Lean Six Sigma Explained

Lean Six Sigma is a popular process & quality management methodology that raises a number of questions from candidates and their employers alike. In spite of the popularity of Lean Six Sigma, there is still a lot of confusion about this methodology.

Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma and Design for Six Sigma are Three Different Methodologies

Six Sigma and Design for Six Sigma will be covered in other section of this website. Here, we will focus on Lean Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma process management methodology is a mashup of Lean and Six Sigma. The idea behind Lean Six Sigma is to remove so-called 'waste', such as unnecessary steps, inefficient actions, unused talent and other aspects that low down the process and hurt its efficiency. As a result, organizations achieve better productivity and improved cost-efficiency. Lean Six Sigma puts special emphasis on the collaborative team effort to boost performance as the waste is removed and teamwork gets faster and more streamlined.

In the Lean Six Sigma methodology, the ultimate goal is to promote "business and operational excellence". International companies rely Lean Six Sigma to focus transformation efforts not just on efficiency but also on growth. Lean Six Sigma can be a foundation for innovation throughout the organization, from manufacturing and software development to sales and service delivery functions.

Lean Six Sigma recognizes 8 types of waste:

  • Defects
  • Overproduction
  • Waiting
  • Non-utilized talent
  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Extra-processing (downtime)

To recognize, identify and remove the waste to improve process outcomes, Lean Six Sigma professionals work in small tightly knitted teams. The teams are led by Lean Six Sigma Black Belts. Other team members have their roles assigned to them according to their levels of experience. In Lean Six Sigma, each level of experience is associated with a belt color – just like in karate. Therefore, there can be Master Black Belt (trainer), Black Belt (team leader), Green Belt, Yellow Belt and White belt. Every belt has its own formal certification requirements, and the list of topics each level should be proficient with is available from Lean Six Sigma certification providers.

When it comes to Lean Six Sigma certification, it is worth keeping in mind that just like with Six Sigma, there is no centralized body for Lean Six Sigma certifications. Most Lean Six Sigma professionals are certified by their employers who have already adopted this methodology.

Browse this website to learn more about Lean Six Sigma