What is Lean Six Sigma?
Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a work methodology that makes the best use of time and resources in a business environment. Lean Six Sigma’s guidance and best practices are designed to help an organization streamline operations and remove waste while developing a better product. That sounds like a tall order, but it’s been shown to work across a spectrum of business types.
- Lean: The elimination of waste regarding both time and resources by the paring down of systems to their most essential components.
- Six Sigma: Effective problem solving using a logical progression of steps designed to reduce defects in the end product.
Both use ongoing measurement and analysis of results to continuously refine a company’s output. The goal is not only to produce a better product for the consumer but also to create a working environment that’s more efficient and effective, making the best use of the time allotted for production.
How do businesses implement Lean Six Sigma (LSS)?
Management is the first sector of employees to receive training in LSS, followed by the teams that will work under them. Some of the core objectives of having a team learn about LSS are to:
- Eliminate waste of time and material.
- Refine systems of production.
- Improve the quality of the finished product.
It will give you a leg up in your career if you can add familiarity with Lean Six Sigma to your resume. This system applies to any business or manufacturing job, and it’s a good investment of your time to learn what you can about the process. Lean Six Sigma courses online will give you a working knowledge of the techniques used to improve any working environment.
How can individual business competence be attained using Lean Six Sigma?
Lean Six Sigma (LSS) has six discrete roles that companies can use to increase confidence and skill in employees. It relies on the assumption that those closest to the work are the most knowledgeable when it comes to suggesting improvements. The colour belts of karate are used as a framework, and each level incorporates the skills of all the levels before it:
- White Belt: Understands LSS structure and reports process issues.
- Yellow Belt: Familiar with LSS concepts and serves on project teams.
- Green Belt: Has more expertise, starts and manages projects.
- Black Belt: Advanced expertise, team leader, teacher, mentor.
- Master Black Belt: Leads projects, works with team leaders, responsible for LSS implementation.
- Champion: Executive leader, selects projects, removes barriers to LSS and supports change.
Set Yourself Up to Be a Leader
Companies that employ the Lean Six Sigma model need project managers who are well-versed in the nuances of the system. If you’re already employed by a company that decides to adopt this type of business approach, your prior knowledge will be an asset to your career. While you and everyone on your team are participating in the initial training, you can position yourself as the go-to person to answer questions about LSS. This is one way that taking Lean Six Sigma courses online can prepare you to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
Lean Six Sigma Case Studies
In the past year alone, an impressive number of corporations and government agencies have benefitted from the Lean Six Sigma system. Quadrant Engineering has employed LSS techniques among several subgroups in each of their eight North American manufacturing sites. LSS Black Belts led several projects at a time, and project teams supported aspects of each initiative. Quadrant used LSS as a “data-driven, team-based, scientific problem-solving method” to improve productivity, quality and yield in measurable ways.
Lean Six Sigma has also been helpful when combined with Human Factors Engineering to improve people-oriented businesses like hospitals. As profit pressures and limited resources have made it ever more difficult for hospitals to provide top-level care for patients, human error has increased. A 2000 study of over 33 million hospital admissions concluded that there were between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths each year due to medical error. The principles of LSS have been put to work to reduce this number in hospitals all over the world.
Lean Six Sigma and Your Career
As you can see, LSS is a framework for success for any type of endeavor, whether it’s used to improve a manufacturing process or provide guidance in the best way to care for sick people. Learning everything you can about LSS will give you many of the tools you need to be an effective and successful professional, whatever career path you choose. If your company decides to embrace Lean Six Sigma, you’ll also be uniquely positioned to contribute to the project and increase your responsibility and visibility at work.
This article was written by Andrej Kovacevic. Andrej is an avid internet technologist. He believes that the key to modern marketing excellence is a constant willingness to learn and adapt to the ever-changing digital world. You can find him on LinkedIn.