As the author of an acclaimed book on Lean Six Sigma, I am something of an expert on the topic. However, I recognize that many of my readers (maybe even you) are checking out this blog because they want to learn more about it.

So, let’s take a look at what Lean Six Sigma is.

Among other things, Lean Six Sigma is a managerial concept that, generally speaking, aims to reduce variation and waste, boost efficiency and help organizations operate in an effective and efficient manner. Effectiveness relates to an organization’s ability to serve its customers, while efficiency refers to the organization’s ability to be effective using minimal resources. It is an integration of the Toyota Production System known as Lean and Six Sigma, another managing strategy that was developed by Motorola and gained widespread popularity in the business world after General Electric CEO Jack Welch introduced it to his company in the 1990s.

Lean Six Sigma categorizes waste into seven “types” — inventory, transportation, motion, waiting, over-production, over-processing and defects — and recommends ways of improving in these areas.

Practitioners of Lean Six Sigma are referred to by “belts,” much like karate. Thus, there are white, yellow, green, black and master black “belts,” each of which signifies a different level of familiarity or expertise with Lean Six Sigma concepts.

The original concept of Lean Six Sigma was developed before many technological advances, like smartphones and widespread use of fast Internet connections, were in place, so it has been improved upon over time by other business experts, including myself. It continues to evolve, but there is an established body of knowledge that is becoming standardized.

Although Lean Six Sigma was initially used for manufacturing companies, many of its lessons are applicable to organizations in any field. Its spillover benefits have been praised by voices in nearly every industry.

This is intended only to be a general introduction to the concept of Lean Six Sigma.

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