Eight Reasons Why Lean Six Sigma Works

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Much has been written about Lean Six Sigma and it’s benefits to an organization.  Here are some of the basic reasons.

  1. Bottom line results.  Many projects undertaken will have cost savings potential and should be an integral part of any Lean Six Sigma effort.  In addition, those projects that impact customer satisfaction will also impact the bottom line and result in increased revenue in the future.
  2. Senior management is involved.  Lean Six Sigma is a strategic initiative and must start and be lead by upper management.  I have not yet seen a successful Lean Six Sigma initiative that was not lead by upper management.
  3. A disciplined approach is used.  This basic approach is DMAIC, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.  It is a simple five step process with defined deliverables at each step.  There are tollgates at the end of each step so that project sponsors and champions can understand what the team has done and agree on next steps.  In my opinion, this disciplined five-step process is what makes Lean Six Sigma effective.  As I tell everyone, it’s not the tools, it’s the process!
  4. Short project completion times.  Project scopes need to be kept small so that projects can be completed in about 3 months time or less.  Teams need to be given the time to work on the project.  After all, if the project is that important to the organization, why wouldn’t you give the team time to work on it.
  5. Clearly defined measures of success.  Lean Six Sigma projects require a contract or charter that clearly spell out the goals and and objectives for the team.  The project sponsor and champion agree to these goals and objectives and sign off on the contract or charter.
  6. Infrastructure of trained individuals.  The organization will have a trained group of people that know the process, understand the various tools, and can lead a project to successful completion.  It is also very important that upper and middle management receive some level of training so they understand their role in the process and the basic Lean Six Sigma methodology.
  7. Customers and processes are the focus.  Projects should focus on reducing variation and eliminating waste in processes.  This will make the processes more efficient and increase customer satisfaction for both internal and external customers.
  8. A sound statistical approach is used.  Teams get training in statistical techniques and problem solving tools that allow them to analyze data and make good decisions.  I think it is important for organizations to use a statistical software package, such as Minitab, to do the calculations.  It is more important that they be able to interpret the software output and make the correct decision.

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