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The Rise of Lean Six Sigma Methodology

Now-a-days, most companies are insisting that their employees know more about Lean Six Sigma. As a result, there is a rush amongst professionals to get certified in the same. With the buzz increasing with each passing day, it is essential to understand the big deal around the hype. Take a look at this unprecedented rise in popularity of Lean Six Sigma and whether it is worthy of the cause, or not!
What is Lean Six Sigma:
Lean Six Sigma refers to a set of powerful tools and techniques that help an organization improve its efficiency and enhance the overall productivity quotient. Though the roots of this method can be found in manufacturing industries, it is now being applied to businesses across diverse laterals and industry verticals. The benefits of Lean Six Sigma include cost reduction, increased profit margins, short life cycles of relevant project processes, greater employee productivity and most importantly, improved customer service. These are the exact reasons why it is being increasingly implemented in almost every industry.
Lean Six Sigma Methodology:
Put in simple words, Lean Six Sigma is a process for solving any problem. There are five basic phases that are involved in Lean Six Sigma Methodology:
  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control
It is also known as DMAIC. The guidelines set by this will enable you to choose the right projects, at the most appropriate time. After the projects are selected, teams put in place, and the delivery time finalized, then, DMAIC can be used to refine project schedules and deliver desired results. At the very onset, selection of the right project is extremely important. A project should be selected if:
  • There is a problem within a process; 
  • There is potential to increase the revenue;
  • There is a possibility of reducing costs in a process;
  • There is collectable data, and so forth.
Once selected, the procedure of DMAIC has to be followed:
The Basics of DMAIC
D – Define:
The very first step relates to defining the problem. Typically, this relates to that one problem that requires fixation to improve upon the results. All project leaders and team members need to sit and discuss the problem, create a high level view of processes, and come to a conclusion on how the solution would benefit; so as to address the needs of their customers and all other stakeholders. The scope of the teams’ responsibility and the leaders should be set in this phase.
M – Measure:
Once the problem has been defined, it is important to map out the current processes. It is critical that the progress of every stage is measured.  The team has to focus on setting the baseline of the process and understanding the root cause of the problem on hand. All the necessary data has to be collected in this stage.
A – Analyze:
After defining and measuring the problem, it is essential to analyze the cause of the problem. Refer to the data collected in the previous stages. The data collected by different teams have to be analyzed thoroughly. This phase takes place simultaneously with the Measure phase, to save time. As and when the data is collected and measured, it is analyzed. The root causes of defects and wastes are verified in this stage.
I – Improve:
After all the analysis, managers have to improve the process by implementing the right solution. Once all the data is analyzed and the problem areas verified, it is time to sit on devising the proper solution. The team may come with improvement ideas throughout the life of the project; but then, having a solid base of initial ideas is necessary. Once the structure is in place, one can keep innovating on the same to give better solutions and results.
C – Control:
The data might be analyzed accurately and the team can assure that the solutions devised will definitely eliminate the problem and give good results, but all efforts will be wasted if the entire process is not controlled properly. In this phase, the team should document how they want to control each process, in order to follow the structure that has been set unanimously.
Way Forward…
Lean Six Sigma methodology ensures smoother operability and optimum results; via which one can be assured of better customer satisfaction. Setting out time for following this methodology will go a long way in ensuring success for every project.


Author : Uma Daga

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