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    The Advantages and Disadvantages of Lean Six Sigma

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    While concerns seek for ways to last and besides to stay competitory in a altering planetary environment, they either choose following concern excellence theoretical accounts or uninterrupted betterment doctrines to steer them in the journey of organizational excellence. Thin Six Sigma is a new comprehensiveness in the country of uninterrupted betterment, which constitutes strengths and cardinal focal points of Lean and Six Sigma approaches.The intent of this paperaˆ¦.. Will be addressed in this paper.

    The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: subdivision 2 provides an penetration on the constructs Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma. Then relevant illustrations of Lean Six Sigma in fabrication and service sector will be presented in subdivision 3.The advantages and disadvantages of Lean Six Sigma will be discussed in subdivision 4. Last, an overall review on the topic is done.

    2.Literature reappraisal

    The aim of this subdivision is to supply an penetration of the Lean Six Sigma by briefly sketching the constructs behind Thin and Six Sigma, the two ingredients of this blend, along with their strengths and unfavorable judgments.

    2.1 Thin Approach

    Thin fabrication, developed by Toyota Motor Corporation in 1950s, has been adopted and adapted by many companies ( Finch,2006 ) . It so extended into a construct of ‘Lean believing ‘ that was introduced by Womack and Jones.The current province of Lean is called ‘Lean endeavor ‘ that reaches beyond the store floor and encompasses assorted sections within the administration as a whole ( Papadopoulou and Ozbayrak,2005 ) .

    Dale ( 2007 ) defines Lean as “ a manner of thought, dwelling of a set of methods and runing rules to place and extinguish waste in concern procedures ” ( Dale,2007, p.565 ) . While for Ferguson ( 2007 ) Lean is a alteration that takes an administration from where it presently stands and travel to a coveted province. Briefly, the aim of Lean is to extinguish all types of unneeded waste by pull offing resources depending on clients ‘ demands and at the lowest possible costs ( Andersson et al. 2006 ) . In other words, “ making more with less ” ( Thomas,2009 ) .


    There are 5 rules of Lean ; supplying right merchandise or service for the right monetary value and clip to client, designation of value watercourse, smooth flow of procedures, merely client ‘s demand trigger the action and in conclusion continuously better to value watercourse in chase of flawlessness ( Dale,2007 ) .

    The first measure when implementing Lean is to place value-added and non-value added procedures ( Pepper and Spedding, 2009 ) by Value watercourse function ( VMS ) which is a qualitative analysis tool. Other tools and techniques from the Lean Toolkit such as Single Minute Exchange of Die, 5S, TPM etc. are used in order to accomplish above-named rules. Whereas, it should be noted that utilizing these tools and techniques merely, does non vouch a ‘Lean administration ‘ ( Bendell,2006 ) .


    In the literature, there are many unfavorable judgment subjects on Lean where the most popular 1s are about its catholicity and societal facets.

    It has long been argued that Lean is non flexible ( Andersson et al.,2006 ) and non applicable to all environments but merely to high volume-low assortment ( HVLV ) operations. Writers like Arnheiter and Maleyeff ( 2005 ) specify this position as one of the cardinal misconceptions whereas Pepper and Spedding ( 2010 ) refer it as a limited success of Lean in their work.

    There is a common misconception caused by the misinterpretation of the construct that Thin means laying-off people ( Arnheiter and Maleyeff,2005 ) . However, Flinchbaugh ( 2001 ) , Arnheiter and Maleyeff ( 2005 ) emphasis that Lean does non intend “ less people ” but utilizing people in a smarter manner.

    David Meier ( 2001 ) who is a Senior Lean Manufacturing Consultant, argues that Lean creates a nerve-racking, uncomfortable environment due to sense of urgency while guaranting an immediate response to clients. On the other manus, Papadopoulou and Ozbayrak ( 2005 ) , and Williams et Al. ( 1992 ) take the opposite position.

    2.2 Six Sigma Approach

    Six Sigma, which is developed by Motorola and popularised after the acceptance of General Electric ( Finch,2006 ) aims at value creative activity and bettering the procedure through fluctuation decrease ( Dale et al,2007 ) .Six Sigma inherits rules from TQM ( Arnheiter and Maleyeff, 2005 ) while puting focal point on client satisfaction. In statistical footings, the end is to accomplish a defect rate of 3.4 per million ( Pepper and Spedding,2010 ) .

    This structured, top-down attack has a positive impact on concern in pecuniary footings since it reduces hazard and costs ( Slack et al. , 2006 ) particularly related with bit and rework. Due to realised benefits, many administrations have adopted Six Sigma today.


    DMAIC ( Design, Measure, Analysis, Improve and Control ) is the most normally used 5-stage methodological analysis which is employed to accomplish minimal defects and to cut down the fluctuation throughout the procedures in an administration ( Bhuiyan and Baghel,2005 ) .

    The attack is on project footing and these undertakings are carried out by trained supervisors called Black belts and Green belts ( Bendell,2006 ) .


    “ Six Sigma has long been seen as a statistics-heavy, proficient attack to treat control ” ( Pepper, Spedding, 2009, p.145 ) . Bendell ( 2006 ) supports this position and criticises Six Sigma due to its inclination towards being a complex attack.

    The preparation of Black Belts and Green Belts is required in order to be able to utilize statistical tools and manage the undertakings efficaciously. Senapati ( 2004 ) references that these preparations and solutions to jobs can be dearly-won for many concerns.

    Bendell ( 2006 ) states that there is no formal nexus to policy deployment in Six Sigma. Since Six Sigma undertakings are chosen depending on their cost-effectiveness, it is possible for this “ cost-down ” attack dominates the primary client driven focal point. and may switch it to cost-down possible to be dominated by immediate cost down driver ( Bendell,2006 ) .

    2.3 Similarities and Differences between Lean and Six Sigma: The point of intersection -overlapping countries ( kume AYekli )

    The intersection point: Similarities-The country of convergence

    Both attacks have related operating doctrines, public presentation aims, work focal point, squad attack and betterment focal point ( Watson,2003 ) .

    Thin Six Sigma

    Since Lean Sigma or Lean Six Sigma ( LSS ) is a comparatively new direction tendency, there is non much literature available comparison to the information and facts found about Lean and Six Sigma entirely.

    Recently, many companies have started to unite uninterrupted betterment plans together by using the best of each enterprise to acquire an extended and more effectual plan than single plans ( Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005 ) . Therefore, Lean Six Sigma is evolved as a intercrossed methodological analysis that encompasses benefits from both Lean and Six Sigma ( Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005 ) . Watson ( 2003 ) defines the merge between Lean and Six Sigma as a ‘marriage of necessity ‘ . The aim of this integrated attack is hiking quality and reduction costs through riddance of waste and fluctuation decrease ( Kamensky,2008 ) .

    The beginnings of Lean and Six Sigma come from different roots nevertheless they both have an purpose of bettering the procedures of a concern. It has been shown that the benefits achieved with LSS can non be achieved when using Lean or Six Sigma entirely ( Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005 ) . This data-driven attack enables sustainable competitory advantage if decently applied ( Burgess,2009 ) .

    In the study of John Maleyeff ( 2007 ) to IBM Business of Government, LSS is defined as:

    Thin Six Sigma encompasses many common characteristics of Lean and Six Sigma such as an accent on client satisfaction, a civilization of uninterrupted betterment, the hunt for root causes, and comprehensive employee involvement.In each instance, a high grade of preparation and instruction takes topographic point, from upper direction to shop floor.

    It is now being realised by many concerns that Lean is more powerful and meaningful when combined with Six Sigma and frailty versa ( Watson,2003 ) . Many concerns in both fabrication and service sector including GlaxoSmithKline, Xerox and Dell turned to Lean Six Sigma and achieved important benefits ( Neuhaus and Guarraia,2007 ) .

    There has to be a careful blend of Lean and Six Sigma that brings two extremes into equilibrium. One terminal is going excessively Thin therefore being really antiphonal to the market whereas the other terminal is excessively much focal point on cut downing fluctuation beyond the outlooks of clients ensuing in unneeded resources being wasted to accomplish zero fluctuation ( Pepper and Spedding 2010 ) . The optimal point is where market portion is maintained by making sufficient value in the eyes of a client and the procedure fluctuation is kept indoors acceptable degrees to accomplish lower costs without over-engineering ( Pepper and Spedding 2010 ) .


    George ( 2002 ) states the rules of LSS as “ the activities that cause the client ‘s critical-to-quality issues and make the longest clip holds in any procedure offer the greatest chance for betterment in cost, quality, capital, and lead clip ” .

    Focus is on client demands as in Six Sigma and besides on velocity as in Lean, in order to be antiphonal to market by shortening lead times.

    It should be noted that there is no standard model of LSS that concerns can take it and use measure by measure for a specific job. In other words, there is no “ one tantrum for all ” since it depends on the state of affairs and besides the environment within a company. However, there have been some efforts sing different ways of implementing LSS in the literature and industry. Some writers argue that it would be more effectual when Lean is used as a first measure smoothen the procedure by extinguishing waste and so run the DMAIC rhythm. Another position is to implement Lean tools within DMAIC rhythm as it can be seen in the work of Kumar et Al ( 2006 ) . Thomas et Al. ( 2009 ) besides proposed a similar model where basic Thin rules are integrated in each stage of DMAIC method.


    Since it is a new comprehensiveness in the country of direction, LSS has become the mark of unfavorable judgment in the literature. Bendell ( 2006 ) suggests a individual attack that efficaciously combines the two doctrines instead than an alleged combination ( Pepper and Spedding,2010 ) .

    Another unfavorable judgment is about the compatibility of these two attacks. Mika ( 2006 ) argues that Six Sigma can non be embraced by the workers in the store floor since it requires an effectual usage of statistical tools and techniques unlike Lean. In contrast, George ( 2003 ) outlines several points that Thin regards Six Sigma and frailty versa.

    Furthermore, since LSS is an integrating of two different attacks there is a possibility that one dominates other throughout execution.

    Some writers and practicians see this new uninterrupted betterment enterprise as the latest direction craze. However, Westwood and Silvester ( 2007 ) argue that these attacks such as Six Sigma, Lean or Lean Six Sigma are non crazes but they are critical for bettering and prolonging competitory advantage.

    As opposed to positions about the negative societal facets of LSS, Burgess ( 2009 ) strongly disagrees that it does non back up creativeness and turns people into automatons chiefly due to increased work load.

    It has been argued that the uninterrupted betterment enterprises including LSS are non working good in small-to-medium-sized endeavors ( SME ) due to miss of critical success factors such as committedness from top direction, deficiency of apprehension of tools and techniques and deficiency of fiscal capableness ( Thomas et al. 2009 ) .

    3. Findingss

    In this subdivision, an effort is made to show illustrations sing the application of Lean Six Sigma in both fabrication and service sectors.

    Manufacturing houses were the early adoptive parents of LSS. Then, it was embraced by the service sector in the 1990s ( Kamensky,2008 ) . Halliburton, which is one of the universe ‘s largest oilfield suppliers, began to implement Lean Six Sigma in 2004, in response to the growing in demand with the intent of being able to react client demands by increasing efficiency and bettering client service ( Atkinson,2009 ) . The sum that they used to bring forth in the fabrication workss is tripled as a consequence of decreased rhythm times and high use of their equipments. Halliburton besides encouraged its supply base to follow the same scheme so that a synchronism can be achieved in footings of being more antiphonal to the market ( Atkinson,2009 ) .

    The chief ground to implement LSS attack in Caterpillar Inc. was to derive competitory advantage by discovery betterments. As a consequence of advanced merchandises, their grosss had grown by 80 per centum ( Byrne et al.2007 ) .

    Another noteworthy illustration would be Xerox Corp. , which was holding jobs with its long filing clip for patents so foremost of all the root causes of holds were identified. To extinguish these non-value added stairss, Xerox Lean Six Sigma squad carried out DMAIC, and came up with a solution which reduced the rhythm clip of 64 yearss and saved $ 400,000 in overall clip ( Xerox Corp. Brochure,2009 ) .

    National Grid, who is a client of GE Fleet Services in the UK listened to the voice of its clients and applied Lean Six Sigma to cut down the clip spent running ( publishing and pull offing ) order prompts ( Fraser and Fraser,2008 ) .This undertaking is an illustration of a well-applied Lean Six Sigma method in a service sector in footings of accomplishing expected consequences in a timely manner ( Fraser and Fraser,2008 ) .

    In the work of Kumar et Al. ( 2006 ) , the execution of LSS in a die casting maker is resulted in a important lessening in the figure of defects occurred in the concluding merchandise and an overall nest eggs of around $ 140 000 per twelvemonth.

    Apart from the success narratives, National Health Service Modernisation Agency ( MA ) in UK, is a well-known failure instance of LSS. In 2004, Six Sigma together with Lean implemented in NHS to better procedures and quality ( Proudlove and Moxham et al. , 2008 ) . Whereas, due to miss of well-designed procedures, deficiency of support and ill-defined nexus between concern scheme, it resulted in failure ( Montero,2010 ) .

    4. Discussion

    In visible radiation of the findings and reappraisal of literature, the advantages and disadvantages of LSS will be discussed in this subdivision.

    It is believed that this integrated attack will convey better consequences when the structured and systematic attack of Six Sigma came together with the legerity of Lean with a focal point of client in the Centre ( Antony et al,2003 ) . Despite some positions reasoning its effectivity, in theory, by incorporating the best of Lean and Six Sigma, the result would be satisfactory or even delicious both from the administration ‘s and the client ‘s point of position that creates a “ win-win ” state of affairs.

    Harmonizing to Arnheiter and Maleyeff ( 2005 ) , if Thin houses adopt Six Sigma rules, costs incurred by faulty merchandises such as rework or bit costs and the related operating expense costs can be reduced. Likewise, when Six Sigma companies adopt Thin rules, faster lead times and bringings can be achieved.

    Antony et Al. ( 2003 ) outlines four major benefits of implementing LSS as ; “ going faster and more antiphonal to clients, endeavoring for Six Sigma capableness degree, runing at lowest costs of hapless quality, accomplishing greater flexibleness throughout the concern ” ( Antony et al.,2003, p.41 ) .

    Companies that have successfully implemented Lean Six Sigma have gained considerable benefits in footings of increased stockholder value and market portion. Based on the illustrations of several companies given in the Findings subdivision, these benefits are provided in dollars.

    On the other manus, a recent Bain & A ; Co.survey of 184 companies, shows that 80 per centum is dissatisfied with the consequences they got from their Liter attempts because they have non achieved their ends in both pecuniary footings and degree of betterment ( Neuhaus and Guarraia,2007 ) .

    Because it brought many advantages to prima houses, it does non connote that every effort will be success or that every house is ready for this enterprise. Basu ( 2001 ) outlines the trouble of prolonging a procedure betterment plan even it may be successful in the beginning. Therefore, this state of affairs causes employee layoffs and a lessening in employee morale ( Basu,2001 ) .

    Despite being a powerful engine for concerns, the necessity of high accomplishments to be able to utilize relevant tools and techniques is seen as one of the failings of LSS ( Montero,2010 ) . This factor is seen as a critical requirement for the successful execution of LSS. Though, the preparation and necessary investing can be dearly-won to some companies. Therefore, this state of affairs may restrict its pertinence. Unless a necessary alteration within the concern is done including cultural facets, mentality of employees together with the full committedness of top direction, the consequence will be a failure.

    5. Decision

    Many concerns in assorted sectors have late started to follow LSS either as a consequence of an external force per unit area or due to unequal consequences achieved with their current methodological analysis applied ( internal demand ) .

    Benchmarking plays a important function in making a voguish environment in the market where companies follow the ‘giants ‘ and seeking to follow the best pattern in order non to be ‘obsolete ‘ .

    Although, this integrating is seen as a craze by some writers and practicians

    The construct was emerged as a response to market demand.

    This merge between enterprises

    Regardless of the uninterrupted betterment scheme that is chosen to follow, there is a common land that no positive consequences can be gained without an equal support, and attending across the concern.

    There are still some exposed countries of LSS for farther research or no 1 knows what is following.

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