Six Sigma training was originally based on the science of quality control. What was a part of the reduction of error and defective manufacturing was adapted to a broad spectrum of business beyond manufacturing. The focus always remained the same, Six Sigma methods were designed to reduce errors and produce higher quality outcomes.
Lean Six Sigma programs were concerned with the other half of efficiency picture, speed and production. Lean Six Sigma focuses on sources of duplication and bottlenecks that reduce productivity. The Lean Six Sigma process identifies areas where waste can be removed. Eight types of waste in organizations stand out.
- Waiting: It may be having to wait for the next activity, process, step or item of information. Process wait time can take up the majority of a process cycle.
- Overproduction: Making to much of a product or preparing for too much service ahead of demand can result in waste from over-effort, too much production that can’t be converted to profit or idle staff.
- Error correction: Having to spend resources correcting errors or mistakes can severely reduce efficiency.
- Over-processing of information, data, excessive testing, or unmarketable features on products can result in a lot of wasted effort.
- Excessive moves: Offices or shop floors that require excessive motion, or excessive transfer of people, supplies, materials and documents can result in massive wasted energy and resource allocation as well as possible employee health problems.
- Too much inventory: excessive overstock of raw materials or supplies requires wasted maintenance as well as loss from expired inventory.
- Intellectual waste: failure to make use of available talents and intellectual resources can mean poor matching of people and tasks and failure to use personnel efficiently.
- Unnecessary transporting of equipment, people or components could mean inefficient office or shop floor design that slows processes.
The original Six Sigma emphasis on quality control and the Lean Six Sigma emphasis on efficiency, are complimentary parts of a management tool-kit. Both training can be pursued together to vastly improve the return on effort for any organization.
Thomas Pyzdek wrote the book on Six Sigma training and certification, and offers certification course for Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma at all levels.