Can the Sigma Method Really Make Your Business More Efficient? A Guide to Understanding Lean Six Sigma Business Methodology

If you own or manage a business, you might have come across the term six Sigma. When used right, it can be a perfect tool and help a business boost efficiency. Here’s what you need about lean six sigma business methodology and how to make the most of it to make your business more efficient.

What is Six Sigma?

It is a set of management tools and techniques that were designed to enhance business growth and success by reducing the probabilities of errors. It is a data-driven approach that makes use of a statistical methodology to get rid of defects.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

While Six Sigma is primarily used to reduce prices variation and boost process control, lean six Sigma drives out waste (processes and procedures that aren’t adding any value) while promoting work standardization and flow. It is also a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of improvement where defect prevention is the focus, not just the detection of defects.

How Lean Can Six Sigma Help?

As Lean Six Sigma can help businesses to prevent defects, it helps boost customer satisfaction and increases bottom-line results by reducing waste, cycle time, and variation while promoting the use of work standardization and flow. It can give businesses a considerable competitive advantage.

Can You Integrate Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma?

Yes, you can integrate lean and Six Sigma. The smartest way to do that is to implement the lean approach first. It will make the workplace/business operations as efficient as possible and reduce waste. You can use value stream maps to improve understanding and throughput. If the problem(s) is still there, you can implement more technical Six Sigma statistical tools.

How to Ensure Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma Really Make Your Business More Efficient?

Anthony and Banuelas (2002) and Banuelas Coronado and Anthony (2002) presented the main ingredients for the effective introduction and implementation of the Six Sigma program in UK manufacturing and services organizations. You can use these to ensure lean six Sigma and six Sigma really make your business more efficient.

·       The management should be fully committed to the task and be incredibly involved at every step of the way.

·       The ones leading the change should have a deep understanding of Six Sigma methodology, tools, and techniques.

·       The focus should be on linking Six Sigma to business strategy and linking Six Sigma to customers.

·       It is also essential to link Six Sigma to suppliers.

·       Adequate training should be provided to all involved

·       It is also advised that organizations should consider linking Six Sigma to human resources (Wyper & Harrison, 2000).

Other Suggestions

Johnson and Swisher (2003) provided useful implementation tips for successful Six Sigma applications. They are:

·       Continuing education and training of managers and participants.

·       Sustained and visible management commitment.

·       Pick and select strategically important projects.

·       Set clear expectations and select project leaders carefully for leadership skills.

·       Sounds interesting, join a Lean Six Sigma Course from the options provided here.

If you are looking to make a career in Six Sigma, you can probably work for one of these Canadian Six Sigma companies.


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