Kaizen is all about improving the business as an entire entity. This is done by developing a standardized way of working, which is believed to increase efficiency and eliminate waste. This was used in the Toyota Production System.
Lean Six Sigma is focused on the quality of the product, by finding variables that cause errors. This also includes finding and eliminating waste (the Lean part) which increases production speed and quality.
The end result is the same, even if the words themselves aren’t expressed, they are implied. Lean Six Sigma’s ultimate goal is to help improve business.
Here is an overview of the Kaizen cycle for continuous improvement:
- Get employees Involved
- Gather list of problems
- Encourage solutions, choose an idea
- Test a solution
- Regularly measure and analyze results
- If successful, adopt the solution
- Repeat on an ongoing basis
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Here is the Six Sigma template for improvement:
Define: Define the issue or problem. Define the goal and include all pertinent information needed to state the reason for this project.
Measure: Make sure you measure the current data on the current process and don’t forget to have a baseline measurement.
Analyze: The causes of the issues. This can be done by using Six Sigma tools such as Root Cause Analysis, 5 Whys, Pareto Chart, just to name a few.
Improve: The process by taking solutions found in the Analyze phase and seeing how they work.
Control: Monitor on an ongoing basis to keep tabs on how well these improvements are working, and if you see any signs of reverting back, fix at that moment. As long as there is good monitoring, ongoing maintenance will be easy because you will catch the problem right away.