What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is often misunderstood. Six Sigma can simply be described as a method of solving a problem efficiently. Six Sigma helps reduce the number of defective products or services that are manufactured, which results in higher revenue and customer satisfaction. Six Sigma was originally developed for the manufacturing industry. Six Sigma is now used by insurance companies, financial services providers, healthcare providers, and other organizations that place customer satisfaction as a priority.
Six Sigma is named after a statistical concept. To fully understand it, one must have some statistics background. Simply put, consider a situation in which a process produces 3.4 defects per million chances (DPMO). Six Sigma can also be viewed as a goal that processes encounter fewer defects and do so consistently (low variance).
Six Sigma was originally designed for large manufacturing companies, but it is now being used by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Six Sigma tools and processes are easier to implement in smaller organizations. Additionally, an SMB’s process time cycle is shorter, so Six Sigma implementation can be more effective earlier.
No matter what size and industry an organization/business is, the benefits of implementing Six Sigma are infinite: Six Sigma increases revenue and reduces costs, while freeing up resources that can be applied toward other profit-boosting projects.
Is Lean Six Sigma the exact same as Six Sigma? These are different methodologies, but they are closely related.
Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that combines Six Sigma and Lean Speed. It was first published in 2002 in a book by Robert Lawrence Jr. In its core approach, Lean Six Sigma prioritizes collaborative team effort to boost performance by systematically removing what is called ‘waste’: unnecessary/inefficient actions and other challenges that hamper the process.
This methodology combines the principles of Six Sigma and lean manufacturing to recognize 8 types of waste (also known as muda).
* Defects* Overproduction* Waiting* Non-utilized talent* Transportation* Inventory* Motion* Extra-processing (downtime)
What does a Lean Six Sigma Project look like?
Lean Six Sigma projects combine the Lean’s waste elimination approach with the Six Sigma focus quality characteristics and improving process outcomes. Lean Six Sigma uses the DMAIC toolkit which combines all the Six Sigma and Lean tools. Lean Six Sigma methodology combines the best of both worlds.
Training and certification in Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma training is based on the belt system, just like Six Sigma. There are five levels of expertise: master black belts (master black belts), yellow belts (white belts), green belts (green belts), black belts (black belts) and yellow belts (yellow belts). This logic is similar for karate and other martial art where the black belt is the highest degree of expertise and mastery.
Each belt level has a set of skill sets that describes which Lean Six Sigma tools will be used at that level. These skill sets give a detailed description about the learning elements that a participant will have after completing a training program. These learning elements can be applied at different levels. This reflects the responsibilities and requirements of each belt in a sigma project.
The Lean Six Sigma certification process doesn’t rely on a central certification body. These certifications can be done by both employers and independent providers for their employees.
Implementing a Lean Six Sigma strategy within an organization can take several years and require sufficient investments, including time and financial resources.
What is Six Sigma?