This is my first official blog. I have long been impressed with the blogs of people like Jon Miller from Gemba Research and have finally decided to throw my hat into the blog ring.
I thought I would focus my first blog on the topic of which problem solving methodology – Lean or Six Sigma – companies should focus their efforts and money on.
Let me preface by saying I am a Master Black Belt who passionately loves both Lean and Six Sigma… I truly have no “favorite” for lack of a better term.
Now that I have played the pragmatic role as well as possible let me cut to the chase and get to my point.
Six Sigma attacks variability and can also be used to “move the mean” while Lean attacks waste while increasing the velocity of a product or service through its “value stream.”
I have seen people attempt to fix problems more suited for Lean tools with Six Sigma and vice versa. When this happens things are likely to be tough no matter how skilled the individual is.
My best advice is to not be biased and to simply pick the right tool for the job. As you would likely never attempt to paint your living room walls with a toothbrush the same goes for continuous improvement.
My recommendations are to:
- Use Six Sigma when you need to reduce variation/defects or move the mean of a process.
- Use Lean Manufacturing when you need to eliminate waste or speed things up.
What about combining methodologies? Ahhh… stay tuned for this idea as it just may be a topic for a future blog!