Lately there’s been a great deal of talk around Lean execution. But, some people speak of Lean, some speak of Six Sigma and some use a combination of the two. But, what’s the difference? How do you know what’s right for your organization?

Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that combines process speed with quality. To become a truly more efficient and effective organization in terms of operations and business processes, you must have both Lean and Six Sigma methodologies; having one without the other ultimately results in process destruction. Lean, itself, focuses on speed. It emphasizes reducing the amount of time between activities, events, and cycles. The shorter the cycle time, the more cycles you can complete in a given amount of time. Lean also identifies areas where process waste and bottlenecks can be eliminated.

While lean promotes rapid business processes the problem that arises from it is a lack of quality. It doesn’t matter how many forms are completed or calls are taken if the data and information captured is not up to par. Simply completing activities rapidly, without check marks fosters an environment prone to errors and often requires rework. This is where Six Sigma becomes essential to business process management.

The Six Sigma methodology is a quality tool that emphasizes reducing the number of errors in a process. It focuses on identifying variation in the types of data inputs, and looks at Root Cause Analysis to determine the source of errors. After all, what good is it to complete a process quickly if the information is incorrectly entered?

To ensure process and organizational success a combination of both lean and six sigma are needed. Together lean and six sigma work through process mapping to model and automate the most efficient, quality workflows possible, allowing your company to maximize productivity, while eliminating waste and reducing costs. Having a Lean Six Sigma approach to your business processes is essential for any company to achieve operational excellence.

Content Credits to: Emily McKenzie

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