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Lean Six Sigma Made Simple

Posted on May 23, 2016 4:00 pm;

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By Rebecca Langdon


Lean Six Sigma sounds complicated but in reality it is a methodology to improve processes, remove

defects, and move towards perfect production. The concept itself was developed by Motorola’s Bill

Smith in 1986, but is was GE’s Jack Welch who brought it into mainstream organisational business

strategy. Over time it has transformed into a management approach, but at its core it is a set of tools

and quality management techniques. It uses metrics, and empirical evidence to distinguish areas of

weakness/opportunity, looks at ways to address that, make the change, and then embed that into

the organisation. One of the key models referred to in Lean Six Sigma is DMAIC; this model describes the

process in practical terms.



1- Define Opportunities

What are you trying to solve?

What is the potential improvement opportunity?


2 - Measure Performance

In this phase a data collection plan should be produced. A baseline will be established

and metrics for measurement will be agreed upon. It would be useful at this point to carry

out a root cause analysis.


3-  Analyze Opportunity

Once the data has been collected, the results can be evaluated. In practical terms this

phase will happens in conjunction with the prior phase.


4- Improve Performance

This is the time to develop an elegant solution to improve performance. The process should

be adjusted to remove the defect which was established in the first stage.


5- Control Performance

Continued measurement and processes should be put in place to ensure that the newly

achieved improvement is maintained. At this stage a Six Sigma team would be handing the

change to the operational teams to maintain.


In Summary

If used correctly, Lean Six Sigma could offer vast cost and process efficiencies to an organization. To

learn more about Lean Six Sigma you might consider taking a formalised course.


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