Lean Six Sigma is a business management tool and process improvement methodology. The concept of Six Sigma was first introduced back in 1986 by a group of statisticians working at Motorola. Looking at the number of years that have passed since its first launch, a person could be tempted to conclude that rapid technological changes in the past two decades have made Lean and Six Sigma irrelevant for today’s business.
Going by the above reasoning, fields such as Mathematics and Astronomy which rely on principles developed in Middle Ages should have long been redundant. But a rudimentary understanding of philosophy of the two subjects is enough to write off that claim. Similarly, even a basic understanding of the philosophy of Lean and Six Sigma would be sufficient to appreciate the immense relevance of the program in contemporary business management.
We look at how two of the most basic principles of Lean Six Sigma, which are its focus on continuous improvement and its data driven approach make it relevant today.
Lean and Six Sigma focus on eradicating waste in business’ operational processes. But it is not a one-time improvement that the program aims for. It, in fact, endeavors to achieve continuous improvement by finding better ways of doing things and constantly updating the procedures to meet the ever-evolving customers’ wants. Lean Six Sigma approach has led to innovation in products, services, markets and even a business’ underlying management model.
Studies have shown that companies that use Lean Six Sigma programs realize operational innovation and achieve better financial performance when compared to companies operating with traditional mindset.
Managers at Lean Six Sigma companies have:
As technology is becoming the center point of all business operations, we have access to more data than we have ever had before. Lean Six Sigma looks at problems through a statistical lens, and answers question of how the wastage problem that persists at your production floor can be converted into numbers and then be analyzed using statistical tools. So instead of falling out of relevance, Lean Six Sigma is only becoming more relevant because of a greater focus on data-led management solutions.
The change in management paradigm through a greater focus on innovative and data-centered practices has had measurable impact on businesses bottom line. For instance, Caterpillar Inc, a producer of heavy machinery was able to achieve “phenomenal success in its low‐emissions diesel engine” and in 5 years of implementation of Lean Six Sigma its revenue had grown by 80%.
Since Lean Six Sigma focuses on innovation and data driven solution, it is still a very relevant management tool.
If you wish to learn more about the system of Lean Six Sigma, please check out LearningManager Lean Six Sigma.