We all would like to live in an environment where things could run smooth and without any errors. Reality is that this is not the case and we always face problems and difficulties to make things happen. By implementing Lean (flow) and Six Sigma (remove errors) you can install a culture of continuous improvement that will be able to reduce the number of errors and react more quickly to them.
The history of Lean and Six Sigma has joined recently but they have a separate history.
Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) introduced the concept of the normal curve and Six Sigma as a measurement standard in product variation can be traced back to the 1920’s when Walter Shewhart showed that three sigma from the mean is the point where a process requires correction. Many measurement standards (Cpk, Zero Defects, etc.) later came on the scene but credit for coining the term “Six Sigma” goes to a Motorola engineer named Bill Smith. (“Six Sigma” is a federally registered trademark of Motorola). They wanted to measure the defects per million opportunities and developed this new standard and created the methodology and needed cultural change associated with it. Six Sigma helped Motorola realize powerful bottom-line results in their organization – in fact, they documented more than $16 Billion in savings because of our Six Sigma efforts.
Most people associate Lean with Japan. The philosophy known as Lean was not developed in Japan. Aspects of Lean were being developed and used in the U.S. back to the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. Lean did not really begin at Toyota. Lean thinking and tools were developed over nearly two centuries, but Toyota was one of the first to fit the tools together and turn it into a way of thinking (Lean Philosophy). Researchers at MIT came up with the term “Lean” after spending time observing the results of Toyota’s work in this area. Lean evolved in a similar manner as Six Sigma did at Motorola: putting tools together and calling it Six Sigma (DMAIC).
Objectives and Coverage of Lean Six Sigma (LSS):
Lean Six Sigma combines the benefits of a structural approach to solve problems (via DMAIC) with the objective of reduce any form of waste by implementing Lean principles. By implementing Lean Six Sigma into your organization you need to be ready to change the way your organization operates. If you think about Lean Six Sigma as the implementation of certain tools to run projects and / or to show results at the manufacturing flow, then you will not be able to obtain the maximum potential that LSS brings you. Be prepared to get the support from your Top Management to maximize the benefits, otherwise it will fail. You must change the DNA on how you operate otherwise it will not be sustainable in future.
What can you expect from a Lean Six Sigma introduction? You will learn the basis of the different tools use during the Define Measure Analyze Improve and Control and which are the main Lean tools that will allow your processes to run smoothly. Standard Work, Visual Control tools, Single Minute Exchange of Die and many others will change the way you look at your operations.
Felix Jimenez is an operational excellence leader with extensive experience in managing global supply chain projects with proven track record in building high performing, multicultural teams to drive business transformations. He has orchestrated projects at all levels of the organization utilizing Lean Six Sigma methodology as a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article is for information only and is not offered as advice. Readers are encouraged to consult a suitably qualified professional adviser to obtain advice tailored to their specific requirements.