Six Sigma and Lean Thinking

 Lean is about focus.  Sounds easy doesn’t it. not value. removing waste.  Adding value is another way of saying generating revenue.a way of viewing the world. and increasing customer value. this is what we do every day… or is it? Let’s see.Lean Thinking  What is Lean Thinking anyway?  As the name implies. . it is really a mindset -.  Lean is about smooth process flows. I mean after all. doing only those activities that add customer value and eliminating all other activities that don’t.  If it doesn’t generate revenue then it must add cost.

doing only the things that add customer value and eliminating other activities that don’t (Waste). Improve the process (start over) .Lean Thinking Lean Thinking is about smooth process flows. There are five basic steps in assessing lean operations: 1. Determine the sequence of activities (also called the value stream) 3. Eliminate activities that do not add value 4. Identify the activities that create value 2. Allow the customer to “pull” products/services 5.

. job losing cycle and your process improvement program will grind to a halt.  What is needed is to balance the resources released through Lean or Six Sigma improvement programs with an increase in throughput and need for resources. Otherwise you enter a cost cutting.Lean Thinking  Lean Thinking is ideal for mature (energy).  Lean begins to use systems thinking and considers all of the process interactions  But lean is still a reductionist approach focused on eliminating waste (cutting costs). low transaction industries (small business) or an organization where mathematical tools are not common. slow growth (automotive).

Measure 3.Control Lean Thinking Non-value add is waste 1.Identify Value 2.Determine Flow 4.Define Pull 5.Define 2.Define Value Stream 3.Six Sigma Vs Lean Thinking Program View of Waste Six Sigma Variation is waste 1.Analyze 4.Improve Process Application Tools Focus Math-Statistics Problem focused Visualization Process flow focused .Improve 5.

and value stream mapping. on the other hand.  Six sigma uses statistics to understand variation. is focused on process flow and views any activity that does not add value as waste. to understand the process flow. flowcharting. .  Lean Thinking.Six Sigma Vs Lean Thinking  Six Sigma is problem focused with a view that process variation is waste.  Lean uses visuals: process mapping.

low transaction. slow growth.  The Theory of Constraints (throughput improvement) takes the concepts of Lean Thinking to another level of systems thinking . or non-math business then Lean Thinking will work real well for your organization.Lean Thinking  If you are in a mature.  Six Sigma and Lean use two different approaches to get the same end result – process improvement.

Lean Thinking There are five basic steps in assessing lean operations: 1. Improve the process (start over) . Determine the sequence of activities (also called the value stream) 3. Identify the activities that create value 2. Eliminate activities that do not add value 4. Allow the customer to “pull” products/services 5.

products made on demand.Lean Thinking -Example  For example. inventory. and then product could be shipped overnight for minimal shipping delay . and shipping delays  In a lean operation we could have the customer enter their own orders. the order-to-delivery cycle. let’s take a look at the most fundamental cycle within a lean operation. building the order. and delivering the order.  The activities that do not add value are such things as: order entry.  The top level activities. backlog. so we would have no backlog or inventory. in sequence. are taking an order.

Lean operations have a strong cash cycle.Lean Thinking -Example  Companies with very short order-to-delivery cycles (and not using inventory as a buffer) are lean operations. the shorter the cycle the leaner the operation.  In general. .

Lean Thinking Lean uses systems thinking and considers all of the process interactions. it does not require a lot of mathematical analysis and works well for mature. . Unlike Six Sigma. while utilizing the 5S system of organization. slow growth or low transactionbusinesses.

Six Sigma Six sigma is all about variance reduction. we are referring to the amount of control you have over your processes. high transaction. or expensive error environment then Six Sigma could work very well for your organization. Scientific and numbers-based organizations can benefit the most from Six Sigma. Another way to look at it is how good you are at or forecasting the future outcomes of a given process. Improve and Control. Six Sigma uses a scientific approach called DMAIC to analyze a specific problem. Analyze. . If you are in a high technology. which is also known as the learning loop or PDCA. Measure. DMAIC stands for Define. By variance.

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