What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six sigma is a statistical term used to refer to a process that generates a maximum defect probability of 3.4 parts per million (PPM). When the amount a process shifts and drifts are controlled over the long term to less than +1.5 standard deviations from the centered mean. Lean Six Sigma is used for Analysis and Elimination of Variation.

What is Lean "Kaizen"?

Lean, or Kaizen is a people driven continuous improvement system that can improve any work process. What this implies is that the tools/principles and practices of lean can improve any kind of work - anywhere in your enterprise - whether you are part of a corporation or not. The ultimate goal of a lean process transformation is to build a learning culture that solves customer problems forever.

The good news is that while your actions are building a new culture, those actions are also leaning all your work processes and reducing waste, reducing defects, speeding response times, reducing manpower requirements, and so on. Done right, this is definitely a pay-as-you-go process. There is yet to be an organization that, by applying lean principles rigorously, is not able to get a three to four month (or less) payback on the full costs of implementation, just from productivity gains.

George Koenigsaecker, Leading the Lean Enterprise Transformation

Simple Starting Definition of Lean "Kaizen"

Doing Lean:
"Continuous Improvement of the flow of value via the elimination of waste by the people who do the work, under the caring guidance of a teacher, in their workplace...."

Given that the majority of practitioners do not start from a "Greenfield" site nor have an already ‘Toyota production system-like' culture then a definition of Lean Transformation is required:- 

"Changing the way an enterprise approaches improvement and views its potential such that collectively people create ever improving result, and a culture, where Lean principles are routinely practiced and supported forever."

Finally I have learned that Lean transformation must be led so Lean leadership is....

"The creation of direction that results in an environment, where every member of the enterprise is nurtured and encouraged to practice Lean principle based improvement in support of True North Goals."
Chris Cooper, The Simpler Little Book of Lean

For more Lean definitions visit our Lean Dictionary.

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