Integrating Lean and Six Sigma
The Power Of An Integrated Roadmap
March 1, 2011
Both the Lean and the Six Sigma methodologies have confirmed over the last twenty years that it is possible to accomplish extraordinary improvements in quality, cost, and time by concentrating on procedure performance. Whereas Six Sigma is concentrated on reducing discrepancy and improving procedure profit by following a problem solving method using statistical tools. Lean is principally concerned with reducing waste and increasing flow by following the Lean principles and a defined method to execute each of these principles (Bertels, PP1). The extraordinary results firms such as General Electric, Toyota, Motorola and many others have achieved using either one of them have encouraged many other companies to follow their illustration. As a result, a majority of firms have either a Lean or Six Sigma program in operation. But, using either one of them by their self has limitations: Six Sigma will remove defects but will not deal with the question of how to optimize process flow; and the Lean principles leave out the advanced statistical tools often necessary to accomplish the process capabilities needed to be truly ‘lean’. As a result, most companies consider both methodologies as complementing each other and while each method can effect in remarkable improvement, utilizing these two methods concurrently holds the promise of being able to address all types of process problems with the most appropriate toolkit (Bertels, PP2). Mr. Bertels says, “For example, inventory reduction not only requires reducing batch sizes and linking operations by using Lean, but also minimizing process variation by utilizing Six Sigma tools.”
As a result, a lot of companies are looking for a method that will allow them to combined both Lean and Six Sigma into an integrated structure or advance roadmap (Bertels, PP3). Mr. Bertels states the differences concerning the Lean and Six Sigma are intense and shows this in the following table:
| Table 1: Comparing Lean And Six Sigma | | | | |Lean |Six Sigma | |Goal |Create flow and eliminate waste |Improve process capability and eliminate variation | |Application |Primarily manufacturing processes |All business processes | |Approach |Teaching principles and "cookbook style" implementation |Teaching a generic problem-solving approach relying on | | |based on best practice |statistics | |Project Selection |Driven by Value Stream Map |Various approaches | |Length Of Projects |1 week to 3 months |2 to 6 months | |Infrastructure |Mostly ad-hoc, no or little formal training |Dedicated resources, broad-based training | |Training |Learning by doing |Learning by doing |
1: Comparing Lean And Six Sig
Building an incorporated advanced curriculum that incorporates both Lean and Six Sigma tools requires more than including a few Lean principles in a Six Sigma program or training Lean Experts as Black Belts (Bertels, PP4). An integrated improvement approach has to take into deliberation the differences and use them successfully: • Lean systems are very evident, noticeable, and can oftentimes be finished within a few days...
References: Bertels, Thomas (September, 2009). Capturing Financial Benefits From Lean Manufacturing.
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