Learning About Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma: When and Why Should You Use It?

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Just What Is It?

The Six Sigma term is thrown around quite often these days. Many IT and project management professionals know about it but haven’t really worked with it–and so they are not really sure why Six Sigma is so useful.The need for Six Sigma can really be summed up in two words: competitive edge. In this day and age, being ahead of the curve can be a live-or-die prospect for many businesses. Six sigma allows companies to improve their processes and deliver more quality products on time, making for happier, loyal customers.

Six sigma allows you to make drastic improvements in your processes and allows you to focus on customer needs. Created by Bill Smith of Motorola back in 1987 as a way to reduce the number of defects in manufacturing processes, it has grown into a tool that can be used in any type of organization. Six Sigma allows you to identify what the base issue is in your processes when the problem and solution are not known.

Lean Six Sigma

But we still haven’t answered the question: Why do we need Six Sigma? Six sigma is currently the most effective tool to help you eliminate waste within your organization. It allows you to provide the best product to your clients on time and at the lowest cost possible.This will give you a dramatic advantage over your competitors.

Lean Six Sigma is another tool that you can use to get better results as well. Lean focuses on workflow issues. Lean helps you move the product from the supplier to the customer without having it tied up somewhere within the organization. It helps eliminate waste and helps you see things from the customer’s point of view, adding value to the products you offer.

Lean allows you to attack waste by using your workforce’s skills to eliminate waste within the supply chain. If you employ lean, you will be more in-tune with your clients’ needs, putting you in a superior position to all of your competitors.

When Should You Use It?

When should you use Six Sigma and Lean? You should definitely be using it if you are in one of the following situations:

  • All of your competitors are using it, and you’re not.
  • You need to eliminate waste and defects and save money.
  • You want to improve your organization even if it’s running a smooth operation.
  • You want to be outputting more quality work.
  • You don’t want to be the last kid on the block to embrace it and lose out on new clients or even lose current clients.
  • You want that elusive competitive edge.

Using Six Sigma and Lean could be the reason that you stay in business in this ever-changing and tough economic environment. Many companies cannot afford to waste any money, especially on defects that could also lose you customers. Six sigma and Lean allow you the advantages that you need to ride out in an economic downturn or if you just want to keep a step ahead of everyone else.