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What is the Difference Between Lean and Six Sigma

Tina Agustiady, LSSMBB, Lean Management Consultant, MetLife, Tampa, FL, USA


Many people want to know what the difference between Lean and Six Sigma is.

It should be known that the two methodologies go hand in hand and need each other to survive properly. Lean has methodologies around waste removal, organization, and being more productive.

Six Sigma is structured around eliminating defects and variation utilizing statistics.

In order for Six Sigma to be incorporated properly, the beginning stages of Lean must be incorporated which include the organization and 5S perspective and the elimination of unnecessary activities and waste.

Lean includes problem solving, standardized work, error proofing, value stream mapping to incorporate proper layouts, and visual management techniques.

Six Sigma uses strategic analytical statistics to prove data is incorporated properly to tell a story that makes sense.

Six Sigma will also then start picking strategic projects and allocating resources towards the projects.

Both Lean and Six Sigma revolve around increasing profitability, adding value, and having a competitive advantage.

Both methodologies also must have top management buy in and participation in order to be successful.

Through all phases of the Six Sigma DMAIC phase: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control, Lean is incorporated in to reduce waste, balance workloads, and have proper flows for the processes while improving the entire process as a whole.






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