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Lean Six Sigma



  • Lean and Six Sigma are both process improvement methodologies

  • Lean is about speed and efficiency

  • Six Sigma is about precision and accuracy – leading to data-driven decisions

  • Both rooted in the 1980s (and earlier)

    • Lean arose as a method to optimize auto manufacturing

    • Six Sigma evolved as a quality initiative to reduce variance in the semiconductor industry

  • Six Sigma will eliminate defects but it will not address the question of how to optimize process flow

  • Lean principles exclude the advanced statistical tools often required to achieve the process capabilities needed to be truly 'lean?

  • Each approach can result in dramatic improvement, while utilizing both methods simultaneously holds the promise of being able to address all types of process problems with the most appropriate toolkit.

    For example, inventory reduction not only requires reducing batch sizes and linking operations by using Lean, but also minimizing process variation by utilizing Six Sigma tools.

  • Achieve total customer satisfaction and improved operational effectiveness and efficiency

    • Remove wasteful/non-value added activities

    • Decrease defects and cycle time, and increase first pass yields

  • Improve communication and teamwork through a common set of tools and techniques
    (a disciplined, repeatable methodology)

  • Develop leaders in breakthrough technologies to meet stretch goals of producing better products and services delivered faster and at lower cost

  • Specify value by product: Identify customer needs, specifications and requirements

  • Identify the value stream: Identify the process from product design to sales and to satisfying the customer’s needs and eliminate waste / variation

  • Make the product flow: Identify the bottlenecks within the process

  • Produce at the Pull of customer: Make the products to meet customer’s needs and requirements, and make it available when the customer wants it

  • In pursuit of perfection (Continuous Improvement) * (Nigel, 2004)


Define (D)

Define the process cycle time or lead time and takt time.

Measure (M)

Measure CT and Map the current state processes from the start to end points.

Analyze (A)

Analyze value and non-value added processes, bottleneck constraint and process efficiency.

Improve (I)

Improve to future state flow with cellular manufacturing, leveled schedule, single piece flow, quick setup, cross-training etc.

Control (C)

Control inventory and cycle time with kanban pull, visual control, fool-proofing and standardized works.



  • Continually focus on value for all stakeholders

  • Optimize enterprise flow

  • Optimize process capabilities

  • Assure seamless flow of information

  • Use flexible, pull processes

  • Enable visual controls

  • Have all tools & information at the point-of-use

  • Apply standard methods & mistake proofing

  • Build relationships across the value chain

7. Lean Six Sigma Tools






Pull system JIT

SMED Set-up reduction

5 S

7 Types of Waste

3 P

One Piece Flow (Load- Load)

Takt -time production

Cellular Manufacturing

Poka- Yoke


Hoshin planning




5 Whys


Visual Control

Point of use


8. Roadmap to eliminate the Seven Production Wastes


The 7 Wastes “Muda”




Counter measures


Producing more than the customer needs right now

* Producing product to stock based on sales forecasts

Producing more to avoid set-ups

* Batch process resulting in extra output


Long set-ups

 “Just in case” for breakdowns

Pull system scheduling

Heijunka – level loading

SMED Set-up reduction

TPM Total Productive Maintenance


Movement of product that does not add value

Moving parts in and out of storage

Moving material from one workstation to another

Batch production

Push production


Functional layout

Flow lines

Pull system

Value Stream organizations



Movement of people that does not add value

*  Searching for parts, tools, prints, etc.

*  Sorting through materials

*  Reaching for tools

*  Lifting boxes of parts

*  Workplace disorganization

*  Missing items

*  Poor workstation design

*  Unsafe work area

*  5S

*  Point of Use Storage

*  Water Spider

*  One-piece flow

*  Workstation design


Idle time created when material, information, people, or equipment is not ready


*  Waiting for parts

*  Waiting for prints

*  Waiting for inspection

*  Waiting for machines

*  Waiting for information

*  Waiting for machine repair

*  Push production

*  Work imbalance

*  Centralized inspection

*  Order entry delays

*  Lack of priority

*  Lack of communication

*  Downstream pull

*  Takt -time production

*  In-process gauging

*  Jidoka

*  Office Kaizen

*  TPM


Effort that adds no value from the customer’s viewpoint

*  Multiple cleaning of parts

*  Paperwork

*  Over-tight tolerances

*  Awkward tool or part design

*  Delay between processing

*  Push system

*  Customer voice not understood

*  Poor Design

*  Flow lines

*  One-piece pull

*  Office Kaizen

*  3P

*  Lean Design


More materials, parts, or products on hand than the customer needs right now

*  Raw materials

*  Work in process

*  Finished goods

*  Consumable supplies

*  Purchased components

*  Supplier lead-times

*  Lack of flow

*  Long set-ups

*  Long lead-times

*  Paperwork in process

*  Lack of ordering procedure

*  External kanban

*  Supplier development

*  One-piece flow lines

*  SMED Set-up reduction

*  Internal kanban


Work that contains errors, rework, mistakes or lacks something necessary

*  Scrap

*  Rework

*  Defects

*  Correction

*  Field failure

*  Variation

*  Missing parts

*  Process failure

*  Mis-loaded part

*  Batch process

*  Inspect-in quality

*  Incapable machines

*  Pokayoke

*  One-piece pull

*  3P Pre-Production Planning

*  Jidoka