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So Which Is It — Six Sigma, Lean or Kaizen?

Have you ever compared Six Sigma, Lean, and Kaizen? As you know, each serve a different purpose. First, let’s go over the definition of each one of them.

six sigma lean kaizen business improvement process

The Definitions

Six Sigma is a methodology that is data driven and the goal is that all the processes used deliver a constant as close to error free as possible, product or service. It incorporates the practice of DMAIC. DMAIC stands for Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control

Define: Pinpoint the specific issue or problem
Measure: Establish a baseline of the current performance. This will help on seeing the improvement.
Analyze: Find the cause of the problem.
Improve: Identify and implement a solution
Control: Continue to sustain the solution

Lean is specifically for reducing waste. If process is not adding value to the product or service, it is waste. Tools are used in this philosophy and are designed to help in the reduction of process waste.

So what is this term called Kaizen? It really is more of a continuous improvement philosophy, which involves everyone within an organization, from employees and staff to the CEO. It originates from the understanding that nothing is perfect and everything can be improved, including efficiency and performance.

The issue must be identified. The issue or issues could be something that affects one person, and that person could quickly fix that issue, or it could be a larger issue that impacts a large group of people.

When Kaizen is implemented effectively, it can improve quality, safety, and the work environment. Over time, the little changes made with the Kaizen approach will lead to large improvements (hence the idea of continuous improvement).

How do you figure out which tool to use? Well, first you must establish the specific problem or issue at hand. Learn more about these business improvement processes through our Six Sigma training courses.

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