Lean Six Sigma – What Is It?
Lean Six Sigma is a methodology for increasing organizational productivity and efficiency through a structured problem solving process called “DMAIC”, utilizing a defined set of tools. The focus is on improving organizational systems and work processes.
The “lean” dimension of Lean Six Sigma is about removing non-value added work (called “waste”) out of processes to reduce costs and improve accuracy and efficiency. Wasting time, traveling long distances, and defects that require rework are all example of waste. Eliminating waste creates processes that need less effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services at far less cost and with far fewer defects than those created by traditional business systems.
The “six sigma” dimension of Lean Six Sigma is about reducing variation and improving process accuracy through the use of statistical tools. Ideally, a six sigma process is 99.9997% defect free or produces only 3.4 or fewer defects per million opportunities, but the realistic goal of six sigma is to achieve an appropriate sigma level for key business processes. Lean Six Sigma treats lean and six sigma as complementary disciplines for achieving operational excellence.
Lean Six Sigma continues to evolve and grow in popularity, with 84% of Fortune companies and 38% of small businesses currently utilizing LSS or its tools. (Source: Department of Commerce). Companies that have embraced LSS recognize how crucial process efficiency is to their success. In a highly competitive environment, businesses understand that the best way to delight customers and grow profits is to commit to continuous improvement, with process excellence as a key measure of success.
Lean Six Sigma Isn’t Just for Manufacturing
A popular misconception is that Lean Six Sigma is suited only to manufacturing or factory environments. This is a relic of the early days of lean manufacturing. Lean Six Sigma is a powerful methodology that applies to every process in every business in both manufacturing and services, including healthcare, government, education, and not-for-profit. Lean Six Sigma applies to all business functions whether in human resources, marketing, finance, engineering, R&D, operations, or any other area. Lean Six Sigma tools identify root causes, outline solution strategies, select from those strategies, and implement solutions.
Lean Six Sigma projects generally return a minimum of $50,000 but can easily return millions of dollars, depending on project scope. Very small projects may simply utilize a few tools to solve problems quickly. Very large projects can be decomposed into smaller projects to deliver incremental benefits more quickly than a single large project. The best outcomes are achieved when Lean Six Sigma is embraced as a company-wide continuous improvement effort – every department can use the same LSS tools to achieve outstanding results.
Lean Six Sigma at RIT
Whether you need assistance with continuous improvement, organizational planning, identification of process improvement projects that make a significant contribution to your critical business goals, or development of an effective workforce deployment framework, RIT's Center for Quality and Applied Statistics (CQAS) can help. Our clients come from a broad range of industry sectors including manufacturing, services, healthcare, and education.
CQAS offers onsite or blended contract training for your organization as well as open enrollment programs on RIT's campus, led by instructors with in-depth experience implementing Lean Six Sigma and quality systems. Our training offers:
- Practical application of Lean Six Sigma through work related projects embedded into our training. Participants apply our curriculum to projects relevant to their daily work responsibilities which leads to a practical approach to learning new skills
- Lean Kaizen improvement and Six Sigma project management for both short term incremental gains and long term process improvement.
CQAS's Lean Six Sigma training programs provide extensive instruction on the building blocks of quality management through a comprehensive program that includes the following modules:
- Management Overview & Deployment Training
- Yellow Belt Training
- Green Belt Training
- Black Belt Training
- Kaizen Event Training
Our Lean Six Sigma programs are led by expert instructors in an extensive interactive environment. Participants are exposed to each topic through in-depth classroom assignments and structured exercises within a team environment.
Better Quality, Reduced Waste & Improved Performance
The main benefits of implementing RIT’s CQAS Lean Six Sigma training program include the elimination of waste, profit improvement, cycle reduction, and overall process improvement. The program’s core objectives include:
• Reduction of new product development time
• Reduction of product delivery time
• Reduction of waste and costs
• Reduction of work-in-process inventory
• Reduction of product variability
• Increased profits
• Increased customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty
The direct outcome of this training program is the development of a process improvement methodology that increases your company’s responsiveness and maximizes the entire value delivery system. Through aggressive identification and elimination of non-value added activities (waste), optimum value flow is achieved. Detailed analysis of product travel distances, set-up times, equipment downtime, scrap, rework and other non-productive items is conducted to identify key areas for improvement and waste elimination. The Lean Six Sigma process focuses on delivering value from a customer’s perspective through the entire value chain.
RIT’s CQAS Lean Six Sigma program provides access to a proven, statistically-based problem solving process that generates superior data driven solutions, productive yields, and dramatically improved bottom-line results.
Lean Six Sigma Projects