What is Lean Six Sigma | Michael L. George

Summary of: What is Lean Six Sigma
By: Michael L. George


Gain insight into the powerful concept of Lean Six Sigma and its importance in improving business performance and customer satisfaction through this book summary of ‘What is Lean Six Sigma’ by Michael L. George. The book explores the combination of two groundbreaking methodologies, Lean and Six Sigma, in achieving dramatic improvements in efficiency, delivery times, and quality. Lean emphasizes speed and reducing waste, while Six Sigma aims for near-perfect quality and financial results, making this fusion a winning formula for businesses seeking greater success.

The Importance of Lean Six Sigma

Learn why Six Sigma and Lean are the perfect combination to achieve process improvements without sacrificing quality.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, hailed Six Sigma as “the most important initiative GE has ever undertaken.” However, he acknowledged that it was alone not enough to achieve the desired performance improvements. While Six Sigma focused on reducing defects, it said nothing about time. Welch recognized the need for a new measure to reduce variations in delivery based on the customer’s requested delivery date, which he called “span.”

A survey in Industry Week magazine found that over half of the responding firms failed to achieve the world-class objective of meeting delivery deadlines 98% of the time. More strikingly, three-quarters of these firms couldn’t cut their lead times by 20% in the five years before the survey.

That’s where Lean Six Sigma comes in. Lean is all about speed, and Six Sigma is all about quality. Together, they create a powerful combination that ensures continual process improvements while keeping costs under control. Lean Six Sigma helps address both the activities that affect the customer’s perception of quality and those that cause delays, leading to faster deliveries and improved customer satisfaction.

Welch’s insightful metaphor tells us that customers experience a delivery time that is either satisfactory or frustrating, and an improvement in average delivery times means little to them. Lean Six Sigma’s focus on reducing variations and consistent standardization leaves nothing to chance and makes sure that the customer always receives a product or service they are content with.

In conclusion, Lean Six Sigma is an excellent methodology to deliver quality improvements and lean speed to any process. Invest in Lean Six Sigma to eliminate any variations in delivery and achieve superior customer satisfaction.

Achieving Perfection through Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a methodology that aims to achieve perfection in business leadership and performance, benefiting customers, associates, and shareholders. This approach requires a quality-driven culture that prioritizes customer centricity, financial performance, management engagement, resource commitment, and execution infrastructure. Six Sigma sets a goal of near-perfection by measuring quality and identifying critical aspects of the production process that require improvement. This is accomplished by translating customer input into measurable metrics, defining failures to meet critical quality standards as defects, and solving them through organized Six Sigma teams. Financial performance is the key driver of Six Sigma, with leaders required to add significant amounts to the bottom line each year. To achieve the full benefits of Six Sigma, companies must commit between 1% to 3% of their workforce, including full-time Six Sigma professionals called Champions and Black Belts, who work towards achieving operational goals set by the CEO. In summary, Six Sigma is an effective methodology that requires strong commitment, leadership, and rigorous execution to achieve lasting business success.

The Essence of Lean Management

Lean philosophy is centered around eliminating waste in production processes, reducing delays, and improving quality to meet customers’ demands. The focus is not on speeding up the production line, but on maximizing value-added time while minimizing non-value added time, thus reducing variable delays. A critical metric in Lean is the process cycle efficiency, which compares value-added time to total lead time. Lean management not only saves costs but also saves working capital, labor expenses, storage costs, and lead time. In Lean, process flexibility, prioritizing CTQ elements, and reducing batch sizes, among others, are crucial principles to attain velocity and efficiency.

Mastering Lean Six Sigma

This book explains how merging Lean and Six Sigma can result in massive cost savings and improvements in delivery times. The author presents a step-by-step guide to implementing Lean Six Sigma using the DMAIC formula. The book suggests involving high-level management during initiation, selecting the best resources, and saturating the entire organization with Lean Six Sigma. The author emphasizes the significance of dealing with the human element of improvement, which plays a more significant role in team success than analytical processes. Tollgates, which are meetings held during each step, are crucial in assessing the team’s progress and competence, determining whether the project is on track, and planning for political interference. If you’re looking to improve your organization’s efficiency and achieve significant cost savings, this book provides an excellent guide to mastering Lean Six Sigma.

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