“Lean” and “Six Sigma”?

Hello everyone. Last time , I wrote about the high level flow of problem solving, from “as-is (current state analysis)” to “to-be (future state design)”.

By the way, there is a method called “Lean Six Sigma” as one of the problem solving methods in the world. I’m also a Six Sigma Master Black Belt (I’ll write more about what this is in this blog later), so I’ll be writing about Lean Six Sigma as well in this blog.

This time, I will write the overview of what is Lean Six Sigma. This Lean Six Sigma was originally systematized and introduced as separate methods called “Lean” and “Six Sigma”.

What is “Lean”?

The famous “Toyota Production System” is the origin of Lean. It was compiled as a methodology by an American scholar who was studying the Toyota Production System.

The purpose of lean is to “eliminate waste”. Eliminate waste in business processes.

The actual procedure of Lean is called “DMAIC”. This is an acronym for the 5 steps of “Define” -> “Measure” -> “Analyze” -> “Improve” -> “Control”. There are various tools for each step of this DMAIC. I will introduce these in this blog gradually going forward.

What is “Six Sigma”?

It is a quality control method developed by US company, Motorola, and is said to have spread worldwide after being adopted by US company, GE. There is also a systematic quality control in Japan, and I think we can say that the contents are almost the same.

The purpose of Six Sigma is to “reduce variation”. Quality control, which reduces variations, is the source of Six Sigma. And from there, it has also been utilized as a problem solving technique.

The procedure of Six Sigma, like Lean, actually follows the flow of “DMAIC”.

And “Lean Six Sigma”

Lean and Six Sigma originally had different backgrounds and goals, but the procedures were similar, especially since the tools used after DMAIC’s “A” were almost the same. That’s why I think “Lean” and “Six Sigma” have become told all together as “Lean Six Sigma”.

By now, you can see that Lean Six Sigma follows the 5-step flow of DMAIC, and that tools are provided for each step. Some of these tools are specific to Lean Six Sigma, while others come from general problem solving techniques.

To put it a little further, DMAIC also overlaps with the general problem solving procedure of “as-is” -> “to-be”. When we compare them, it looks like this.

General problem solving and "Lean Six Sigma"
Figure 1. General problem solving and “Lean Six Sigma”

Therefore, in this blog, I would like to introduce DMAIC as well as the flow from “as-is” to “to-be”.

That’s all for this time, and I would like to continue from the next time onwards. Thank you for reading until the end.

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