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Difference Between Lean and Six Sigma

lean vs six sigma

Lean and Six Sigma are the methods used for improving methodologies in business. Both of these methods are very effective and come with slight differences in their approach.

Six Sigma is useful when one has to reduce variation and Lean is useful in curtailing waste. In simple words it can be said that Six sigma is the reduced process variation and lean is improved process flow.

Lean focuses mainly on process flow, whereas Six Sigma is problem focused. While the tool for Lean is concentrated on visualization, the primary tools of Six Sigma are statistics and Maths.

When practising Lean, the following methods are adopted; Identify Value,
Define Value Stream, Determine Flow, Define Pull and Improve Process. When practising Six Sigma, the following methods are adopted: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control.

When comparing the two methods, Six Sigma is more client-oriented. In Six Sigma, the requirements of the clients are well defined. Lean is also considered good as it focuses more on productivity as it eliminates waste.

Six Sigma aims at specific targets in value stream. Lean pertains to continuous improvement. Here in Lean, the waste is removed from Value Stream.

It is really hard to make out a difference between Six Sigma and Lean as they have only slight variations. Though both the methods are needed for an organisation to better its performance levels, the professional practitioners of Six Sigma and Lean are always on a conflict path. The professional practitioners of Six Sigma argue that their approach is the best for enhancing the performance of an organisation while the Lean practitioners also argues in the same way. But the fact is that both the methods are much needed for enhancing the performance of an organisation.

Summary

1. Six Sigma is useful when one has to reduce variation and Lean is useful in curtailing waste.
2. Lean focuses mainly on process flow whereas Six Sigma is problem focused.
3. While the tool for Lean is concentrated on visualization, the primary tools of Six Sigma are statistics and Maths.
4. Six Sigma aims at specific targets in value stream. Lean pertains to continuous improvement. Here in Lean, the waste is removed from Value Stream.
5. When comparing the two methods, Six Sigma is more client-oriented. In Six Sigma, the requirements of the clients are well defined.
6. Lean is also considered good as it focuses more on productivity as it eliminates waste.


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