Is 1 + 1 = 2 or is there more to it? It is one of the frequently asked questions in our trainings:

"Why should we use Lean and 6 Sigma together?"

The concept of using Lean and Six Sigma together, both are the most commonly used among Operational Excellence tools, emerged in the early 2000s. The main purpose here is to enable organizations to use Lean's efficiency-enhancing and lead-time-shortening tools, as well as 6 Sigma's variability-reducing and quality-enhancing methods. In this way, both efficiency and quality will be improved.

Although Lean 6 Sigma seems to be Lean tools scattered on 6 Sigma Project Management Methodology (DMAIC), it actually enables people who master both methods to have a much wider perspective. A good Lean 6 Sigma Project Leader (Black, Green, Yellow Belt) can:

  1. By combining the principle of 6 Sigma's strategy based project selection with the Lean's top priority tool Value Flow Mapping, it determines the real business issues beyond the needs of the departments.

  2. 6 Sigma's financial analysis tool reveals the importance of the improvements to be realized by accurately calculating the expected and actual returns of the projects.

  3. With 6 Sigma's assigned project leader (belt owner) and project owner (champion) roles, the people who will be responsible for the improvements are clearly stated.

  4. The projects are realized by using the shop floor investigation skill (Genchi Genbutsu) of Lean and statistical skills of 6 Sigma together. For example, you can use Regression analysis in a Lean SMED Kaizen, or more detailed factors can be revealed with a shop floor investigation while determining the inputs (xs) in a 6 Sigma project.

  5. With the Kaizen approach of Lean, it is ensured that 6 Sigma projects can get faster results.

As a result, by using Lean and 6 Sigma together, the result of 1 + 1 equation is much greater than 2.

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