in Toyota’s production plants. It focuses primarily on continuous improvement (Japanese “kaizen”) and reducing waste, including unnecessary processes and complicated structures within the company. It aims at the simplicity of the production process as well as communication within the company, which is meant to optimise the entire process.

Six Sigma on the other hand was first created in 1986 by Bill Smith from Motorola. Its primary aim is to minimise variability and eliminate defects in the production process. This means improving the product itself and increasing the satisfaction of the customer. It also introduces different levels of knowledge about the method, marked with different colour “belts”. The black belt is the highest level, describing a Six Sigma expert. Experts can be hired by companies to help them introduce Six Sigma principles in their production. Six Sigma was created to compete with the lean management method.

Eventually, in 2001 a first attempt was made at integrating the rules of both methods and creating a hybrid that would optimise enterprises’ work even better. That’s how Lean Six Sigma was born. More and more online business training companies nowadays offer Lean Six Sigma courses, as the popularity of this method rises.

Principles of Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma combines eliminating waste, a process characteristic for lean management, with identifying and removing causes of defects, which is typical for Six Sigma. It uses the DMAIC cycle, which is meant to help identify the problems and fix them. DMAIC stands for Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control. These are the five phases of the cycle.

Lean Six Sigma identifies eight kinds of waste that should be eliminated to maximise production efficiency. It is not just physical waste created during the production process. The first kind is defect, the second is overproduction. These two refer to physical excess of products, or products that are faulty and only generate costs, with no profit. Further, however, there is waiting, be it waiting for approval, somebody’s answer, or the material itself. Then we have non-used talent, the idea that unused human potential is just as much of a waste. Next, there’s transportation, meaning the unnecessary movement of products or equipment, and motion, meaning the unnecessary movement of people. Finally, there’s inventory, which would be an excess of unprocessed materials and products, and extra-processing, meaning doing more work than the task actually requires.

Another important thing in Lean Six Sigma is the five principles every business following this model should remember. “Work for the customer” is the first one. “Find your problem and focus on it” is number two. The third principle is “remove variations and bottlenecks”. “Clear communication and training of staff” is the fourth principle. Finally, the fifth one is “be flexible and responsive”. These five rules will help you successfully implement Lean Six Sigma in your business.

Where to learn Lean Six Sigma?

Because of the growing popularity of the Lean Six Sigma method, finding experts on this topic becomes increasingly easier. However, you might be interested in training yourself or some of your employees, to create your own Lean Six Sigma panel and implement this method in all operations of your enterprise. In this case, you might want to turn to training and development companies, like, for instance,

The e-learning platforms offer Lean Six Sigma courses online, that you and your staff can complete within a timeframe that is convenient for them. The courses usually contain both lectures and practical tasks and are concluded with an exam. Once you pass the exam, you receive a certificate confirming your knowledge. Since these courses cover all levels of the Lean Six Sigma method, you can easily find Lean Six Sigma Green Belt courses if you want to extend your knowledge later and become an expert. This could be the next great step in your career.

About Neel Achary

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Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.







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