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Benefits Of Integrating Six Sigma And Lean Manufacturing

Aug 20, 2008
Six Sigma is the most common improvement tool for businesses. Combined with lean manufacturing to form lean Six Sigma, it helps businesses achieve great results. Integrating the two can bring out very powerful and methodical tools that facilitate minimizing wastage of efforts taken on the development of ideas that may not be justified.

At the same time, Lean manufacturing provides some good improvement tools that fit into the Improve phase of Six Sigma. The integrated approach has the advantages of both the methodologies and is ideal for manufacturing business that aims at the elimination of waste and higher productivity.

Improved Quality and Reduced Defects

With the elimination of batch or lot production and concentrating on one product at a time, efficiency in operations goes up. With the batch being of a single item, the cost on storing, moving, handling is reduced.

If a defect is identified in a single item, then the corrective step can be taken and defects can be eliminated in further batches. A quick analysis to understand if standard processes were followed can be undertaken and corrective measures implemented.

Reduced Waste

The Lean way eliminates batch production wherein the possibility of defects is high. With reduced defects the wastage of raw material and other products is reduced.

It is not just the elimination of waste in production, but also the elimination of the time wasted on unproductive activities and tasks. The focus is on meeting the demands of the customer.

Improved Productivity

By applying Lean manufacturing, there are proven improvements in productivity. This is the result of the time and effort of employees that manufacture items according to demand, without distractions and disturbances by objects in the workplace.

Reduced Inventory

This integrated approach helps bring about a reduction in inventory. This is because inventory maintenance systems are such that production of goods is done in tandem with demand, and excessive production is avoided.

Additionally, it also helps to reduce the inventory carrying costs. With a smaller product batch production and storage, defects can be easily identified and eliminated. With Lean manufacturing, the manufacturing costs drop and improved inventory management allows for more floor space.


Customer demands are ever changing. With Lean manufacturing, greater flexibility can be achieved. This is because product life cycles are shorter, which allows businesses to respond more quickly to market changes.

Safe Work Environment

The last but not least, the integration of Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing helps brings about safer ways for storing and movement. With fewer inventory, there is reduced clutter and an opportunity to improve equipment layout.

With a standard set of processes, employees are aware of the location of things they need and do not have to move around unnecessarily, which gives rise to the possibility of accidents. The overall morale of the employees is improved, as immediate feedback is possible on production.

Such projects change the manufacturing unit into a productive and efficient unit. It is a never-ending journey for improvements.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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