When you want to streamline your business processes and improve your results, there will be advisors suggesting you to adopt different methodologies like Lean, Six Sigma, and Lean Six Sigma. But, which one you should choose is of utmost importance. And for this, it is important to understand all these processes, and how they differ from one another. So, let us begin.
Lean is a set of problem solving tools that can reduce or eliminate those processes that don’t add value to the organization. This includes removing wasteful steps and adopting only valuable processes, which ultimately results in high quality and thus, customer satisfaction. Valuable processes include those that add value to the process and are essential for improving productivity and quality, and also those that may not add value for the customer, but are necessary for the continuity of a business process. Which processes add value for you and which are considered as waste depend upon the type of business process you run. Using Lean, you can remove eight types of waste that can result in downtime. These include defects, over production, waiting time, non-utilized talent, unnecessary transportation, excess inventory, unnecessary movement, and extra processing. And to eliminate these wastes, you will have to apply the five basic principles of lean, which are –
- Value stream mapping, which shows the workflow process steps for a product/service, and helps to identify and eliminate non-value adding processes, which in turn reduces delays and improves service quality.
- System beat time, which is the rate at which a product should be ready to meet customer demand, which ensures smooth workflow without interruptions.
- Root cause analysis, which finds the root cause of waste in a process.
- Balancing and workflow management, which allow easy workflows wherein the production system must be able to handle customer demands at any time. This also involves replacing material used for building a product, and helps to remove excess inventory too.
- System improvement, which believes that consistent efforts improve the existing business process as per changing customer needs, and removes waste while providing quality service to customers.
Six Sigma is a problem solving methodology that is driven by data and focuses on process variations and customer satisfaction. The main aim of this methodology is continuous process improvement with least number of defects. To be specific, the methodology of Six Sigma aims for processes to be 99.99996% defect-free. This means that with Six Sigma, a process results in 3.4 defects per million opportunities or less! The main approach used to bring Six Sigma into effect is DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control). You can sign up for Six Sigma Certification in India with a professional like TQMI if you want to understand and grasp the skills of improving quality of your business processes by eliminating defects.
Lean Six Sigma
As you may have already guessed, Lean Six Sigma is a combination of Lean and Six Sigma, and thus the principles of Lean Six Sigma help to improve the efficiency and quality of a process by eliminating waste and defects. Here, the first method used is Lean which removes the wastes within a process. After that, Six Sigma tools are used to improve process variations. Both these processes when combined together develop a highly streamlined process with high quality that results in rapid changes in an organization’s performance. Because of this benefit, Lean Six Sigma has found wide application across various different industry types. Practitioners of Lean Six Sigma are given Belts signifying their level of experience, namely White Belt, Yellow Belt, Green Belt Black Belt, and Master Black Belt. TQMI can also help you in achieving any and all levels from these Belts (depending upon where you stand at present) if you sign up for its recognized Lean Six Sigma Certification in India.