The Concept of Lean Six Sigma Program Explained
For those of us who don't know, the concept of Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that relies on collaborative team effort as a means of improving performance by removing waste and reducing variation systematically and proactively.
Lean Six Sigma combines the concept of Lean and Six Sigma by allowing a synergy to be created between the two. One the one hand, the idea of Lean focuses on the elimination of waste; while on the other hand, Six Sigma prioritizes the quality improvement of processes by identifying errors and minimizing variability in these processes.
Together, they create a synergy where Lean identifies sources of process variation and Six Sigma reduces that variation. The methodology kick-starts a positive feedback cycle of constant improvement, streamlining operations and allowing for a continuous flow.
In other words, Lean Six Sigma can reduce an organization's overall costs by removing waste from processes and solving various problems caused by these processes.
What is Waste?
Waste, in this context, is any activity within a given process that isn't required for the manufacturing of a product or doesn't provide a service that is up to specification. Under the Lean methodology, there are eight types of waste, which can be best remembered via the DOWNTIME acronym. These eight wastes are:
Defects - It is the effort required to inspect for and fix errors.
Overproduction - Producing more than the customers or downstream processes require.
Waiting - The amount of idle time created when resources such as materials, people, information, or equipment are not ready.
Nonutilized Talent - When employees' talents, skills, and creativity are not properly leveraged.
Transportation - The moving of previously-mentioned resources without providing any additional value to the final product.
Inventory - The unnecessary storage of data and materials.
Motion - The unnecessary movement of people and resources that takes time and energy.
Extra Processing - Additional processing steps that do not add value to the product or service.
The DMAIC Framework
Six Sigma is a problem-solving methodology that significantly reduces the number of defective products or services provided, which results in increased customer satisfaction and revenue. To achieve this, Six Sigma uses the DMAIC framework. It stands for:
Define the problem and the objectives. It includes defining the customers and their Critical to Quality (CTQ) issues as well as the business processes involved.
Measure the performance of the business processes involved by collecting data from many sources and comparing it to survey results.
Analyze the data collected to determine the defect causes, as well as the opportunities for improvement.
Improve the process by creating better solutions to fix and prevent future problems.
Control these improvements to keep the process on the new course and not return to the old way of doing things.
Today's business environment is more dynamic than ever before, meaning that neither Lean nor Six Sigma can provide their full potential. But by integrating both of these methodologies can ensure significant improvements regarding process efficiency, resource optimization, and customer satisfaction, all the while reducing costs and increasing revenue.
At Titanium Cobra Solutions, we continually strive to implement the most effective methodologies, such as the Lean Six Sigma program. Our team of professionals works diligently to develop strategic plans and design frameworks that benefit our clients.