Lean & Six Sigma? Everything you Need to Know

An introduction to the principles of Lean and Six Sigma and the implementation of these techniques within business management strategy

The Lean Methodology

The Lean methodology is designed to streamline essential organizational processes by eliminating waste, variation and non-value-adding tasks, all without interrupting the delivery of end products to customers. It aims to foster an atmosphere of ‘continuous improvement’, both by delivering the tools and methodologies required to reassess important processes and by motivating key actors towards the shared goal of full optimization.

Rather than focusing on specific processes within business and IT, Lean is designed to remove waste across value streams regardless of factors like industry or company size. It works by constantly considering consistently-present contributing factors, such as time, effort, finance and, of course, human error.

While this may sound like a generalized approach, it actually presents one of Lean’s key selling points: fluidity. These factors are valid regardless of the industries or end products in question. They also remain constant even as industries, technologies and customer demands change. As such, not only can Lean help companies to optimize themselves in the present, it can also prepare them to continue adapting and improving further down the line.

Adopting the Lean approach allows organizations to eliminate waste along entire value streams (as opposed to isolated points only). Lean improves business processes in terms of human error, effort, time and finance.

Business process improvement will help organizations to optimize their costs by creating products and services with fewer defects in comparison to a traditional business approach. Therefore, lean-thinking organizations are able to provide more value to their customers without compromising on quality.

They will be able to respond to changing trends and customer demands, offering a wide variety of high quality products at a fraction of the cost and time required by traditional, non-lean thinking organizations.

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The Six Sigma Methodology

When a certain process is used continuously, especially in business, it is important to refine it to the point where errors are unlikely to ever occur. Not only will this help to maintain a consistent level of quality for end products, but it will also help to increase employee morale, as well as consumer confidence. This is the purpose of Six Sigma, a system designed to refine processes until the probability of error has reached near-zero.

To put it simply, Six Sigma singles out any defects present within processes which create products or services, before resolving them. This is driven by an understanding of customer needs and process analysis, along with diligent attention to managing, improving and reinventing each and every step, from customer service to product delivery. This removes any ‘process variation’, until the organization’s methodology is as defect-free as possible.

The aim of Six Sigma is to bring your production to the benchmark of no more than 3.4 defects per million parts. The data driven approach of Six Sigma is reliable, tested and proven over many decades.

Through the use of data collection and statistical tools such as pareto charts, histograms, and fishbones, Six Sigma allows you to get a handle on the amounts of defects and deviations in your current processes. It then gives you ways to dig through the data, find the root causes, and improve processes so that these values improve in turn.

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How can an Lean and Six Sigma Help my Business?

Combining the methodologies of Lean and Six Sigma can result in a number of benefits for enterprises, regardless of whether they deal in manufacturing processes, digital services or anything else. The process works across 5 phases:

  • Define - Define the problem in question

  • Measure - Quantify the problem

  • Analyze - Identify the cause of the problem

  • Improve - Implement and verify a solution

  • Control - Maintain this solution going forward

There are also a number of ‘roles’ within Lean and Six Sigma, based on the various certification levels for practitioners.

  • Lean Six Sigma White Belt - You understand the basic structure and goals of LSS, including the vocabulary. You will be able to report any process issues to green or black belt holders

  • Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt - You can contribute within project teams and receive further in-house training on LSS as necessary. You will be able to report process issues to green or black belts in your organization

  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt - You can start and manage LSS-based projects, with enough expertise to provide just-in-time training to those with lower-level qualifications

  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt - You only need to report to master black belt holders. You will have advanced expertise in LSS, allowing you to coach, mentor, teach and lead teams for process improvement projects

  • Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt - You will work with leaders to identify problems and create new improvement projects. You can also coach, mentor, teach, monitor and lead teams of lower-level practitioners. You will be responsible for LSS implementation, as well as instigating any required cultural changes

  • Lean Six Sigma Champion - You are an executive leader who can take the initiative in LSS projects. As well as choosing the projects for practitioner teams, you will also know how to support change and develop a true LSS culture within your organization

Why Gain a Lean or Six Sigma Certification with Good e-Learning?

Good e-Learning provide everything you need to revolutionize your company’s processes, or even to take the next step in your career with both Lean and Six Sigma Green Belt Certification courses.

All of our courses are created by industry experts and come bundled with practice exams, 24-7 support, professional graphics and videos and even interactive content. Best of all, they are compatible with desktop, mobile and tablet devices to allow you to study at your own pace.

Good e-Learning currently offers a number of Quality Management courses:

Good e-Learning is also the best company on the market for any organization looking to upskill teams, departments or even an entire workforce. Our courses are built around our customers, ensuring that employees can learn at their own pace and apply their knowledge in a practical environment.

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