Six Sigma vs. Lean. This has been the topic for constant discussion when it comes to choosing the most appropriate process improvement technique for an organization. Both the methods have had their own set of success stories that cite that each one has been vital in scenarios that needed continuous improvement.
Lean is mostly pivotal in the elimination of non-value added steps in a process. Streamlining a process is the key target of a Lean approach. Lean identifies valuable steps by assessing if the customer is willing to pay for that process or not. If not, then the process has no need to be undertaken.
But that might bring up the risk of poor quality results or services. Completing the processes rapidly, might not always ensure the best outcome. Six Sigma steps in here, to the level up the business process to perfection.
Six Sigma analyses the root cause of the fault in a process, and works to reduce it. It also guarantees that the quality of the product, result or service is enhanced in the process. For this, Six Sigma might follow a detailed route, that requires heavy data gathering, and complicated technical processes. Lean practitioners, however, do little to attack the project variability.
Thus, for effective and continuous improvement of business, it is vital to bring the two together as the Lean Six Sigma approach. Champions trained in both the principles, can identify the core of an issue, and help resolve it by combining the best tools from Lean and Six Sigma.
Investing in an extensive training program, wherein Lean is probably added after SS BB, is of a greater value, than having masters from any one or both the principles separately. Lean Six Sigma not only helps visualize the value stream, uses concepts such as Pull and Flow to manage and improve the processes, but also emphasizes the need to aim for perfection.