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Lean before Six Sigma

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  • #45967

    Fidel Castro
    Participant

    If a company is doing well & considering a quality / continuous improvement program, do you think that lean would be a better program to start with rather than six sigma?

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    #151184

    Simon W
    Member

    Dear Fidel,
    It depends on what process in this company.
    Normally, I think you may introduce Lean and Six Sigma together. Because you can benefit more than whatever Lean or SixSigma.
     
    Hope assists,
    Simon W

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    #151185

    PK
    Participant

    Dear Fidel,
    I very much agree with Mr Simon and just to add few more lines:
    Since Lean is all about elimination of wastes in the processes, is mainly related to SPEED and Six Sigma is reduction of defects in business processes, is mainly related to ACCURACY. Hence, if both the things are carried out simultaneously will prove to be more fruitful for the organization.
    Thanks.
    PK

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    #151188

    Olawunmi Sarumi
    Participant

    In my own opinion, lean exposes the problem (VSM) and Six Sigma is an excellent methodology that helps solve problem.
    Hope it helps

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    #151190

    Alessandro R C Raulino
    Participant

    I’m fully agreed with these answers.
    Additionally another advantage to start the both initiative together is the culture change in the level of operations and transactional at the same time. Well done one initiative must help the other one.
    But on the other hand you need to manage this two initiative planning and implementation in a good way avoiding conflicts of resources allocation and unclear objectives. I hope it could help you.
    Best wishes
     
    Alessandro Rogerio Couto Raulino

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    #151193

    Chi Givara
    Participant

    You  have  to  use  a  mixture  of  both methodologies.

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    #151197

    Fidel Castro
    Participant

    How many companies used both methodologies in their rollouts? When you study companies like GE, Honeywell, BOA, and etc., they appeared to be focused on Six Sigma methods.
    Lets say you can do a multi-year rollout of methodologies, If you could start with one methodology and it’s vernacular, which one would you start with and why?
    Remember in my original post, the company is doing well. There are no burning platforms, at the moment.

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    #151211

    Adam
    Participant

    While the answer is probably one of opinion, I’ll throw in my two cents.
    I think Lean is a better concept to begin with for a company that is just introducing continuous improvement.  It’s relatively easier to do and provides some quick hit improvements which I feel is essential for buy in from the organization.  Plus it reduces the number of steps which will help out when dealing with variation problems during the Six Sigma phase.  Plus it gives you something to do while training people in the Six Sigma methodology so you can jump in to find out who really wants to make the program work and use those people for the advanced training in Six Sigma.
    But as I said before, it’s really an opinionated question.  I’m sure someone could reasonably argue the opposite of what I said.
    Good luck either way!
    Adam

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    #151564

    Christiaan
    Participant

    I think, see it like this,
    Lean is a culture, Six Sigma methode.
    If Lean is the carpenter, Six Sigma would be the tool.
    Grzz Christiaan ;-)

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    #151566

    Allthingsidiot
    Participant

    Disagree?Not  so  simple,Lean  has  tools  too just  like  VSM,5Ss,Poka-Yuke..etc,SS has  more  than 50  tools  too (problem  solving  and  statistical  tools).Combining the  2  approaches  would  help  to  identify  defects,minimize faults,solving  problems,identifying  waste,reducing  costs,maintaing Quality,CS and  speed  in delivery  of  the  required  product or  service,best  regards. 

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    #151569

    Markert
    Participant

    The “house of Toyota” shows stability as a pre-requisite for implimenting TPS. In the case of Toyota, this was achieved by extensive use of SPC (Shewhart style) to get their processes statistically stable. They then use TPS / lean as a method to keep it there. If by 6-sigma you mean a process that includes stabilisation, then you should do 6-sigma first (of at least the SPC part). If your version of 6-sigma does not include stabilisation, then you will need to find a method of getting stable and predictable processes before you can be successful with either lean or 6-sigma. This is why Toyota are one of the most sucessful and highest quality manufacturers in the world, and have never needed to do 6-sigma.

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    #151567

    Jamilah Haron
    Participant

      You can use both . Lean is to reduce waste from the process, which is to shift the average of a non performing process. Six Sigma is to reduce variation, or reduce instability in the process output. Through experience, Lean is easier to teach and demonstrate to all levels of employees. Just select a pilot line/product and start applying the tools. Six Sigma seems to suit certain levels of employees – those who can cope with data collection, data analysis and interpretation.
    Regards.

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    #151571

    PK
    Participant

    Lean is considered to be “Proactive” approach and Six sigma is “Reactive” approach. The basic philosophy of Lean is to develop a robust culture to eliminate the basic seven types of wastes (Defct, Over production, Transportation, Waiting time, Inventory, Motion and Processing), which hence manya times starts with Value Stream Mapping to create the present state mapping and hence decide about the future state mapping too. Six Sigma is said to be reactive, because, it is always a defect elimination and hence has to wait for some defect (CTQ-as defined by the customer) to come up. That is why there is an urgent need to understand the customer and the defect in Six Sigma.
    But, as a whole, it is both the approaches that if implemented simultaneously can give a far more better result.

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    #151575

    Sea
    Participant

    If you only have limited resources (as most companies do) I would implement Lean first and within 12 months start with 6-sigma.  The reason for this is that when we started 6-sigma we actually found that around 50% of the projects identified did not require 6-sigma but in fact lean techniques.  My company had been doing Lean for a number of years before the 6 sigma rollout but I think a lot of people forgot this and kept trying to force projects to fit the 6s tools.  Now we have re-shifted the focus and I think are getting much better results.  Projects are now identified using VSM (Lean) and then the right tool is applied be it lean or 6 s.  If you do not have 6 s capabilities yet you may have to park som of the improvement the projects identified until you do but I think this is better than wasting valuable resources making simple problems complicated and working on projects that ultimately do not add value.

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    #151578

    Fontanilla
    Participant

    I agree.  Lean before Six Sigma (the argument for stability is a valid one though.  Without stability, “Lean” can be a frustrating experience.) 
    The  most successful blend of the two I’ve seen in my company (a very large automotive parts manufacturer) has been where we did a VSM on the entire process, including the offices as well as the plant, and then assigned teams to work on the “starbursts”.  Some of those teams did Kaizen workshops, some of them became Green Belt projects.  It’s worked extremely well.
    The key is to understand what the “big picture” of the business is BEFORE you go headlong into improvement activities.  Any improvement initiative MUST be tied to the Strategic Business Objectives of the company.  Without that, you will have difficulty finding consistent direction and support.  With it, you will find yourself on the road to prosperity :-)

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    #151581

    Houston Lean Six Sigma
    Participant

    I read Fidel’s discussion path with interest.  I’m part of a quite large Global company who began by introducting Six Sigma and is now expanding it’s efforts to include Lean Concepts.  The previous two posts capture much of our Key Learnings – If we had to do it again, we should have begun (like many of the experts say – good sources of reference is the Industry Week webinar archives, isixsigma archives, ISSSP, ARC, etc) with Lean and then introduced Six Sigma as part of the Lean umbrella.  Why?  Because to be successful, Lean drives culture change – provides standardization, flow, etc.
    Key Learning: Tactical gains are easy, it’s cultural change that’s the challenge.  Not at the executive level, or the worker level – typically in the big between.
    Now that we have struggled through the introduction of Lean into the Six Sigma umbrella, we find that Lean Concepts are more all-encompassing than Six Sigma, though it has hilighted the issue with poor leading-by-example of the middle-management ranks. 
    Now a question to Fidel – When we started, it was “Choose Six Sigma or Choose Lean”  There is now support out there to begin as “Lean Six Sigma” – aka “Lean Sigma” – so why would you not start down the Lean Sigma path?
     

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    #151582

    Bonghanoy
    Participant

    I agree with starting  with Lean. If your organization does not have good operational data (the situation in many healthcare arenas), Lean will allow staff to get into process improvement concepts and begin creating measurement systems.
     

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    #151584

    Rich Skiff
    Member

    The key question in considering any approach is “What is the problem* that I am trying to solve?” 
    *Problem:  anything that is not the way it should be, or the way you would like it to be.
    Then, you select the best approach to solve that problem, whether it be Lean, Six Sigma, or another approach. 
    Remember, the focus is to solve problems, not promote philosophies.

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    #151586

    John Sladky
    Participant

    Depends on your definition of LEAN.   On theShopfloor, we apply LEAN only because LEAN addresses Quality at the Source which is the First Step to improving Quality.  Six Sigma methods on the shopfloor are too complex in the beginning and are often not understood, but can cause confusion and frustration which will kill any new transition.
    Our LEAN process introduces quality in simplistic terms but nevertheless effective.  For example, if you study the Fishbone Cause-Effect Diagram, the main causal categories for defects are machine, man, method, material.  MACHINE causes are addressed in TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) events, METHOD by Setup Reduction, and Man by STANDARD WORK and 5S.  So we get ‘a-priori’ actions done rather than waiting for defects to occur.
    Since LEAN attacks WASTE, defects are a part of it.  So if you’re not addressing defects within the LEAN system, then it is not being done correctly.
    When we attach tough quality problems, we do not use Six Sigma techniques, rather, we use SHAININ Techniques as they are much more effective and easier to understand. 

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    #151589

    EdG
    Participant

    Additionally, a concept that Toyota used extensively to drive stability was Standard Work.
    “Where there is no Standard there can be no Kaizen” – Taiichi Ohno

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    #151590

    jtomac01
    Participant

    Why would you ever use the ‘fishbone’ if you are already using Shanin tools?  Personally, I prefer Shanin tools over the fishbone & a few other six sigma tools.

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    #151594

    Vera
    Member

    Adam,
    I agree with you 100%. I currently work for a company that started the lean transformation a couple of years ago. It is still in process and it hasn’t been easy. Although we’ve made a lot of progress, I can’t imagine throwing the 6Sigma tools at this crowd. Our culture is made up of mostly uneducated employees, and just teaching them the lean ideas has been quite a struggle. So I think companies evolve, and when you start down the continuous improvement path, Lean is definitely the simpler, quicker to apply methodology of the two.

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    #151592

    Mikel
    Member

    If Shainin addresses your “tough” problems, you really have not seen
    your “tough” problems yet.Shainin is light weight stuff appropriate to be taught with the 7 basic
    quality tools

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    #151595

    John Sladky
    Participant

    I don’t think you understood the content.  I said the LEAN events address quality issues prior to them happening.  I used the C-E diagram as a means of explaining.
    Also, if a problem is already known or highly suspected, one can use the fishbone diagram as it is an easy method to teach, and also part of the basic tools.
    Shainin methods are used to attack the difficult problems.

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    #151597

    John Sladky
    Participant

    What an ignorant response, Stan.   You’re obviously a rookie.  Perhaps you should seek an alternative profession.
    If you have nothing to contribute, please refrain from commenting.

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    #151600

    Hetchner
    Member

    Practise Deming’s principles as Toyota does, and you will get the all the benefits of Lean … plus six sigma but without six sigma’s crap.

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    #151601

    Uneducated Workforce
    Member

    it is amazing how waste, defect and variation reduction got chopped up into now opposing “improvement philosophies” … and that it takes the sophistication of intellectual giants to educate the “uneducated” workforce about the intricate techniques used to get the shopfloor job done.

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    #151603

    Mikel
    Member

    The Shainin speak that comes with the tools is pretty stupid.

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    #151604

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    John,
    I have to go along with Stan on this one…Your passion for Shainin is admireable, but that doesn’t mean you are right.   Shainin methods are okay…very limited in my opinion though.  Also, Stan is right on with his assessment of the dorky naming conventions.   -Just embarrassing…
    -Heebee

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    #151602

    Mikel
    Member

    I was trained by Dorian 25 years ago. I think the tools are good, but
    not adequate. That’s all.

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    #151607

    The Force
    Member

    Combine both Lean and Six Sigma depending on the stage where you are at
    DEFINE – More on Lean
    MEASURE and ANALYZE – Six Sigma
    IMPROVE – More On Lean
    CONTROL – Lean and Six Sigma

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    #151609

    shri11
    Member

    IMHO one significant factor to consider is the type of product being made, if the productss made are high-speed, high-volume, with low variability, where data is available easily, then using the Six Sigma approach first may be successful (REMOVING VARIABILITY IN THE PROCESS) 
    However, if products are small volume, high variability, and relatively longer cycle time, then use of Lean first to increase speed thru the plant, (INCREASING FLOW THROUGH THE PROCESS).
    Hope this helps, Srikanth Sarathy,
    One of the more interesting thought provoking questions, might be worthy of a paper!!

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    #151610

    shri11
    Member

    IMHO one significant factor to consider is the type of product being made, if the productss made are high-speed, high-volume, with low variability, where data is available easily, then using the Six Sigma approach first may be successful (REMOVING VARIABILITY IN THE PROCESS) 
    However, if products are small volume, high variability, and relatively longer cycle time, then use of Lean first to increase speed thru the plant, (INCREASING FLOW THROUGH THE PROCESS).
    Hope this helps, Srikanth Sarathy,
    One of the more interesting thought provoking questions, might be worthy of a paper!!

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    #151616

    ong
    Member

    I must agree that Demming’s philosophies have underpinned my Total Quality Ethos for 15 years. I have come to realise that without enlightened leaders all the fancy tools, (Six Sigma , Lean, Process improvement etc) are just that. There is one key point within my mind that realises real sustainable success and that is “Development”. “Continuous Personnel Development” that turns an organisation into a true learning organisation where tools and techniques can be embraced by knowledgeable, motivated people.
    People in tune with their business systems are the key to real success. ” I believe”  a famous quote from many leaders but to change a culture all have to believe in their own potential to affect the outcomes! 

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    #151636

    John Sladky
    Participant

    Thanks for your comment but you miss the point.  I wouldn’t recommend to the inquirer something that doesn’t work.  I offered my experience in which I find Shainin techniques to be very practical, easier to use, and very effective.  In fact, many of the 6Sigma methods have borrowed Shainin methods, like the Multi-Vari Study (which he may not have invented but certainly optimized) or Paired Comparisons.
    If you feel you have something to offer, please recommend it to the inquirer and let him/her make the choice by researching further.
    What upset me re: Stan is he offered nothing but a criticism which was ignorant because he doesn’t use the methods, or if he did, he didn’t use them correctly.  I do … and they work very well!
    I received other comments re: Shainin from 6S Black Belts who use Shainin’s Statistical Engineering methods to solve problems.  So the debate goes on but if one doesn’t fully understand and practice such methods, how can one judge?
    John

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    #151648

    John Sladky
    Participant

    really?  look in the mirror!

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    #151647

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    well, someone missed the point and it wasn’t me…
     

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    #151674

    Jonathon Andell
    Participant

    I concur with Stan regarding the Shainin tools. I read Keki Bhote’s “World Class Quality” cover to cover (I also met him, and worked with his son Adi). Here’s my two-cents’ worth.
    Even Shainin admits he did not create multi-vari charts, but it’s true that he put them on the map. That may be the only tool I have been able to use in a wide number of situations. The other tools are extremely picky – it simply is a rare instance where the situation makes the tools applicable. However, when such an instance arises, they are wonderfully simple and powerful. However, using the tools inappropriately can lead to erroneous conclusions.
    His use of specification limits to establish zones for pre-control is simply wrong. However, if the zones are based on the mean plus-or-minus 1.5 nd 3 standard deviations, precontrol becomes statistically sound. However, once again we have a tool whose proper use is quite restricted – in twenty years in the field I have never seen a process for which pre-control fits.
    Bottom line: I like multi-vari. I have nothing against the other tools, but they often are mis-matched with the application. Using them without full understanding of the conditions & restrictions is inadviseable.

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    #151684

    Mikel
    Member

    I offered advice – don’t take the advice of someone who thinks
    Shainin is the end all be all.I do use the methods – when appropriate. I think if you did your
    homework, you would find that Shainin tools are in 6 sigma stuff
    because we use them. I think Multivari is good, PreControl has it’s
    place if used with process limits not spec limits, Component and
    Variable search have ther place.Tools like Iso Plot have no value except as a way to visualize
    measurement problems, statistical methods that have been in
    existance since 1962 are far superior.BTW, I have Shainin’s materials from the early 80’s and the late 90’s
    and have never seen a tool called Paired Comparisons. Are you
    confusing this with B vs C? The tool is really call a Tukey end count.

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    #151685

    Savage
    Participant

    I think Keki Bhote calls it Paired Comparison.  He uses the “BOBs vs WOWs” technique, as well as the Tukey end count.

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    #151758

    Hylton
    Participant

    If you look on page 5 of the Toyota Production System book, you will see that the entire concept rests on two pillars. Lean manufacturing and PROCESS CAPABILITY. The lack of process capability is the biggest cause of failure in lean I have observed. It decouples the entire value stream, especially if it occurs in several places along the way. From my own obsevations, I would do Six Sigma first, to see if capability is possible. You will then have an idea how to estimate the amount of decoupling stock will be needed for each process.

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    #151755

    Street man
    Member

    My two cents :
    Depends on what is meant “a company is doing well”, depends on your view angle:
    Doing well in Quality of Product? How about Quality of Design (On time to Market? First pass rate?) How about Quality of Use? If all are doing well, how about the Business Quality environment (i.e. outward view – how your external partners or suppliers, or customers view you but not you view yourself)? How about your Organizational Quality (i.e. inward view – any wastes can be eliminated? can processes be faster, etc..)
    According to different analysis results, you should adopt different methodologies.

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