A comparison between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma

Both Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma have become an integral part of every business as they help the organizations to establish their presence firmly in this steep competitive market. Though the benefits of both are unfathomable, still there is a strong debate on the business world whether they should go adopt Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma when it comes to streamlining their business process and efficiencies. Let’s compare these two methods and find out which one is the best.

Primarily, there are many resemblances between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma because their goal is the same. But they follow a different approach to achieve this goal. The main difference between Lean and Six Sigma is that they identify the root cause of waste differently.

  • According to the Lean Six Sigma experts, unnecessary steps in the production process generate wastes and they don’t add any value to the finished product. While on the other hand, Six Sigma experts believe that wastes result from variation or discrepancy within the process.
  • Six Sigma has the capacity to eliminate the defects or errors of a process but it can’t address the issue of optimizing process flow. On the other hand, the Lean Six Sigma method excludes the use of advanced and complicated statistical metrics that are required to estimate. This method simply compresses the process capabilities so that they can truly become ‘lean’.
  • Lean Six Sigma is applicable only in the manufacturing industry whereas, every business is getting benefitted by using Six Sigma methodologies.
  • Six Sigma uses many statistical metrics to calculate but Lean Six Sigma is totally based on a comparison of best practices and the current.
  • From Improvement perspective, Six Sigma reduces variation and Lean reduces waste. Six Sigma aims at a process performance of 3.4 Defects per Million opportunity and Lean focuses on improving speed.
  • The length of a Six Sigma project is nearly 2 to 6 months and for a lean, the project length is 1 week to 3 months. This is because Six Sigma projects have higher intricacies as compared to the Lean Six Sigma projects.
  • Data plays an imperative role in Six Sigma project because data is the main driver in a Six Sigma On the other hand, demand is the prime driver for a Lean Six Sigma project.
  • Six Sigma principles usually improve the cost of poor quality, the Lean Six Sigma approach improves the operating costs of a project. Six Sigma has a longer learning curve and lean has a shorter one.

So, if efficiency is concerned, then Lean Six Sigma is definitely the best approach. But as you know “there is no one cure for all ailments”, similarly there is no particular one solution to the problems that the corporates are facing regularly. That’s why companies are adopting both these methodologies and are identifying and rectifying the problems at the root level by using the most relevant toolkits.

Thus, it can be concluded that Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma are two sides of the same coin.

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