Session ETD 425 The suitability of lean, six sigma and lean six sigma for small, medium and large scale firms Shweta Sareen, Chad Laux, Brandeis MarshallPurdue University West Lafayette, Indiana Abstract Lean six sigma uses a combination of lean thinking and six sigma project methodology called DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) to achieve high performing business results. The DMAIC approach is proven to help organizations achieve on time delivery of the right quality and quantity to satisfy customers. Lean thinking is based upon the reduction of waste and focused on added value. An important decision for an organization is to choose between lean, six sigma or some combination of these concepts. This paper studies the most relevant characteristics of the three methodologies based upon an original research study. A review of literature describes how organizations differ greatly in terms of scale and are categorized as small, medium (SME) and large. Based upon a maturity model concepts, this paper studies the characteristics of these organizations and proposes the best methodology among lean, six sigma, and lean six sigma. Maturity models represent the spectrum in which organizations operate process management and quality principles. The result of this study should help the organization represent the most suitable methodology based on the comparison of characteristics and requirements of the firm. The interaction of lean and six sigma methods and the environment in which lean, six sigma, or both, are implemented does not preclude analysis and pre-assessment of which method to adopt. This paper will help compare these methodologies on the basis of the goals and the context of the firm and help organizations choose the right approach. Literature review There has always been a lot of research on six sigma since its advent in the 80’s. Various authors have studied various aspects of six sigma in their respective papers. Schroeder, Linderman, Liedtke and Choo (2007) have defined and explained the underlying theory of six sigma very effectively. The paper throws light on the characteristics and elements of six sigma. Comm and Mathaisel (2000) have tried understanding lean characteristics in their paper and explained what Lean does for an organization as a quality improvement methodology. The paper explains the various features of lean which indicate its nature of working continuously towards achieving perfection. This paper also introduces a strategy for organizations to implement lean. Dankbaar (1997) also explains the basic characteristics of lean production. Bendell (2006) has rightly reviewed each of the above strategies of lean and six sigma individually and draws comparison of both the strategies. The paper rightly states that The two
Session ETD 425 are related, but distinct. Six sigma focuses on the reduction and removal of variation by the application of an extensive set of statistical tools and supporting software, whilst lean thinking
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