No problem. We are here to help you understand the fundamentals of both Lean and Six Sigma tools.
A set of tools developed to reduce the waste associated with the flow of materials and information.
SIX SIGMA FUNDAMENTALS
Focus on helping you reduce variation in processes, streamline production, improve quality and gain customer loyalty.
Six Sigma is uniquely driven by a clear understanding of customer needs, disciplined use of facts, data, & statistical analysis to manage & improve business processes.
The Six Sigma methodology is based on the concept that “process variation” (e.g., customer waiting times at a call center varying between 10 seconds & 3 minutes) can be reduced using statistical tools.
The ideal goal is to fix a process so that it will be 99.9997% defect free or only 3.4 defects per million opportunities! For eg., this could mean 3-4 broken light bulbs in one million produced, or 3-4 customer calls with waiting times more than one minute.
From a statistical view, this means that a process centered at the mean has six Standard Deviations (sigma) between the process mean & the nearest specification limit.
Six Sigma projects are built on a DMAIC framework of five phases:
Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control.
These phases each contain a set of tools and techniques that guide the problem solver through the improvement process from start to finish.
Lean is a set of tools developed to reduce the waste associated with the flow of materials and information in a process from beginning to end. The goal of Lean is to identify and eliminate non-essential and non-value added steps in the business process in order to streamline production, improve quality and gain customer loyalty.
Lean can be employed within the DMAIC framework to augment Six Sigma tools when the project focus is to improve process speed and efficiency.
Using more problem-solving techniques can help solve a larger number and variety of business problems. Starting in the 1980’s, consultants (including General Electric) trained in both techniques realized the synergy between Lean and Six Sigma and began to push for the combination of the different tools of Six Sigma (focused on improving quality) and Lean (focused on removing waste).
Thus, Lean Six Sigma (LSS) was born.
Just like a winning sports team various people have specific positions and roles with defined responsibilities. Lean Six Sigma is similar – each person is trained to be able to understand and perform the responsibilities of their role. The end result is a knowledgeable and well coordinated winning business team.
Here’s a brief overview of these responsibilities …
The executive team owns the vision for the business, they provide sponsorship and set expectations for the results. They enable the organization to apply Lean Six Sigma then monitor the progress against expectations.
The Deployment Leader manages the implementation of the program by establishing a plan, coordinating all of the necessary activities and assuring results are being obtained. Also, they communicate the ongoing status and progress of the implementation to the organization.
A Champion is responsible for functional business activities and to provide business deliverables to either internal or external customers. They are in a position to be able to recognize problem areas of the business, define improvement projects, assign projects to appropriate individuals, review projects and support their completion. They are also responsible for a business roadmap and employee training plan to achieve the goals and objectives of Lean Six Sigma within their area of accountability.
A Master Black Belt is a technical expert, a “go to” person for the Six Sigma methodology. Master Black Belts mentor Black Belts and their projects and support Champions. Master Black Belts teach others in the practices and tools. Being a Master Black Belt is a full time position.
A Black Belt is a project team leader working full time to solve problems under the direction of a Champion. Black Belts work on relatively complex projects requiring significant focus to resolve. Most Black Belts conduct an average of 4 to 6 projects a year – projects usually having a high financial return for the company.
Green Belts are capable of solving problems within their local span of control. Green Belts remain in their current positions applying Lean Six Sigma to their job environment. Green Belts usually address less complex problems than Black Belts and perform at least two projects per year. They may also be a part of a Black Belt’s team, helping to complete the Black Belt’s project.
Yellow Belts and White Belts participate in process management activities. They understand the principles of Lean Six Sigma and are capable of characterizing processes, solving problems associated with their work responsibilities and implementing and maintaining the gains from improvements. They apply Lean Six Sigma concepts to their work assignments. They may also participate on Green and Black Belt projects.
All other employees are expected to have essential Lean Six Sigma skills for process improvement and to provide assistance and support for the goals of the improvement program.