Lean Six Sigma

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Lean Six Sigma organization structure

Lean Six Sigma is a managerial concept combining Lean and Six Sigma that results in the elimination of the eight kinds of wastes / muda (classified as Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-Utilized Talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Extra-Processing) and an improved capability of performance. The term Six Sigma is statistically based on the provision of goods and service at a rate of 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO). A mnemonic for the wastes is "DOWNTIME."[1]

The Lean Six Sigma concepts were first published in the book titled Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma with Lean Speed by Michael George and Peter Vincent in 2002. Lean Six Sigma utilises the DMAIC phases similar to that of Six Sigma. The Lean Six Sigma projects comprise the Lean's waste elimination projects and the Six Sigma projects based on the critical to quality characteristics. The DMAIC toolkit of Lean Six Sigma comprises all the Lean and Six Sigma tools. The training for Lean Six Sigma is provided through the belt based training system similar to that of Six Sigma. The belt personnel are designated as white belts, yellow belts, green belts, black belts and master black belts, similar to karate.

For each of these belt levels skill sets are available that describe which of the overall Lean Six Sigma tools are expected to be part at a certain Belt level. These skill sets provide a detailed description of the learning elements that a participant will have acquired after completing a training program. The level upon which these learning elements may be applied is also described. The skill sets reflects elements from Six Sigma, Lean and other process improvement methods like TOC (Theory of Constraints) and TPM (Total Productive Maintenance).

It seems very important to take into account in Lean Six Sigma projects also about automation. A rule of thumb coming from many years of application at GE is that the benefits of a Lean Sigma project come roughly 50% from organizational and layout modifications and 50% from digitization.

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