The goal of Lean is to eliminate waste which in turn improves quality and reduces production time and cost. But ‘waste’ sounds vague, isn’t?
Taiichi Ohno of Toyota introduced a concept to help know what constitute a waste. He called this concept ‘muda’. Muda is a Japanese word that means ‘wastes’.
Taiichi actually identified seven types of waste. Later, another one was added, making it a total of eight. The eight types of waste are:
Did you find a pattern? I’m sure you did. DOWNTIME is a mnemonic you can use to remember the types of waste.
To know the meaning of each type of waste, please visit our ‘Lean Six Sigma methodology’ page.
There are principles that help people to put the Lean framework into practice. These principles are:
To know more about these principles, please visit our ‘Lean Six Sigma methodology’ page.
Tools and Techniques
Lean tools and techniques help professionals to carry out process improvement tasks and activities. Some of the tools and techniques used in Lean include:
VSM (Value stream mapping)
Gemba (Go & See)
Just in Time:
To know more about these tools and techniques, please visit our ‘Lean Six Sigma methodology’ page.
There are principles in Six Sigma, just as we have for Lean. However, Six Sigma principles are different from Lean. The Six Sigma principles are:
Be proactive in eliminating waste and continually improve processes.
Prevent defects by reducing or removing variation.
Be flexible, adaptive and thorough
Ensure your processes flow smoothly
Understand how work gets done and identify the root causes of
problems or defects.
Always focus on customer requirement.
Work collaboratively with others. Engage everyone in your team.
This is an approach that helps to improve an already existing process. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control.
Sometimes people confuse DMAIC with DMADV. DMADV is an approach that is used to design a new process. It is often referred to as DFSS (Design For Six Sigma).
DMADV stands for Define, Measure, Analyse, Design, and Verify.
To know more about DMAIC and DMADV, please visit our ‘Lean Six Sigma methodology’ page.
Six Sigma tools and techniques
Again, the tools and techniques used in Six Sigma are different from those used in Lean. Some of the tools and techniques used in Six Sigma include:
Design of Experiment
To know more about Six Sigma tools and techniques, please visit our ‘Lean Six Sigma methodology’ page.
Lean and Six Sigma are two different process improvement and quality improvement methodologies. Both address two different things. Lean focuses on the elimination of waste, while Six Sigma focuses on the reduction of mistakes or defects. In addition, Lean and Six Sigma started at different times. Also, the principles, tools, and techniques used in both are different.
In conclusion, the next time you are asked; ‘is Lean and Six Sigma the same?’, I am sure you will know what to say.