3.17.2009

Six Sigma Vs. Lean

In a recent Industry Week e-newsletter, a Benchmarking Brief indicates that Six Sigma is a significant means of how IW Best Plant Winners improve quality.

YearNoneSomeSignificantComplete
200412%40%40%8%
200513383813
200612364012
20071043435
20081035505

I have a really hard time with the term "completely implemented". I don't have a real firm opinion about this, but I feel like a problem with Six Sigma adoption is its project oriented approach. Not that Lean isn't often viewed in the same light, but Six Sigma is marketed, sold, trained and therefore implemented by specialists.

I know, I know, Lean is rolled out across this country practically the same way. But my guess is that if a company stated that Lean was "completely implemented", it may mean something completely different than "completely implemening" Six Sigma.

With Six Sigma, the perception is that specialists are running the program. With Lean, the perception is that total employee involvement is necessary. What does "completely implemented" look like in either scenario?

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