What is the difference between Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma only?

What is the difference between Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma only? by Shweta Ravi

Six Sigma is a data-driven methodology first introduced in the 1970s. Dr. Mikel Harry, the senior staff at Motorola, was first one to try statistical problem-solving. Later on Bill Smith, an engineer at Motorola designed six-step methodology to reduce variation and considered as the father of Six Sigma. Jack Welch then made it the center of business strategy at General Electrical. In today’s competitive world, Six Sigma has widely accepted as a philosophy for growth across different sectors.

Six Sigma is based on data analysis, hence helps in reducing risk which one of the many reasons that Six Sigma is still preferred over other improvement methodologies. The objective is to remove defects at the source and bring down performance to ‘six sigma’ level i.e. 3.4 defects for every one million opportunities. Continuous effort is made to achieve stable and predictable process.

Even before Six Sigma in 1930 in Japan, the owner of Toyota motors, Kiichiro Toyoda, asked Taiichi Ohno (Industrial Engineer) to look into Henry Ford, flow production model. This journey resulted in the introduction of Toyota Production System, which then became the foundation of ‘Lean Methodology,’ focused on reducing waste in the process.

In early 2000, the first concept of Lean Six Sigma introduced, which combines both the methodology to reduce waste and variation in the process.

Edward Deming has consolidated Six Sigma methodology in five step model widely known as DMAIC, (Define, Measure, Analysis, Improve, and Control), which continued for Lean Six Sigma as well. The objective of each step is now achieved using both statistical and lean methods.

What is the difference between Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma only?

What are the things I should keep in mind when starting as an entrepreneur?

 

Here are the things I learned from successful entrepreneur’s interviews, my experience:

1. Probability of failure will be much higher than chances of success – so always have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C ready

2. If you think its worth a goal, Never give up. Failure is just a point where you stop trying.

3. Take feedback from every intelligent person you know but final decision should always be yours.

What are the things I should keep in mind when starting as an entrepreneur?

What is throughput time? Is it the same as lead time?

 

Throughput time is not a widely used word in Lean Six Sigma world.

‘Throughput’ is the number of items produced by a process in a given period of time. And ‘Cycle time’ is the average time required to produced one item by a process.

So if for Process A, cycle time is 10 mins per item.

Throughput of the process will be 6 items per hour.

Lead time is the time required to deliver final product to the client, i.e. time lag between initiation and completion of the request.

Assume, for A Process A, a request was raised on 20-Mar and product delivered to client on 22-Mar, the lead time is 2 days while the cycle time is only 10 mins, which means for rest of the time the request Is actually waiting in the queue for some reason/s. This gives you an opportunity for process improvement.

Another concept worth understanding is Takt time.

Takt time is the rate at which process should run in order to meet customer demand.

For example, on a particular day for Process A, the demand is 100 items.

Assuming 2 people working for 8 hours per day:

Total available time = 2*8 = 16 hours = 960 mins

Takt time = [Time available] / [ Number of units to be processed] = 16 hours / 100 items

= 9.6 mins per item

So with the current cycle time of 10 mins, you won’t be able to achieve demand. Hence the cycle time should always be less than takt time. Now, you can run another project to reduce process cycle time to 9.6 mins per item.

What is throughput time? Is it the same as lead time?

What are the career opportunities after a Lean Six Sigma certificate?

 

Companies across all sectors are giving a lot of importance to process excellence in the current world. I have seen many companies promoting Lean Six Sigma training program. They also run in-house process excellence training programs. Sometimes, it’s part of manager’s KRA to get x% of resources trained on basic process excellence methodology. And some companies also expect manager’s to have knowledge of Lean Six Sigma to get promoted to the next level.

After certification, you can get into the core process excellence role, which will involve identifying process improvement opportunities, competency building, helping business operations to run as per service level agreement, etc. In this role, you won’t be a part of any primary service teams but will be aligned with them to achieve process efficiency more like a third party character. Depending on your experience, you can get into a particular hierarchical level.

Another option is to stay in main business line i.e. as a part of some operations team and use process excellence knowledge to get that extra bonus points. Kano model developed in 1980, still holds true for customer satisfaction. There are basic needs (must be’s), performance needs (leading to satisfaction if fulfilled and dissatisfaction if not), and delighters. Lean Six Sigma certification will help you identify and achieve those delighters.

What are the career opportunities after a Lean Six Sigma certificate?

What is the advantage of conditional formatting?

 

The attention (Transient) span for a human is said to be as low as 8 seconds. Some researchers do disagree with this number, but the widely accepted fact is, span is low. Even the focused attention for a healthy adult is not more than 20 min.

And, hence the birth to data visualization and that’s where condition formatting comes into the picture.

Let’s consider a very simple example, below figure shows Monthly sales data of the sales persons without condition formatting:

Now here is the data with condition formatting using ‘Data bar’ option in condition formatting. Looks better!

Condition formatting can have major effect in the way data is presented. For example, below shows employee attendance schedule (template readily available in MS EXCEL)

WITHOUT CONDITION FORMATTING:

WITH CONDITION FORMATTING:

Condition formatting can be used to highlight cells as per predefined rule. You can use various color coding or icons to highlight current status, blank cells etc; also, condition formatting can be used to highlight rows or columns depending on the data updated in.

What is the advantage of conditional formatting?

How can I calculate the mean formula in Microsoft Excel?

 

You can used AVERAGE or AVERAGEA depending on your requirement.

AVERAGE is used if all data points are number only.

AVERAGEA function is used if all non-blank fields (text or number) should be included while calculating mean.

Syntax: AVERAGE (RANGE); AVERAGEA (RANGE)

For example shown below:

AVERAGE (B1:B16) = SUM (B1: B16)/COUNT (B1: B16)=30/11=2.727 (30/11)

AVAERAGA (B1:B16) = SUM (B1:B16) / COUNTA (B1:B16) = 30 / 15 = 2

If the data set doesn’t have any text then AVERAGE will be equal to AVERAGEA as COUNT will be equal to COUNTA.

How can I calculate the mean formula in Microsoft Excel?

What are the best six sigma projects?

 

The one question I have heard a lot during my practice as Lean Six Sigma Consultant is “If I save X FTEs, will this project classify as Six Sigma.” And my answer is always, ‘No…it will not.’ The ideal Six Sigma project is when the problem is complex, and the solution is unknown. The methodology used to solve the problem defines the project type. There are scenarios when Kaizen has given better financial benefit than the Six Sigma project. So economic interest can be used as criteria to define Best Six Sigma Project? I don’t think so.

For me, Best Six Sigma Project depends on how effectively people are utilizing Six Sigma Methodology to solve the problem. Out of all five stages of a six sigma project, people spend more than 70% of the time on Analyze and Improve phase. I agree with Amit, Control phase is underrated but so as Define and Measure.

Recently, I came across one brilliant (in a sarcastic way) project, where process owner refused to define the target for the project. They were like ‘Let’s start with the project and then depending on how much improvement we achieve, we will update target,‘ because they wanted to get a sign-off. It shocked me to death. Thankfully, we have strict governance mechanism to avoid such situations.

If someone wants to work on ‘Best Six Sigma’ project, first ensure Six Sigma is the right methodology for the project. Knowing solution in advance is not a bad thing, just go ahead and implement, don’t try to fit in Six Sigma methodology unnecessarily. And then follow through the each phase effectively. Define what problem needs fixing, Measure how we are performing as of now, Analyze the cause of the Problem, Improve to resolve the Problem and Control to sustain the newly achieved results.

What are the best six sigma projects?