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How Lean And Six Sigma Complement And Each Other

Lean:

The concept of lean is still evolving and hence no one definition can be used. However, the main objective of a lean system is to produce services and products of the highest quality at the lowest cost and in the least amount of time. This is done by eliminating wastefulness. Waste in terms of lean is “anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, parts, space and time which are absolutely essential to add value to the product” (Russell and Taylor, 2000). These forms of waste are noted to be transport, inventory, motion, waiting, over processing, overproduction, and defects. In recent years this definition has had environmental, economic and social constraints added to it as well. Applying the concept of Lean requires the maximum involvement of people with the help of methods such as Kanban, Total productive Maintenance, 5S.

Six Sigma:

Six Sigma is a structure set within an organization to achieve strategic objectives and improve process performance by eliminating the root causes of the defects. A five-phase algorithm called the DMAIC cycle is typically used to implement Six Sigma. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. After stating the problem in the define phase, specific tools and methods are used to measure the current state of the problem which are then analyzed to find the root causes. These root causes are then removed, hence improving the system. In the control phase the improvements and the Critical-To-Quality (CTQ) characteristics are measured. As is the case with Lean, this concept is also still evolving and many believe that environmental safety, social integrity must be added to achieve Six Sigma. There have been studies conducted on the environmental effect Six Sigma has, and it’s proven to have improved environmental sustainability.

Lean Six Sigma:

Lean Six Sigma is a combination of Lean and Six Sigma philosophies; this combination aims to eliminate the flaws in both. Lean Six Sigma is a business strategy and methodology that increases process performance, develops customer satisfaction, leadership and bottom line results by improving quality, speed and costs. It is the best-known hybrid continuous improvement methodology and is used by many organizations to become more competitive.

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