“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” – Peter Drucker
Lean management, Six Sigma, and lean Six Sigma all walk into a bar. Lean management orders a Scotch. Six Sigma orders bourbon. Then lean Six Sigma orders a hot toddy. The bartender says, “So that’ll be a whisky, a whiskey, and a bit of both.”
Are you seriously writing another post about lean Six Sigma?
Yes. Yes, I am.
While you’d be forgiven for thinking that these methodologies are all essentially the same, it is important to remember that they are, indeed, separate. The principle of lean Six Sigma is simple: it combines the waste reduction and workflow efficiency of lean manufacturing with the defect-elimination process of Six Sigma.
To break it down:
- Lean: A method to reduce or eliminate any activity that doesn’t add value to a process (read more)
- Six Sigma: A system to create a defect-free process (read more)
- Lean Six Sigma: The best of both worlds used to eliminate process waste and variation (read more)
Some may say Six Sigma is outdated, or just another example of “business bullshit,” Process Street keeps lauding the benefits for one simple reason: lean Six Sigma works.
From Motorola to Amazon, Fortune 500s have been incorporating Six Sigma practices since the mid-80s. In the early 2000s, Dell, Inc. did the same and by 2004 had saved the company $1.5 billion in costs. In 2020, Dell Technologies reported total revenue of $92 billion and as well as the increasing popularity of their systems.
In this post, I’ll break down Lean Six Sigma into the five corresponding DMAIC process categories, and provide the most relevant tools for each stage. Feel free to jump ahead:
- Six Sigma tools: Define
- Six Sigma tools: Measure
- Six Sigma tools: Analyze
- Six Sigma tools: Implement
- Six Sigma tools: Control
- Final thoughts & further reading
Otherwise, dear reader, let’s begin!