This group is a forum for sharing best practices, networking and learning about lean and six sigma within federal, state and local governments.
Request for basic definition of Six Sigma, Lean and Lean Six Sigma
August 6, 2009 at 1:48 am #77334
Please excuse a “newbie” on this specific topic. I’ve been to umpteen number of seminars, case study presentations, and sales pitches. At all of these, presenters go on about how beneficial these techniques are to any business. They hype on about how great it was when they use it. They speak internally, using inside jokes and innuendoes (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
What I have not yet figured out in the last several years is WHAT these methodologies actually are! Could some experts in this group straighten me out, please?
I thank you in advance!
August 6, 2009 at 4:07 am #77338
Unfortunately like every management “fad” people interpret and explain lean the way they see it and that is all over the map.
Even though I have been using lean for nearly 20 years and have been consulting for almost 11 the explanations I hear after all this time still cover the full spectrum depending on who is saying it. To me it is a very simple idea – get rid of stuff that doesn’t matter to the customer. It gives a common way for everyone in an organization to identify where they can improve.
I spent several years working with several of Taiichi Ohno’s direct reports when he was at Toyota and they marvel at how complicated we Americans have made lean. In the end the principles came out of a company that had very few physical manufacturing plants, couldn’t afford lot’s of raw material and had to figure out how to bootstrap the entire organization. So they made everything as simple as possible – applied common sense – and had the discipline to not do that which did not offer an immediate benefit to the company. Thus lean was begun.
Every principle, every methodology, every tool that gets brought up as part of lean is focused on a single thing – if the customer doesn’t need or want it then why should we – and let’s get rid of it.
Hope that helps. Call me at 866-986-4414 (our offices) if not.
August 6, 2009 at 1:17 pm #77336
Ron & Charlie – Thank you so much – were your answers planned? Between the two of you, I think I got a much better idea of what is going on. To recap – to be sure I understand, Lean is simply the concept that you get rid of all the excess. My boyfriend works in machining and with the economic crisis of the last year or two, his company has switched to a Lean philosophy; instead of pre-fabbing all this material, they are using up pre-fab in stock and then only fabricating to order.
Six Sigma is also a family of philosophies including all the ones you listed, Charlie? I think I’ve been searching everywhere for Six Points – I understand the Sigma concept, but I think I was searching for some direct principles. I’ve heard of DMAIC and the like, not realizing they are all lumped under Six Sigma.
I really appreciate the time you both took to answer me.
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