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Lean Six Sigma (6σ) Management

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Lean Six Sigma (6σ) Management | Excellence Tools

Lean Six Sigma is a powerful, proven method of improving business efficiency and effectiveness. In a nutshell, here are the key principles of Lean Six Sigma Business Transformation to bear in mind:

  • Focus on the customer
  • Identify and understand how the work gets done (the value stream)
  • Manage, improve, and smooth the process flow
  • Remove non-value added steps and waste
  • Manage by fact and reduce variation
  • Involve and equip the people in the process
  • Undertake improvement activity in a systematic way

The 5S System

The 5s System

The 5S system is a method of organizing your workplace materials for quicker access and better maintenance. This system is essential for eliminating waste that is produced by poor workstations and tools in poor condition.

The 5 S’s are:

  • Seiri (Sort)– Remove all unnecessary items for your current production, leaving only what is necessary.
  • Seiton (Set In Order)– Organize remaining items and label them accordingly.
  • Seiso (Shine)– Clean and inspect your work area and everything in it every day.
  • Seiketsu (Standardize)– Write out your standards for the Sort, Set In Order, and Shine steps above.
  • Shitsuke (Sustain)– Apply the standards you’ve set for your company and make them habits for everyone in your organization.

Value Stream Mapping

Another tool used in the Analyze phase of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) as well as in Lean Manufacturing – making it perfect for Lean Six Sigma – is value stream mapping.

A value stream map shows the flow of materials and information in one of your processes and was developed to help you improve and optimize flow throughout your organization.

There are 3 things value stream mapping helps you identify:

  1. Value enabling activities
  2. Value adding activities
  3. Non-value adding activities

The whole purpose of this map is to eliminate all of your non-value adding activities and eliminate wait times between consecutive steps in your processes so that your processes become more compact, precise, and swift.

Regression Analysis

regression analysis is a statistical process for estimating and understanding the relationship between variables.

You would use it to define the mathematical relationship between an output variable (y) and any number of input variables (x1, x2, etc.).

Graphing these inputs and outputs helps you visualize patterns or deviance from desired patterns in your workflow.

Be cautious when performing a regression analysis, though, if you want to avoid statistical illusions. Here are a few things to remember when performing a regression analysis:

  • When two variables are found to be correlated, it is tempting to assume that this shows that one variable causes the other, resulting in the logical fallacy known as correlation does not imply causation.
  • Two or more variables in your regression model could be highly correlated, making it difficult to isolate their individual effects on the dependent variable, referred to as Multicollinearity.
  • When the error term in one period is positively correlated with the error term in the previous period, you’ll encounter the problem of (positive first-order) autocorrelation.

Pareto Chart

Pareto Analysis makes use of Histograms to decide on both the vital few and trivial many contributing factors to quality variations or process variations.

One of the main features of Six Sigma is reduction in variations and their contributing factors. In order to attach reduction in contributing factors to quality issues, it is preferable to attack the few factors which contribute to major quality issues and attack the rest in a phased manner. Pareto Analysis helps in this decision-making process.


Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), developed in the 1950s, is used to review components, assemblies, and subsystems to identify failure modes and their causes and effects.

Lean Six Sigma practitioners use FMEA to improve the quality of their processes, services, and products by detecting and fixing problems before they occur. This is made possible by using extreme conditions as the basis for Design or Process and evaluate results for probable defects in extreme conditions. Design and Process changes are made to avoid probable defects. This is a proactive Preventive Action step.

Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)

Kaizen is the practice of continually monitoring and adding incremental improvements in the process. The small and incremental improvements will gradually result in major improvements and prove to be process control wizards. It encourages all relevant to be involved in the process of manufacturing and nonmanufacturing improvements.

Poka-yoke (Mistake Proofing)

Poka-yoke is a Japanese term that means mistake proofing. It’s a process of eliminating probable errors right from design stage and making it mistake proof for users of products and/or services.

  • Lean Six Sigma can be pursued as a management method by a business or company which intends to improve and streamline their operations to ensure consistent, quality production.
  • Managers and supervisors who intend to eliminate waste within their organization should utilize Lean Six Sigma.
  • Students who are looking for a more advanced version of DFSS (Design for Six Sigma) and Lean Six Sigma certification concepts can acquire such through a Black Belt certification course.
  • Reduction of waste, defects and general mistakes
  • Effectively eliminates waste within any business or company environment
  • When employed effectively by companies and organizations, Lean Six Sigma plays a key role in decreasing wasted resources thus increasing the bottom line. Lean Six Sigma waste refers to several types of non-tactile waste that is created in all businesses: defects, overproduction, transportation, waiting, underutilizing talent, inventory excess, motion, and excess processing.
  • It is a standardized process that helps improve the attitudes and procedures within various industries and niches in the market, and it offers the opportunity for companies and organizations to increase their productivity and meet the needs and expectations of an ever-demanding consumer market.
  • Lean Six Sigma helps companies and organizations by showing them the tools they need to achieve Continuous Improvement and ultimately growth in earnings.
  • Businesses and companies can streamline their operations and always ensure quality production and services.
  • Effectively eliminate wastes in any business or company environment.

Lean Six Sigma (6σ) Management Business Impact

Way to Implement Lean & Six Sigma in Your Organization

This process will be accomplished by QSE’s proven 10-Step Approach:

  • Lean and Six Sigma tools and concepts training
  • Baseline assessment and establishment of goals and metrics
  • Selection of appropriate Lean and Six Sigma tools and concepts
  • Train the implementation team for the application of the selected tools and concepts
  • Assist in the application of the selected tools and concepts
  • Monitor improvements against goals
  • Fine-tune processes to achieve value-added results
  • Maximize/optimize implementation effectiveness for bottom-line improvement
  • Incorporate results into standardized procedures
  • Management Review of accomplished results

By leveraging its vast experience, QSE organizes the entire implementation process for Lean and Six Sigma Management.

Baseline assessment and establishment of goals and metrics:

QSE consultants advise on how to record:

  1. The current state of affairs in the organization
  2. The Goals to which the organization can reach based on practical possibilities
  3. The methods which will be used to measure achievement in reaching set goals
  • Selection of appropriate Lean and Six Sigma tools and concepts

QSE will ensure proper tools as applicable to the organization are selected from the following tools:

  1. Kanban
  2. Kaizen
  3. Poka-Yoke
  4. Visual Streaming
  5. Regression Analysis
  6. Pareto Charts
  7. FMEA
  8. 6 S

Train the implementation team for the application of the selected tools and concepts:

QSE undertakes to train select teams on the above referred tools and practically shows how the tools are applicable in daily routine.

Assist in the application of the selected tools and concepts:

QSE will advise on how to apply the tools and gather data to build an evidence based system for analysis

Monitor improvements against goals:

QSE helps organizations come up with data to compare the baseline data with improved methods through the application of Lean and Six Sigma tools.

Data will serve as demonstrated evidence of improvement against goals.

Fine-tuning of processes to achieve value-added results:

Processes that have been affected by the application of Lean and Six Sigma tools are now to be fine-tuned to have repeatability and reproducibility (R&R) as per desired goals.

Maximize/optimize implementation effectiveness for Process Control:

Results of fine-tuned processes are now analyzed to help maximize improvements and see reduction in the eight types of possible wastes in any organization (defects, overproduction, transportation, waiting, underutilizing talent, inventory excess, motion, and excess processing). 

Incorporate results into standardized procedures:

Once maximized results are achieved, the process parameters are recorded and incorporated into standardized work instructions or as changes to the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system to ensure the continuation of similar processes for future use.

Management review of accomplished results:

QSE will provide all kinds of support in presenting achievements by the teams to Management, identifying the great contributors to the success of the projects, and making recommendations to the Management to recognize the efforts in a manner which befits the organization to keep up the morale of the contributors.

For many organizations, business challenges include a need to reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction, improve process efficiencies, decrease risk, develop resilience, and grow at the same time. Consider using the Lean Six Sigma methodology to address them.

The tools and philosophies that underpin Lean and Six Sigma provide a perfect way of building a sustainable level of process excellence and improvement culture.

Lean Six Sigma, with its relentless pursuit of the removal of non-value added activities and drive towards perfection, is a natural choice for organizations looking for sustainable gains and a measurable Return On Investment (ROI) from improvement efforts.

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