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What is Lean Six Sigma?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General What is Lean Six Sigma?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Mike Carnell 14 years, 4 months ago.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #39640

    Steve Dow
    Member

    Hello All,
    Anyone have any info or definitions on exactly what is “Lean Six Sigma”.  I know what Lean is (I have studied it at uni and work as a Consultant) and I am a Greenbelt but I have started noticing this new buzz word propping up all over the place.
    Any help would be gratefully recieved!
    Thanks,
    Steve.
     
     

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    #120991

    KS
    Participant

    Dear Steve,
    Lean six sigma is a combination of Lean principles and Six Sigma. So that you can reap the benefits of lean principles and six sigma.
    Regards
    KS

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    #120997

    Morgan Foster
    Participant

    Lean Six Sigma should be the combination of Six Sigma methodology with the kaizen speed and lean tool box.  The best implementation of Lean Six Sigma is using the week long kaizen format.  By holding multiple weeks, you are able to reduce the lead time to project completion.  Lean Six Sigma is an easy way to assimilate Six Sigma into a lean culture as the PDCA methodology will dovetail nicely in the DMAIC world.  The standard kaizen event uses day one to understand the problem.  By using the entire event as a data collection event, the “mile wide, inch deep” issue can be changed to “inch wide, mile deep”.  
     
    Another way to think about Lean Six Sigma is that Six Sigma is the analytical rigor that leads to a lean tool box.  Your CTQ’s should lead you to which tools to use and most of the time the easy answer will be in the lean tool box.  Do not forget that your standard work audit is the first step you should undertake.  If the standard work is not being followed, all data will be “corrupt”.  
     

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    #121034

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Steve Dow,
    I will give you my opinion which may easily be a minority opinion. The concept of mixing Lean and Six Sigma is not new and certainly did not originate with Michael George. We did a thing at Motorola in the late 80’s where it we used both methodologies (Lean was refered to as Cycle Time reduction). If you have ever seen the card we were required to carry at that time both were initiatives and neither was subordinate to the other.
    It cetainly did not originate with Motorola. If you read “Lean Thinking” (the book that magically turned TPS into Lean) you will see that Womack discusses two methodologies used by Toyota in the Continuous Improvement area. Kaizen for incremental improvement and Kaikaiku (spelled incorrectly – probably) for breakthrough. Understand that Lean Thinking was written long before SS was commercialized and breakthrough as a term for improvement had not beeen discussed beyond Juran’s 1964 book “Managerial Breakthrough” – please note the author is Juran. And Cadillac was using it to sell cars.
    Lean Six Sigma as a term is certainly a new buzz word – the concept is not. When Barbara Wheat, Chuck Mills and I decided to write our book it was in response to 2 things. First, we were tired of seeing zealots demanding that management choose Lean or the Six Sigma – choosing not to do both is a suboptimization step. The second reason was that I listened to Womack deliver a speach in Rochester, NY. On 5 out of 50 slides he presented, he had spoken about Six Sigma. The comercialization of the integration (a little aliteration for Vinny) was obvious so we decided to write it before some guru stood up and said “look what I have done” so that part of the strategy didn’t work Six weeks later we released a self published book.
    That was the soapbox response to your post. It is actually of very little value beyond the cathartic effect it has for me and making both index fingers sore because I never learned to type correctly.
    That said here is how I see the mix of the two and it isn’t particularly complicated. There are 4 basic blocks in TPS: Workplace Organization (5S is a part of this step but not the whole thing) > Standardized Work > Continuous Improvement > Kanban/JIT. When you first look at a process particularly the data that describes that process it is typically pretty noisy. If you go through the first two steps of Workplace Organization and Standardized Work they address people induced noise. It can be relatively easy to quiet down. It takes work and tenacity and the occasional test of wills. When that noise is reduced the data you will then receive tends to be more reflective of the actual process as opposed to the noise of poor management. That makes decisions on process improvement much easier. JDI’s can run through the Kaizens. Breakthrough, whether you call it Six Sigma or not, can be used to address the chronic issues where people may not be so sure about the solution. Actually they aren’t that accurate on the JDI’s either but as long as you keep data on them you will find they will implode in about a year.
    When you have a process that is predictable it enables you to implement Kanban and JIT. Both of these techniques require a predictable process for success. They are finesse steps. When you have the chaos that you had before Workplace Organization, Standardized Work and Continuous Improvement, the process is completely unpredictable. That makes JIT and Kanban tools for disaster. Unfortunately to many people believe you start there, screw it up, and then decide that the two disciplines don’t work in their business. We certainly would never consider they, as implementors, just didn’t understand the concept.
    There is no magic here just dedication and hard work.
    A good friend of mine, Tom Devane (who wrote a book on this subject), presented this as part of his presentation at a seminar. Immediately a person who described himself as a Six Sigma “Purist” objected to the concept. These “purists” are on a good day basically intellectual bigots and inellectual bigotry is based in ignorance just as any other form of bigotry. The Lean intellectual bigots are no different except maybe not as good at math. (a little more soapbox)
    That is it in my opinion.
    Good luck

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    #121035

    AT
    Participant

    Simply put,the six sigma addresses efficiency an Lean addresses the effectiveness. Typically, six sigma takes care of increasing productivity,reducing cycle time,scrap etc. The typical micro level. The lean looks at maco,the big picture looking for ways to reduce non value added items.
    Thanks,
    Regards,
    Ramesh

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    #121065

    Savage
    Participant

    I ask this question a lot and get blank stares.  I have understood Kaikaku to be what everybody is calling a Kaizen Blitz.  Why dont people just call it Kaikaku?
    I mean as if adopting every single japanese term wasnt bad enough (have some pride) now we have to throw some German in there as well?  Kaizen Blitz    /yawn
    I don’t understand why people want to entitle the Japanese so much.  Does attending a “Kaizen Blitz”  somehow mysteriosuly make people more involved than if they were at a “Rapid Improvement Workshop” or some other aptly titled session?
    Its kind of like the obsession that most american consumers have with foreign “sounding” goods.  Scandanavian memory foam?  Give me a break.  I mean the majority of Americans have never even been outside of the states.  I digress.
    I’m so tired of hearing the word poke yoke that i could throw up.  Its like people around here just learned it so they want to use it to sound fantastic and sophisticated.
    The japanese didnt invent waste so why do most people in the states say muda.  Muda is about to make me vomit as well.
    I’d be willing to bet that if another country came up with a new and improved system that the japanese would NOT adopt the native language terms of its originators.  So why are we?  Are we that bad off that we can’t even communicate thoughts and ideas in our own language?
    And no..i’m not a bigot.  I hold no ill regard to any nationality and i do give proper respect to the Japanese for helping market a set of philosophies that all ready existed; but people need to think for themselves occasionally.
    Matt
     

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    #121067

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    matt,
    Kaizen and Kaikaku are not the same thing. Kaizen is the incremental improvement and Kaikaku is the breakthrough type improvement at least according to Womack’s book. My command of the Japanese language stops at domo.
    Adding the German word gives it that international flavor.
    As far as the term Muda it seems to keep people from thinking you are part of the mafia and dealing in the refuse business. Muda Sensei would probably be upset if you were to vomit on him because of his name and it might slow down the bike racing.
    Poke Yoke (unfortunately this one is probably true) became popular when people began to be offended by the term fool proofing. For some reason they were offended by the name and prefered to continue to build crappy products which I would think would be more demeaning.
    I have done deployments in NEC, Sumitomo, Medtronics and Maxell/Hitachi in Japan and we taught it there the same way we do everywhere else and basically got the same results. That is why it is called continuous improvement – it doesn’t end. Actually the President of Sumitomo HI was probably one of the best Executives we have ever had to work with. He interviewed every BB for about 1.5 hrs each to understand what they were working on and how the projects were progressing. That is visible leadership.
    My point in referencing Kaizen and Kaikaku was to let this guy know that this idea of mixing SS and Lean wasn’t new. Beyond that I could care less what any of this stuff is called.
    As far as being a bigot that is your personal issue and none of my business.
    BTW I have been outside the US on occasion. I struggle with anything other than English but this whole thing would be easier for me if they would throw in a few Spanish words now and then.
    Just my opinion.
    Regards

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    #121069

    billybob
    Participant

    Hello folks,
    Isn’t as simple as saying you take the term, no matter of where at came from, that is the successful model and just use it.  Who cares what you call it as long as it works.  But accepted words are just accepted words. If you feel better using Waste, or checking tool, or oranization, or quick attact feel free to use them.  Besides we all know what you mean when you say “it’s hump day”…i think.
    Later,
    Billybob
     

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    #121072

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Billybob,
    It is good to see you back. You seem a little more quiescent than you were before.
    Language can make a difference depending on where you are and what you want. If I want a pencil eraser over here I need to ask for a rubber………….? You take it from there.
    I am afraid if we referenced hump day here I would probably get shuffled into a car and be on my way to Teasers.
    Drop in more often. We miss your clarity.
    Regards
     

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    #121080

    billybob
    Participant

    Hello Mr. Mike,
    I was a little to fast and attached my post to yours, it should havd been attcahed to Matt’s.  I sure wasn’t implying I didn’t agree with you. So with my best Spanish I say to you “Grass-e-ass” for allowing me to set my posting order straight.
    Later,
    Billybob

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    #121082

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Billybob,
    You need to check again you were attached to matt.
    It is always good to see you back.
    I gotta go. I noticed Carly responded but I wanted to see your post first. I am probably going to get whacked pretty hard on this one.
    Regards

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