What is a Lean & Six Sigma Program?

Lean & Six Sigma program is a continuous improvement management strategy to improve the performance of an organization. It is a combination of both Lean Management and Six Sigma programs. Lean principles come from the Japanese manufacturing industry, especially Toyota in particular. In Toyota, it is normally called Toyota Production System (TPS). While, Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola, USA. The term six sigma came from statistical terminology. A six-sigma process means that 99.99966% of the products manufactured are statistically expected to be free of defects (3.4 defects per million).

lean-six-sigmaLean Management, which is promoted by Toyota, in which the focus is upon improving the “flow” of all the business processes and eliminating the wastes that exist within these processes. Some of the Lean Tools include Kanban pull system, 5 S, Total Productive Maintenance, production load leveling, error proofing (poka-yoke), Jidoka, Heijunka and many more.

On the other hand, Six Sigma objective is  to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in the business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, especially statistical tools. It also creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization (“Black Belts”, “Green Belts”, etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets (cost reduction or profit increase).

Therefore, Lean & Six Sigma is a hybrid of both the Lean and Six Sigma program utilizing the tools that exist in both of the program according to the needs of each individual organization. However, we must always remember that you don’t have to use all the tools that exists in both the Lean and Six Sigma program in order to be successful. Ultimately, Lean & Six Sigma program is to help your organization to be better.