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Demystifying the Demystification of Lean Six Sigma


As an ardent advocate for applying Lean Six Sigma to drive opportunities for organizational excellence, I have frequently been asked, "What is Lean Six Sigma, and what value does it offer businesses?" This article presents a summary perspective of this crucial business methodology and its potential to serve as a powerful tool for achieving end-to-end process improvement.


Six Sigma Methodology: What is it?

The Six Sigma methodology is a process improvement strategy that has gained widespread popularity in the business world. It aims to minimize process variation and enhance process control, making it ideal for organizations looking to improve product and service quality, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.

The Six Sigma process involves five phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC). 


  • In the Define Phase, project goals and objectives are established, and the scope of a project is defined. 

  • The Measure Phase involves gathering data and establishing a baseline for the process being analyzed. 

  • The Analyze Phase involves identifying the root causes of any defects or problems that have been identified. 

  • In the Improve Phase, potential solutions are developed and tested to address the identified issues. 

  • Finally, the Control Phase involves implementing the solutions and monitoring the process to ensure the improvements are sustained over time.


The Lean Methodology: What Comparatively is this?

The Lean methodology, on the other hand, is a process improvement approach that focuses on eliminating waste and promoting work standardization and flow. It is centered around the principle of continuous improvement, which involves regularly assessing and refining processes. This is achieved through the use of tools such as value stream mapping, 5S, and Kaizen events.


The Combined Importance of Lean Six Sigma

The distinction between Six Sigma and Lean has become less clear over time, as organizations have found that combining these two methodologies can be highly effective. The term "Lean Six Sigma" is now commonly used to describe this hybrid approach. 

By combining the data-driven approach of Six Sigma with the focus on waste reduction and continuous improvement of Lean, organizations can achieve significant improvements in quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

In effect, Lean Six Sigma is a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of improvement that values defect prevention over defect detection. It is an approach that drives customer satisfaction and bottom-line results by reducing variation, waste, and cycle time while promoting the use of work standardization and flow, thereby creating a competitive advantage.


The quality of work produced in any given workday defines the extent to which there is an opportunity to engage in optimum production the following day. By applying Lean Six Sigma principles to any area where variation and waste exist, every employee can be involved in identifying areas for improvement and contributing to the organization's success.

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Here's a learning and skills enrichment resource you may find helpful - Lean Six Sigma Management Level 1 

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