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Learn all you need to know about lean six sigma!
Lean six sigma is a combination of two popular continuous improvement methods - lean and six sigma that pave the way for operational excellence. These time-tested approaches provide organizations with a clear path for achieving their missions as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Before defining lean six sigma in more detail, it’s important to clarify the concept of process improvement. Since lean six sigma is a system for analyzing and improving processes, we’ll break down those terms first.
What is a process?
A process is a series of steps involved in building a product or delivering a service. Almost everything we do is a process - tying our shoes, baking a cake, treating a cancer patient, or manufacturing a cell phone.
What is process improvement?
Process improvement requires employees to better understand the current state of how a process functions in order to remove the barriers to serving customers. Since each product or service is the result of a process, gaining the skills required to remove waste, rework or inefficiency is critical for the growth of an organization.
Working on a process vs in a process
Employees are hired based on their expertise in a given field. Bakers are good at baking, and surgeons are good at performing surgery. Professionals are experts at working in a process, but they are not necessarily experts at working on a process. Learning to work on and improve processes require experience and education in continuous improvement. That’s where lean six sigma comes in.
Combining lean and six sigma
Lean six sigma provides a systematic approach and a combined toolkit to help employees build their problem-solving muscles. Both lean and six sigma are based on a scientific method, and together, they support organizations looking to build a problem-solving culture. This means that “finding a better way” becomes a daily habit.