The Role of Lean in Six Sigma

Are you familiar with the term "Lean Six Sigma"? If not, then you're missing out on one of the most powerful methodologies for improving business processes. Lean Six Sigma is a combination of two methodologies: Lean and Six Sigma. Both of these methodologies have been around for decades and have been used by businesses of all sizes to improve their processes and increase efficiency. But what is the role of Lean in Six Sigma? Let's find out.

What is Lean?

Lean is a methodology that was developed by Toyota in the 1950s. The goal of Lean is to eliminate waste and increase efficiency in business processes. Waste can be anything that doesn't add value to the customer, such as excess inventory, overproduction, defects, and waiting time. Lean focuses on identifying and eliminating these wastes to create a more streamlined process.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a methodology that was developed by Motorola in the 1980s. The goal of Six Sigma is to reduce defects in business processes. A defect is anything that doesn't meet the customer's requirements. Six Sigma uses statistical analysis to identify the root causes of defects and eliminate them.

The Role of Lean in Six Sigma

So, what is the role of Lean in Six Sigma? Lean and Six Sigma are complementary methodologies that work together to improve business processes. Lean focuses on eliminating waste, while Six Sigma focuses on reducing defects. By combining these two methodologies, businesses can create a more efficient and effective process.

Lean provides the tools and techniques for identifying and eliminating waste. These tools include value stream mapping, 5S, and Kaizen. Value stream mapping is a tool for identifying the value-added and non-value-added activities in a process. 5S is a methodology for organizing the workplace and eliminating unnecessary items. Kaizen is a continuous improvement methodology that involves making small, incremental improvements to a process.

Six Sigma provides the tools and techniques for reducing defects. These tools include statistical process control, design of experiments, and root cause analysis. Statistical process control is a tool for monitoring and controlling a process to ensure that it is operating within the desired parameters. Design of experiments is a methodology for testing different variables to identify the optimal settings for a process. Root cause analysis is a methodology for identifying the underlying causes of defects and eliminating them.

Benefits of Lean Six Sigma

The benefits of Lean Six Sigma are numerous. By eliminating waste and reducing defects, businesses can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction. Lean Six Sigma also provides a framework for continuous improvement, which means that businesses can continue to improve their processes over time.

Another benefit of Lean Six Sigma is that it provides a common language and methodology for improving processes. This means that everyone in the organization is speaking the same language and working towards the same goals. This can lead to better collaboration and teamwork, which can further improve the process.


In conclusion, the role of Lean in Six Sigma is to eliminate waste and increase efficiency in business processes. By combining Lean and Six Sigma, businesses can create a more streamlined and effective process that reduces defects and improves customer satisfaction. The benefits of Lean Six Sigma are numerous, including increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction. If you're not already using Lean Six Sigma in your business, then it's time to start.

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