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What are the Lean Six Sigma Principles?



In today’s fast-paced, globalized business world, competition among modern corporations is fierce. In this climate, every competitive edge matters, leading business professionals to continually explore new management tools, techniques, and leadership approaches.

But it may not be a new methodology that yields the best solution. As companies fine-tune their processes for optimal efficiency and work to maintain superior standards of quality, a combination of the tried and true Lean method and Six Sigma approach might just be the ticket for success.

Concepts of Lean Six Sigma

The primary aim of the Lean method is to reduce waste. The goal of Six Sigma is to reduce variation for optimal quality control. The discipline known as Lean Six Sigma (LSS) blends these two approaches. Refinements to the production process are essential to managing and reducing the 8 wastes analyzed by the Lean method. By paying careful attention to how waste affects production processes (and vice versa), business leaders can take significant strides toward optimizing their operations.

5 Lean Six Sigma principles

Experts recommend that you keep these 5 key Lean Six Sigma principles in mind to help ensure the success of your LSS project:

  1. Work for the customer
    The primary goal of any change you want to implement should be to deliver maximum benefit to the customer. Establish a clear standard of quality early on that’s defined by what the customer or market demands.
  2. Find your problem and focus on it
    During the re-tooling processes, it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of desired changes and lose focus on the initial problem. Gather data that shows you where your specific problem area lies and concentrate on refining only that area of your business. Any attempt to broadly alter the company or change the product will likely derail the LSS process.
  3. Remove variation and bottlenecks
    Once you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to look for ways to decrease opportunities for defects. These openings often come in the form of long, intricate processes that leave significant room for mistakes and waste. Streamlining or removing these functions is an excellent way to achieve quality control and efficiency.
  4. Communicate clearly and train team members
    Lean Six Sigma fundamentals require that all team members are versed in LSS, know the goals of the project, and are informed of its progress. Six Sigma methodology can cause tremendous change and requires specialized focus on the part of management. Advanced certifications in Six Sigma are critically important for reducing the risk of project failure and ensuring that the entire process run smoothly.
  5. Be flexible and responsive
    Change and Lean Six Sigma go hand-in-hand. A process or function that is identified as faulty or inefficient, must be refined or removed. Clinging to a failing approach is not an option with LSS. Change and change management can be challenging and painful, but it’s a small price to pay for what every business leader strives for: a leaner, stronger, more competitive company.

Learn more about how a Lean Principles certification can help you achieve operational excellence in your career.


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