Lean Six Sigma- A Reliable Problem Solving Approach

Lean Six Sigma—which is an effective business management tactic, effectively combines the methodologies and processes linked to Lean and Six Sigma. It reduces waste while increasing productivity. Applying Lean properties in the design stage brings about a reduction in the quantum of wastage, by streamlining all processes in place. On the other hand, Six Sigma uses effective problem solving methods to help reduce waste too. An overview of these two techniques shows that they complement each other and work in tandem to reduce waste faster and more efficiently, than they would have individually.
Types of Waste Handled by Lean Six Sigma:
Lean methods foster Six Sigma techniques and helps in getting rid of eight different kinds of wastes in an organization, namely:
  • Defects
  • Overproduction
  • Waiting
  • Non utilized talent
  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Extra processing
Selecting the Right Project:
For reliable problem solving through this approach, it is important to recognize and select those kinds of projects that have a scope for improvement. An important characteristic of a good project is that it has an obvious problem within the process, which when solved, either increases revenue, decreases costs and/ or results in improved efficiency- all of which benefit the growth of the company.
The five phases of Lean Six Sigma- DMAIC:
DMAIC--an acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (which describes the five phases of Lean Six Sigma), is employed after a project has been chosen to work upon.  Working through each phase will help you understand the obvious nature of the problems on hand, and solve them effectively.
Define: The ‘Define’ phase involves the act of defining various parameters such as the problem statement, goal statement and maps of process; so as to better understand the requirement of specific customers/ clients.
Measure: This stage employs the services of data collection team members who are given directives to measure the current efficiency of varied processes, their waste factors and how waste can be eliminated. This data collection team is responsible for gathering accurate data from reliable sources.
Analyze: In the ‘Analyze’ stage, the team coverts raw data into charts and graphs, making it easier of them to analyze and work upon. The team also goes through an initial brainstorming process to detect the root of the problem, by using the cause and effect method.
Improve: In the ‘Improve’ phase, the team dwells into the possible solutions which might fix the problem by using weighted criteria matrix for the selection of the best possible solution. Thereafter, the solution is implemented and improvements are measured as per defined parameters.
Control: The control phase allows the team to work on methods that are responsible for effectively sustaining the newly improved model. The control phase looks into improving the existing conditions by incorporating newer models and techniques for sustaining the processes, and without any glitch.
Why Employ Lean Six Sigma Techniques?
Rising prices and increasing competition are the two most inevitable problems that businesses are tackling on a daily basis. Lean Six Sigma provides viable solutions to these problems and eases their burden.
  • Increases productivity and reduces costs: The Lean Six Sigma technique trains project managers and solution providers to skillfully buy, sell, manufacture and market their business/ products by streamlining the limited resources at their disposal. Lean Six Sigma identifies and cuts down on all the processes that do not participate actively in the production/ marketing of products/ services; thereby saving time and valuable resources
  • Increases efficiency: Proper streamlining of processes in line with Lean Six Sigma techniques helps in the allocation of work and resources, in an effective manner. This in turn improves the quality of the finished products/ services and increases the number of satisfied customers exponentially, based on an organization’s requirements
  • Helps develop skilled workforce: Lean Six Sigma instills a sense of accountability among all employees, and helps in the creation of a reliable work force. It helps employees realize their importance within the organization, and thereby increases their active participation and helps them deliver quality end products
Lean Six Sigma is the way to remain ahead in the rat race and is well worth the effort!


Author : Uma Daga

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Uma Daga