A SAM Group Company � � by Rohit Ramaswamy, Ph.D. Oriel Incorporated, A SAM Group Company Do you belong to an organization that has been imple- menting Six Sigma methodologies for several years and sud- denly are beginning to hear conversations about “Lean Six Sigma”? Or maybe your organization has trained shop-floor staff and supervisors in Lean techniques, and now you are hearing about different colored “Belts” that have nothing to do with those on your machines. Or perhaps you are just beginning to implement process improvement in your orga- nization, and the old Six Sigma conferences that you used to attend are now being repackaged with the word “Lean” in front of them. If you are feeling some confusion about the transformation of Six Sigma into “Lean Six Sigma,” you are not alone. Ever since Michael George of the George Group wrote his books about how Lean and Six Sigma methods are complementary and can be used by organizations to increase throughput and reduce defects (for example, see George’s Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma Quality with Lean Production Speed 1 ), books and articles about Lean Six Sigma have prolif- erated. Six Sigma conference producers have added the “L” word to every presentation topic on their agendas, and much to everyone’s bafflement, topics such as QFD or DFSS are making a new appearance dressed as “Design for Lean Six Sigma” or “Lean Quality Function Deployment.” In the midst of this activity, we have noticed that practitio- ners need more information. Those on the receiving end of “new-and-improved” methodologies have very practical questions related to the number of new tools they need to learn, or any additional training burden they should plan for. Those responsible for implementing Lean Six Sigma or for transitioning to an integrated methodology are interested in the details of deployment: how to successfully integrate two complementary, yet different, methodologies without causing undue organizational stress. And finally, senior management is interested in the payoff: how can we ensure that the orga- nization will benefit from the best aspects of both approaches without independent parallel investments in implementation and training? In this paper, we attempt to address some of these practical issues about successful Lean Six Sigma implementation. We start by describing some of the key principles of the two approaches, and what makes them compatible. We then describe different approaches that organizations have used to integrate the two methodologies and the advantages and limitations of these approaches. And finally, we present our own approach that addresses some of these limitations. We wish to warn in advance that we are not presenting any magic formula for seamless integration. We have found, as many others have, that Lean Six Sigma comes in many forms depending on the organizational context, the maturity in applying © 2007 ORIEL INCORPORATED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 800.669.8326 1 A S K T H E E X P E R
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