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Lean Six Sigma Language: A Quick Review of the Basics

lean six sigma

When it comes to Lean Six Sigma, acronyms and tools are a staple. The different acronyms and different tools could get confusing if not reviewed frequently — which brings up a good point of continuous education as a form of review as well as progressing forward. Think of reviewing as visiting an old friend and promising not to forget them. So, it’s in that spirit that we pay a visit to the various Lean Six Sigma acronyms as well as tools for your review.

DMAIC: Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control. This is used when you want to improve some product or service or system that is existing. 

DMADV: Define-Measure-Analyze-Design-Verify. This is used when developing a new product, service or process.

5S Tool: Stands for Sort-Straighten-Shine-Standardize-Sustain (English translation). This is a tool that is meant to help organize, get rid of waste, and increase performance as well as safety.

5 Whys Tool: This is the most basic root cause analysis technique, and it is used in the Analyze phase of the DMAIC template. After you narrow down what the cause of the problem is, you keep asking why and answering until you get down to the root of the issue. Its simplicity is genius.

6 Ms: These are the elements that create variations in a process. Man-Machine-Material- Method-Measurement-Mother Nature (AKA environment). 

CTO: Critical to Quality. A component of a process or product that has a direct impact on whether the customer feels that the process or product is of acceptable quality. 

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Customer CTO: All quality in all products or services is set by the requirements of the customer; in other words, the customer sets the standard.

DPMO: Defects Per Million Opportunities. This is one of the common long-term measures of process performance. It is the ratio of the number of defects in a sample to the total number of defect opportunities multiplied by a million. 

FIFO: First In First Out. This is a method of inventory rotation where the first items brought in are the first ones used.

FMEA: Failure Modes Effects Analysis. This is a technique for increasing performance.

This is just a snippet of the Lean Six Sigma list that everyone should be reviewing in a timely manner. Interested in diving deeper into Lean Six Sigma?  Contact us for Lean Six Sigma Training Online