Those who know Six Sigma are knowledgeable in dozens of different methods to reduce costs, increase revenue, streamline business processes and improve employee buy-in, all of which leads to a better bottom line.
Lean focuses on value through the relentless elimination of waste and acceleration in the velocity of processes. Its origins can be traced to Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company and Taiichi Ohno of Toyota. Value is defined in terms of what is important to the customer. Value-add work is something your customer is willing to pay for. For example, does the task add a desired function or feature to the product or service? Or does the task enable a competitive advantage (faster delivery, fewer defects, lower price)? Non-value work, or waste, includes activities the customer is not willing to pay for.
There are eight commonly known forms of waste that can be remembered using the acronym DOWNTIME: Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-Utilized Talent, Transportation, Inventory (too much or too little), Motion, and Excess Processing. Increasing the velocity of processes is not about working faster, but speeding up the entire end-to-end process or lead time.
Human behavior can be pushed to Sigma levels above 4 through simple checklists, mistake-proofing or poka-yoke techniques, visual management, and standardized work.