What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma can generally be described as a combination of the Lean and Six Sigma methods. While the Lean method aims to reduce the lead time of a value chain, Lean Six Sigma focuses on reducing deviations and improving quality. Both methods therefore have their own focal points and together result in a comprehensive quality management and optimization concept that optimizes the process on the one hand and does not lose sight of quality on the other. Since companies are always striving to reduce their costs and at the same time increase their quality, flexibility and efficiency, Lean Six Sigma with its comprehensive toolset is ideally suited for this purpose.

Lean Six Sigma in the company

In the implementation of this method, the general principle “DO LEAN FIRST” applies. For the first troubleshooting in the process, Lean Tools should therefore be used first. The primary goal is thus the elimination of all unnecessary work steps. In the next step, the Six Sigma method is then applied. If Lean has been successfully applied and errors and deviations still occur, a more detailed analysis is required.

At the top of  Lean Six Sigma is the approach that comes largely from the Lean Philosophy, that the highest quality should only be striven for if it increases the value for the customer or the company. As a result, Lean Six Sigma projects are exclusively customer-driven and the value can only be defined by the customer. Processes that are not directly noticeable to the customer are therefore put on the back burner.

To ensure a structured project process, LSS uses the Six Sigma basic structure, or more precisely the DMAIC method.

To initiate an LSS project, the creation of a project order is of great importance. The project order or “project charter” clarifies the framework conditions and the focus of the project. The part of a project order can look as follows:

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Header Information

The header information contains basic information such as project name and dates.

Team

Both the names and the functions of the team members must be defined. To distribute responsibilities, Lean Six Sigma projects have fixed roles that must always be filled.

Standard errors:

  • Problem-Statement: The problem statement is a 2 to 3 sentence summary of the actual problem that was observed. Thereby a temporal as well as a quantitative reference to the problem shall be established. Furthermore, it should be possible to read out where and how the problem was observed
  • Project-Goal: The project objectives, also called “Problem Objectives”, describe the desired situation after the end of the project. It is important that the parameters are named by which the success can later be measured. Furthermore, a rough time horizon for the achievement of the goal should be given.
  • Project Benefits: The quantitative project benefit, also called project benefit, should describe the financial success of the project that can be expected. In Lean Six Sigma projects, as they are accompanied by Green Belts, there should be at least €40,000 in savings. The prerequisite is that the savings can be realized within 4 to 6 months after project completion. If a Lean Six Sigma project is carried out by a Black Belt, savings of up to €250,000 should be generated.
  • Measuered parameter: Furthermore, project metrics must be defined, which represent the units of measurement by which the project and its success can be measured. Metrics should be related to the content of the statement and the benefit.
  • Defect Definition: In the defect definition, you specify once again exactly what is to be understood as a defect in the process. The definition should again take into account the measured variables and the problem statement.

Afterwards, the project will be implemented. Further steps are planned, written down and defined. If you want to get more detailed information about this topic, we recommend the books on our page.

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