Lean Six Sigma — An Enabler
As a content management professional, I kept focusing more on content writing, editing, managing various spreadsheets, approving images post cross-check and the like. One day, something struck me. This awakening occurred when I was juggling several tasks at once. Google spreadsheets, is one of the most powerful tools as we know, but when it comes to tasks like knowledge management, data life cycle and total quality management, learning about the basics of Lean Six Sigma is an ultimate solution.
What is Lean Six Sigma?
In simple words, Lean Six Sigma is a quality management approach for continual improvement by removing waste at each level. Lean manufacturing came to the fore from the tussle between Japanese and occidental management practices. Six Sigma is a methodology for process improvement created during the 80s in Motorola. Lean Process Management is:
- applicable to creation of goods and services
- for introducing change for better
- is concerned with overall culture of quality than a single quality paradigm
Let’s quickly take a look at the five key elements of Total Quality Management.
- Ethics and integrity
- Training and teamwork
- Recognition and communication
Five key elements above are self-explanatory so I won’t dwell upon explaining each one of them in this blog. However, we can certainly discuss four major benefits of Total Quality Management. These four benefits are as follows:
- Improved employee engagement and morale
- Reduction in product costs
- Decreased cycle times
- More satisfied customers
*An interesting insight proves that before Total Quality Management, organizations used to see themselves as a set of departments but after Total Quality Management’s arrival, organizations began seeing themselves as one entity.
Lean Six Sigma puts across quality management approach with a set of fundamental characteristics that meet certain specifications.
- Customer expectations
- Brand expectations
Philip B. Crosby keeps the quality framework this way:
- Focus on prevention
- Align quality costs and resource allocation
- Zero defects theory
- Compliance with requirements
The traditional Six Sigma Method comprises the following steps:
- Identify problems
- Validate assumptions
- Brainstorm solutions
- Plan for implementation
Whereas, common Six Sigma Principles are:
- Customer-focused improvement
- Continuous process improvement
- Removing waste
- Equipping people
- Controlling the process
Benefits of combining Lean and Six Sigma:
- Increase in profit
- Standardized and simplified processes
- Decrease in error
- Employee performance
- Value to customer
Lean Six Sigma principles ask for consistency, hard work, clarity and strong will-power. Only a very few companies like Motorola, Toyota and GE (General Electric) have been able to successfully apply the principles of Lean Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma as an enabler, helped the above mentioned organizations deliver high-quality products to their customers by reducing waste and executing JumpStart Flow along with other very important processes namely Business Process Re-engineering (if necessary). When applied correctly, Lean Six Sigma can eventually empower a company/industry at any stage, at any point.