What is Lean and Six Sigma?

Should you implement Lean or Six Sigma? Yes!

We like a blended Lean Six Sigma approach, where you start off with Lean philosophy and teach employees to see waste. Then as the problems get more complex, introduce more Six Sigma tools and techniques. Starting from the top of the organization, identify the top products and services you offer based on data, then launch Six Sigma projects to dig deeper into those areas, identify the opportunities, and capture successes from any improvements made. For everyone not involved in a project, they should be removing waste from their process every day.

Instead of boring you with lots of words, we’ve compiled a set of videos that give you a good idea what you can do with process improvement. Feel free to use this page as an introductory education for those in your company, agency or organization.

Once you’ve watched these videos, check out the full list of our favorite lean videos and a recording of our Six Sigma Primer workshop

Video #1 – One Piece Flow

The first video gets at the fundamental of lean, that work should be completed one job at a time. Once you start working on a customer request, you should not stop until it is complete and in their hands. Yet, most processes operate with numerous starts and stops due to delays or waiting on information or materials to proceed.

Did you figure out why the “single/one piece flow” approach work faster? It took me a while to figure it out the first time I saw this.

The extra handling (picking up and setting down the envelope, organizing the stack of items, and the movement to and from his workspace causes more delays than the setup between each step (fold, stuff, seal and stamp). This can be counterintuitive for many people. There are situations where operating a process in a batch mode is more efficient (when setups are long), however, the goal should be to reduce the setup time using SMED techniques, instead of continuing to batch.

Video #2 – Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)

Paul Akers, from FastCap, has figured out how to get ALL his employees engaged and constantly looking for ways to improve (kaizen), which is the most difficult thing to do. His passion and his leadership is contagious! He provides us with an example of how he coaches his employees to make dramatic reductions in task times.

Video #3 – One Piece Flow on Boeing 737 assembly (watch directly on YouTube)

Boeing setup their assembly line to operate in one piece flow, which forces them to work on one plane at a time. In addition, since the plane is constantly moving towards the customer at a set pace, it is easy to determine when something is wrong, so resources can be applied to help out, and get it back on track.

Video #4 – What is 5S (Workplace Organization)?

5S is one of the fundamental skills for process improvement, and this video shows how it is applied in a repro center on a college campus, while explaining all 5 steps of the process.

Video #5 – How NOT to do 5S! (Funny video)

To add some humor into the training, we found this video that makes me laugh every time! This is not the way to deploy 5S in a work area. Focus on current problems and how to resolve them, not going after changes that have no tangible benefits (at this time).

Video #6 – What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma can be confusing at times, so we developed this video to explain how Six Sigma applies to golfing, to make it easier to understand sigma levels and variation.

Video #7 – Impact of variation on customer satisfaction

This is an old video, but it shows how variation reduction beyond simply meeting specifications can reduce warranty and reliability costs with your customers

Video #8 – Identifying trends and problems as soon as possible

A video taken at Honda, about how they implemented Statistical Process Control (SPC) control charts and capability analysis. This technique helped them identify a problem with a fixture before it got to the customer (which would have caused greater expense and loss of reputation).

If you found these videos helpful, you might be ready for some of our training materials.

NEW! We are now offering low-cost online training and certification options for Lean Fundamentals, Green Belt and Black Belt

Books We Recommend

  • The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook – Practical reference for team leaders and members implementing Six Sigma
  • Six Sigma on a Budget – How to use Six Sigma tools more effectively, to increase utilization with employees and reduce training time
  • Six Sigma Handbook – Industry standard guide delivers all the information you need to apply Lean Six Sigma techniques
  • Six Sigma for Small Business – Good comprehensive Six Sigma book for beginners, and especially for those working with or inside a small business
  • Six Sigma for Dummies – For the student who wants to learn how Six Sigma works, or the seasoned business professional who needs to get up to speed
  • Design for Six Sigma – How to implement a systematic methodology for enabling the design of products, services, and processes to meet Six Sigma quality levels
  • The Lean Handbook – Comprehensive reference book for those wanting to learn everything they can about Lean and Six Sigma tools

Articles We Wrote

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or would like a free, no-obligation consultation about your work or progress.

Be sure to check out Lean references, articles and books…

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