Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma is a management approach for problem solving and process improvement by combining various tools of Six Sigma as well as Lean Manufacturing. It mainly involves procedures and methods of Six Sigma as the pillar of the system like DMAIC.  Its objective is to propel focused improvements in production by integrating various methods and tools from Lean to decrease inefficient steps and practices.

Lean Six Sigma Tools

5 Whys

The 5 Whys is one of the lean six sigma tools which is applied to define the root cause of organization problems. Usually, it’s used as component of the analyze part in DMAIC. This tool works in a way where we note down the problem we’re experiencing so all the people who are part of the team can concentrate on it with special focus. This tool was invented during the Japanese industrial revolution in 1930’s. This is a very simple method when the problem emerges once more; we get to the source by asking “why” for five times. The why question can be asked more than 5 times, however it appears that once 5 whys questions are explored, we will be in a position to have a clear picture regarding the main cause of our problem within the organization.

5S System

Another lean six sigma tool is the 5S system is a method of unifying our workplace resources to have faster accessibility and improved maintenance. This system is indispensable for reducing waste that is formed by inefficient working units and tools in dissatisfactory form. The 5 S’s comprises of Seiri which means ‘Sort’, Seiton which stands for ‘Set in Order’, Seiso which means ‘Shine’, Seiketsu which stands for ‘Standardize’ and Shitsuke which means ‘Sustain’. Kaizen is also another important tool which means ‘Continuous Improvement’. It is the practice of perceiving, classifying, and applying incremental improvements on continuous basis in the production process. It provides inspiration to every employee for providing their productive input in the course of manufacturing improvements. Kaizen makes sure that waste will be minimized step by step by the combined abilities and understanding of all team members working together to transform the least wastefulness on a daily basis.

Value-Stream Map

Furthermore, value-stream map is also an important one of the lean six sigma tools which summarizes the information and materials essential for delivering product to a client. This tool is useful for organizing the manufacturing process. Mainly value-stream mapping is used in lean manufacturing, however it can be beneficial for business enterprises in nearly all industries. The main objective of this tool is to foresee information like time duration, error level, and preventable intervals in the process. Primarily it involves three different stages which are the timeline, the process map and the information flow. Value stream mapping helps us to find three elements including value-enabling activities, value-adding activities and non-value adding activities.

Kanban System

In addition to that Kanban System is also a significant and well-known six sigma tool. “Kanban” is a Japanese term which means “billboard” and it was created by Taichi Ohno who was an industrial engineer at Toyota. It is a supply chain control system that concentrates on minimizing cost by applying just-in-time inventory control system. The reason of its reputation is attributable to its easy usage and promising advantages. Kanban system establishes boundaries for holding the inventory of every existing business procedure. By doing so it allows space for other resources so they can be used in an improved way. This system operates on a basic and smart notion which is ‘initiating the supply chain only after the demand calls for it’.

Pareto Chart

Pareto Chart is also an imperative tool of lean six sigma. Basically, it is a graphic representation of the Pareto Principle stating that 20 percent input creates 80 percent output in any particular situation. It graphically shows the differences between data groups, letting lean six sigma teams to pinpoint the leading issues in the process. The y-axis characterizes a cumulative percentage and a defect frequency; on the other hand, the x-axis symbolizes the response variables of groups shown as bars like machine parts or machine design. Generally, this chart is often acclaimed as one of the most significant tools in the Lean Six Sigma toolbox as they facilitate teams for discovering the 20% sources that leads to 80% problems in their procedures.


Last but not the least, another important one of the lean six sigma tools is Poka-yoke which is a Japanese term and it stands for ‘mistake proofing’. In this a process employee make efforts to pinpoint and remove the main sources of human mistakes during the overall process of manufacturing. Such as, a poka-yoke might be altering the wording on machine buttons so the workers don’t get confused or it might be introducing a restriction to cell phone devices for safety purpose so that accidents can be prevented.