Understanding the principles of ‘Lean’ and ‘Six Sigma’

Do you know what ‘Lean’ is in business processes? Have you tried incorporating lean principles into any of your business processes to ward off the cost incurred via non-value and redundant processes?

Lean principle is a set of defined rules that assist in speeding up any business process by cutting off the redundant and non-value adds processes which unnecessarily emaciate quality time. Lean principles start with by finding the lead time involved in any business process. ‘Lean’ principles constitute tools and mechanisms to avoid non-value add processes thereby speeding up the pace of the current project.

Six Sigma is a methodology that operates on DMAIC principle thereby solving defects existing in a business process. It does not however contain any tool to accelerate the process under consideration.

In brief, Lean principles reduce the lead time and speed up the process while Six Sigma practice helps in ensuring the quality of the business process.

Read one of our previous post on ‘Lean Six Sigma’ to know how companies have embraced the concept of Lean Six Sigma to cut out waste and increase productivity while sustaining quality!

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Dear Priya,

Your last two postings on lean six sigma strike me to be off the mark. I’ve hesitated to comment on them thinking that I might be misunderstanding what you have written. While lean can be described from the perspective of the action principles, it is certainly not the way Toyota teaches it to their employees. In my conversation with Gary Convis he stressed — repeatedly emphasized — that the heart of the lean approach was the systematic elimination of overburdening, variation, and waste as the mechanism for developing employees. People routinely switch the ends with the means…the lean approach is about growing the staff. That is why the kaizen activities are managed by the VP of Human Resources rather than the VP of Operations.

Let’s help people put their attention where it will produce the biggest payoffs…in the long term. The engineer in all of us is attracted to the lean principles and practices. What we need is more attention to the people in the business.