Business approaches and tools, including the most advanced and proven, must adapt with time to suit the company and market states. Six Sigma is one of these approaches with multiple disciplines and branches having advanced from the initial concept over time to adapt to new needs.
Lean Six Sigma combines management methods based on the Six Sigma principles and focuses on efficiency. Both methods aim to achieve more effective business processes with better yields but they differ in the goal realization process.
The goal of Six Sigma was to reduce the defect and variation rates in production using statistical analysis. It uses either the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) or DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify) method.
DMAIC entails identifying a problem, taking note of the existing processes, finding and implementing solutions, and maintaining those solutions in the long run. This approach is suitable for issues of the supply chain or when processes need to be adjusted with no need for a new function. The DMADV approach is used where there is a need to come up with a new solution and the distinction between the two approaches is realized at the design stage.
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The Lean approach
The lean approach focuses on waste elimination and offering optimal value to customers at the lowest possible investment amount. It is applicable in all tiers of an organization to guide new processes rather than adding value to existing processes. The Lean approach focuses less on manufacturing and shapes or business facets.
Lean Six Sigma uses the DMAIC method to get a roadmap for defining and solving organizational problems. The application of this approach helps to do away with different kinds of waste, including overproduction, defects, motion, extra processing, inventory, waiting, non-utilized talent, and transportation.
Business process distinction
The proponents of Six Sigma believe that waste in production processes arises from variation within processes. Six Sigma methodologies have helped to improve business performance in various industries. The approach is adaptive and innovative and is geared towards attaining the effectiveness and efficiency of business processes. It was initially designed by the Motorola Corporation and has emerged to become a successful business model in many industries.
The Lean Sigma proponents believe that unnecessary steps during production result in wastages. Such steps do not contribute to product value addition and therefore, they should be eliminated. Lean Six Sigma is suitable for companies that need to streamline their production processes and offer value to customers.
Six Sigma adopts the belt system to indicate the knowledge level of individuals and their understanding of Six Sigma theories. These include the white belt, yellow belt, green belt, and the master black belt.
It examines processes to identify errors leading to defective products or services. An individual with the master black belt certification demonstrates their ability to master the Six Sigma techniques and tools in examining business processes.
Lean is concerned with mapping out operations to identify the issues and considering all operational aspects with the end-user in mind. It addresses the question of whether an operation is beneficial to the end-users and whether it provides better products.