- Key Elements of Lean Six Sigma
- The Three Secrets to Leading, Launching and Sustaining Lean Six Sigma
- How Lean Six Sigma Can Improve Your Bottom Line
- Determine if Lean Six Sigma is right for your organization
- Effective Ways to Get Started
FREE Executive Overview: The Three Secrets to Leading, Launching and Sustaining Lean Six Sigma.
This Executive Overview will cover:
What is Lean Six Sigma?
Lean Six Sigma describes the improvement activities within an organization. To accomplish this, organizations adopt a philosophy of engaging employees, using data to solve problems and relentlessly focusing on customers. People often make the mistake of viewing Lean Six Sigma as a program rather than a never ending process of continuous improvement.
The history of Lean Six Sigma (LSS)
LSS refers to improvement activities within an organization. Other commonly used terms are “Operational Excellence” and “Continuous Improvement.”
The history of LSS is as old as civilization itself because we all have an innate desire to improve the way we work and live. However, the systematic approach to implementing LSS began with Dr. W. Edwards Deming in 1950.
After World War II, General MacArthur was charged with rebuilding Japan. He invited an American named Dr. Deming to help the Japanese improve the quality of their products. Deming taught the Japanese the basics of statistical process control, systematic problem solving, data analysis, employee involvement and other modern management techniques.
With these techniques, Japan was able to revolutionize their industry and become a fierce competitor in the world market. The annual national quality award for the best-run companies in Japan is named the Deming Prize in honor of him.
The most famous Deming Prize winning company is Toyota where many of the LSS tools and concepts originated. LSS is based on the teachings of Dr. Deming as well as other LSS giants such as Dr. Juran, Dr. Ishikawa, Mr. Shingo and Mr. Ohno. Today, companies around the world have adopted LSS as a way of life with great success.
The science of LSS as a management system continues to evolve as companies adopt to the ever changing needs of their customers.
Why the term Lean Six Sigma? In the 1950s, Japan adopted the term Total Quality Control (TQC). Companies in the U.S. started to learn about Deming and TQC in the 1980's and 1990's. These companies often used the term Total Quality Management. Motorola, a leader in Total Quality Management, named their efforts “Six Sigma.” This refers to a statistical term that means three defects per million—near perfect quality.
When GE started using the term Six Sigma in the 1990's, it was widely adopted as a fresher replacement of the 1980's word “Total Quality." The term “Lean was adopted in the 1980's. It was based on an MIT study of the status of American, European and Japanese car industries. This study culminated in the publishing of the book “The Machine that Changed the World." In this book, the word “Lean” was used to describe Toyota’s relentless pursuit of improving productivity through the elimination of waste. Many organizations have brought the two concepts together to describe their improvement efforts. Hence, the term “Lean Six Sigma.”