Some processes are more amenable to Lean than Six Sigma, and vice versa. It comes down to the problems that are being addressed. In many cases, the best of both ‘toolkits’ is required. Hence, the emergence of practitioners who are both Lean and Six Sigma qualified and the development of hybridized curricula to train and certify them.
Faithfully and effectively practiced by qualified practitioners, Lean Six Sigma has been successfully employed in most industry sectors, from air traffic control, to commercial insurance underwriting, to hospital emergency departments.
If there is one thing that Lean Six Sigma professionals excel at, it is waste, or Muda in Japanese, and defects. Lean Six Sigma methods therefore, are ideally suited to processes where the improvement priorities are related to both quality and the customer value experience. Lean defines eight types of waste. One of them is underutilization or misapplication of skills. Lean therefore is not about reducing waste by eliminating people; on the contrary, it emphasizes the expert deployment of skills, optimized to deliver superior value relative to defined customer expectations.
Another waste in the Lean lexicon is re-work. The expression “you can run, but you can’t hide” is an apt descriptor for the Lean analytical, diagnostic and corrective tools that have been devised to root out and eliminate waste. “We have always done it that way” - rationalizations of wasteful practices wither under Lean’s relentless re-channelling of efforts to the better way.
Similarly, Six Sigma’s focus is the elimination of defects and the minimization of variation.
Lean’s close cousin is Six Sigma, which was first promulgated by Motorola and popularized by GE under Jack Welch. It’s focus on defect elimination in production processes, backed by rigorous statistical diagnostic, measurement and control methods, is not only powerful, it helps to explain the exceedingly low defect rates of countless “mission critical” products and services, such as aircraft engines and elective surgery.
Click here for an overview of Lean
Click here for an overview of Six Sigma
A Lean Six Sigma course outline might look like the following:
Lean and Six Sigma professionals who have the requisite training and project experience are highly valued by organizations having strong quality and execution missions. EZSigma Group offers a full suite of Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma courses and certification options for both initiates and advanced professionals.
Remember, certification standards matter to employers, so the coursework can be intense; but at the end of it you will know that your EZSigma Group certificate designates you as a Lean or Six Sigma resource that is equipped to deliver immediate value.