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Lean Six Sigma Methodologies

Aug 17, 2007
Lean 6 Sigma helps because it allows companies to reduce operational costs by identifying and eliminating steps or procedures that add little or no value to a business process. Companies can easily improve quality and efficiency just by combining the basic concepts of 6 Sigma with the principles of Lean 6 Sigma.

Understanding Lean Six Sigma

In industry circles, Lean 6 Sigma is termed in many different ways such as Lean Service, Lean Manufacturing, and Lean Enterprise depending on the type of methodology being utilized. Lean Six Sigma principles can be implemented along with other 6 Sigma concepts in any type of company, be it a manufacturing company or a service provider. When Lean 6 Sigma concepts and methodologies are implemented, it helps organizations to speed up their business processes without affecting the quality of the outcome.

As business processes are optimized, it becomes much easier for companies to reduce operational costs related to the maintenance of additional inventory of both raw materials and finished goods. Optimized business processes then enable companies to clear customer orders within the specified time and budget. Just as with standard 6 Sigma, Lean 6 Sigma also stresses providing the requisite training to employees so that they become familiar with the tools and techniques that will be utilized during the implementations. Lean sigma also encourages key mentors and senior management personnel to understand the basics so that the implementations can be executed without affecting the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Benefits Of Lean Six Sigma

Lean 6 Sigma involves the use of advanced tools and techniques that help companies to reduce operational costs, reduce production cycle times, expand existing capacity, and improve overall productivity. It makes use of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) for identifying improvement opportunities that exist in a business process. However, VSM has limited use and other advanced analysis tools are required for resolving complicated implementation issues.

When combined with standard 6 Sigma concepts, Lean 6 Sigma helps in identifying and resolving quality issues that are vital for attracting and retaining customers. Offering quality products or services in turn helps in developing customer loyalty that is vital for the success of any business, large or small. However, for realizing the full potential of the implementations, it is important to execute Lean Six Sigma projects under the guidance of 6 Sigma Black Belts and 6 Sigma Champions.

In the past, increased competition forced companies to deploy quality improvement techniques such as Six Sigma. With customers demanding more quality, companies had no other option but to deploy even more effective quality improvement techniques such as Lean 6 Sigma. Quality improvements are an ongoing process and we never know what new techniques will be developed in the future that may replace both Six Sigma and Lean 6 Sigma.
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 lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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