Six sigma methodology is used predominantly to get rid of defects and improve operational efficiency. It aims at reducing defects by reducing variations in set processes. Reduced defects ultimately lead to increased efficiency. At times, variations in process do not lead to identification of defects. In such cases dependence on Six Sigma for better operational efficiency proves no good.
Six Sigma methodology, combined with Lean approach, makes identification of defects easier. Lean methodology helps in getting rid of waste derived out of non-necessary analysis. The defects attributable to non-necessary analysis are captured by means of implementing Lean methodology. The Lean and Six Sigma approaches hand in hand, result in even more detailed identification and reduction of process defects.
The process to be improved by the implementation of must be broken down in two parts. The part which has defects relating to variation must be improved by Six Sigma. The parts with defects relating to waste must be improved by Lean approach.
Another more prevalent approach to get best of both Lean and Six Sigma methodology is step by step implementation. First, any process must be weighed against Lean methodology. Those aspects of the process are pin pointed which do not create any value and unnecessarily bog down the process. After the process waste is eradicated and it is Lean enough, it is weighed against Six Sigma methodology. Variations in process are identified and defects which arise due to those variations are eradicated.
To get the better results of combining lean and Six Sigma methodologies proper categorization of defects is very important. Defects that Six Sigma methodology identifies, must be categorized specifically under 7 waste reduction steps of Lean Methodology. These are:
Rejects – The documentation defects are categorized under this waste reduction step.
Transportation – Unnecessary movement of documents is categorized into it.
Over Production – Defects which arise due to doing work which is not required or duplication of work is categorized into it.
Waiting – Defects and delays which arise due to halts in the process are categorized into it.
Over Processing – Defects which arise due to multiple levels of processing, reviews and checks are categorized into it.
Movement – Defects which arise due to unnecessary movement of people are categorized into it.
Inventory – Defects which arise due to accumulation of work are categorized into it.
This Lean methodology based classification of defects is very helpful in getting solutions to real life problems. This helps in efficient capturing of all the defects possible in a process. Defining of the defects is very important before getting started with the measurement and analysis. Also both the measurement and analysis will be more accurate if those are defined as per the Lean methodology waste reduction steps. This will lead to better process improvement steps taken under Six Sigma methodology.
Lean and Six Sigma provide creative ways of solving real life issues by identifying the issues and providing different ways to solve them. It gives newer and better perspective of looking at problems and improved and different ways to solve them.
There is a common stigma about the implementation of Lean Six Sigma. Many organizations are hesitant to implement it. The reason these organizations cite is that they are too small for such a methodology. These organizations must give thought to the fact that they are small. If they think that whatever approach they are following, be it either Lean or Six Sigma or none of the two, is working perfectly fine, then what is the reason they are still small. Then they will realize the importance of the combination of these two methodologies.
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