When you think about Lean and Six Sigma as separate entities, it is easy to see how they fit together like a glove. Many feel that Lean and Six Sigma are saying the same thing in different ways. No, the similarity that they both share is in that they have the same goal, which is to eliminate waste.
Lean concentrates on workflow, and even has a tool named the 7 Wastes. which are:
Overproduction: Making too much product; this ties up money in materials and money in the production of products you don’t need.
Waiting: When staff in the production line are left waiting in between each step.
Transport: When products or materials are moved because they aren’t properly housed.
Motion: This occurs when the workspace isn’t properly organized.
Extra Processing: This is when you spend too much time in the production of the product.
Inventory: Many companies produce inventory they don’t need for “just in case” occasions. This just takes up space and you don’t know what the economy is going to do. This is a big waste.
Defects: If the process is done well, defects should never happen. These are a major waste because you need to spend even more time in correcting these, and are the cause of customer dissatisfaction.
Six Sigma looks to eliminate defects and any variations, which of course is waste. Their main tool is the DMAIC template. So they are after consistent results in their products.
To get consistent results, you must eliminate the waste because waste creates variants. Eventually you will see if you go after the same goal, you will ultimately be using both Lean and Six Sigma techniques and methodologies. So that’s why they make the perfect pair, and that is why we call it Lean Six Sigma. When you use Lean Six Sigma methodologies, no stone is left unturned.