Overview of Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma is fast becoming a highly sought-after skill set in most industries due to its proven track record of improving business process capability, helping to develop future leaders and increasing the bottom line. Achieving Lean Six Sigma certification through Six Sigma training workshops, provides employees with the resources and perspective they need to elevate their personal and professional skills while supporting business transformation.
Lean is a methodology and tool kit to eliminate waste by reducing process time and increasing flow. Six Sigma is a methodology and tool kit to improve process capability by reducing process variation. Together Lean Six Sigma reduces process waste and variation to create a chain reaction of improvements to staff morale, product and service performance, customer satisfaction and ultimately to profits and shareholder returns. This dynamic duo provides a powerful methodology and skill set to be more effective as well as efficient.
History of Lean Six Sigma
Developed by Motorola in the 1980s, Six Sigma has proven itself to be a practical, robust and scientific approach to process quality improvement and control. Through their internal Green Belt and Black Belt training, Motorola reported savings of $2.2 billion dollars in a four-year time frame after implementation. Motorola subsequently released the methodology openly, resulting in many corporations such as Texas Instruments and General Electric becoming champions of the process. Six Sigma has continued to grow becoming one of the most widely adopted quality methodologies in all types of businesses worldwide.
Six Sigma follows the DMAIC process, which provides a step-by-step problem-solving framework. The problem is first Defined, then a Measurement is taken, the data is then Analysed, and Improvements are planned and implemented. The new process is then Controlled to ensure the improvements are secured.
The most effective implementation of Six Sigma is in processes that are:
- Very repetitive;
- Relatively stable or have the need to become stable, and;
- Have measurable inputs and outputs.
As well as a highly effective problem-solving methodology, the Six Sigma process places a large emphasis on the Control of processes. Statistical Process Control (SPC) is a tool within the Six Sigma toolkit, which allows processes that have been brought into control to be monitored. This helps to ensure that when an abnormal change is detected, an appropriate reaction is taken early enough to prevent the creation of a defective product.
The Six Sigma process is very powerful, but it takes a significant amount of training and experience to ensure that the tools are used correctly. Every project and every process have a different set of requirements for the application of the Six Sigma toolkit, so the Six Sigma professional continues to improve their skills in every project they are involved in.
A Six Sigma belt framework of Yellow, Green, Black, Master Black exists to define levels of Six Sigma understanding and there can be a significant amount of variation in capability between individuals within each belt.
The most successful examples of Six Sigma implementation are from organisations that have a controlled structure of professionals within each belt and have a culture of support for the Six Sigma methodology at all levels of management. Six Sigma projects are continually assessed, monitored and reported and individuals are supported to build their skills, while delivering cost savings for the business.
Benefits to the Individual
- Lean Six Sigma is a globally recognised skill set that is highly sort after by employers
- Developing a proactive mindset to continually improve
- How to use the various tools and methodology of Lean Six Sigma to Define problems, Measure the impact, Analyse the root causes, implement solutions and Control the outcomes (use DMAIC methodology)
Benefits to the Organisation
- Staff with Lean Six Sigma problem solving and project management skills to drive improvement projects
- Increased staff engagement, motivation and empowerment to cultivate a culture of continuous improvement
- Improve business top line by adding greater customer value through better quality, delivery and competitive pricing as well as improve business bottom line through cost reduction in process waste and variation
Vative has a unique offering to certify our Lean Six Sigma participants. The Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt programs offered by Vative offers a choice of Lean Six Sigma certification that is both a National Accredited Qualification and an International Certification. We are yet to discover any provider that offers this dual certification option.
This unique offering is made possible as Vative Academy is a Registered Training Organisation (TOID 70227) accredited through the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to deliver Nationally Accredited Qualifications Australia wide. Together with our partner LSSSP, Vative also offers the Internationally Certification, which then provides are participants with a national and international certification.
Vative’s Lean Six Sigma program material and certification standards were developed with the help of Motorola University. Vative is the only Lean Six Sigma provider in Australia who was exclusively chosen by Swinburne University to deliver a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt unit as part of Swinburne University’s Master of Supply Chain Innovation Course. This shows the integrity and excellence of Vative’s program material, program facilitators and its quality of program certification.
“It’s an absolute must for any manufacturing business in Australia to become more efficient, otherwise we will just lose more jobs to overseas companies. I firmly believe Lean is the only way of competing… It’s very simple, the tools are provided and it’s explained in a way staff can understand. Vative are very easy to work with.”
Tim Richardson – Eastern Australian Manager, Black Duck
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Lean will have a significant impact on improving the culture and morale within your organisation. However, it is important to understand that there may be underlying reasons that cause the problem. A key requirement for Lean to improve culture and morale is leadership and management commitment to the programs. During a Lean program, Vative uses a 3-phase approach to improving culture and morale. We start at the organisation’s roots, where we focus on understanding common beliefs (knowledge and experience) across the organisation. Once beliefs are understood, we move onto understanding the attitudes that are consequential to beliefs. Behavioural change can only take place once attitudes are aligned and common beliefs and goals are shared across the organisation. This is part of the Vative Lean process and has proven to be successful by many of our current and existing clients.
Vative has a commitment to ensure that each and every one of our attendees have a comprehensive understanding of the course materials and can implement Lean confidently. Vative’s prime offering is consultancy and hands-on work. Therefore, when our facilitators are not conducting Lean Six Sigma workshops, they are on-site implementing Lean for clients such as Toll, Jetstar, Kmart, Coles, Bosch, Melbourne University, Government organisations and more. They can relate to your industry through hands-on experience. Our workshops are tailored to suit the backgrounds of our attendees. We provide real life examples and simulations that help cement the learnings, as well as post-workshop coaching. We believe in providing you with the best possible Lean Six Sigma training available and ensuring you not only have a globally recognised certification, but the ability to actually implement Lean Six Sigma correctly. Our credibility and quality of service is just one of the reasons why we are certified by the LSSSP (Lean Six Sigma Society of Professionals) and deliver our content to the Motorola University Standard.
Individuals who are mandated to implement change and improvement within their organisation are deemed suitable candidates for Lean Six Sigma or Lean Practitioner Training. In our experience, Directors, Partners and Managers are most likely to undertake the training first and then recommend it to their team. Individuals within these roles are deemed suitable candidates for Lean Six Sigma or Lean Practitioner training, however the training is open to individuals across all backgrounds and roles. We have seen significant outcomes when Lean Six Sigma and/or Lean Practitioner training is undertaken across an entire organisation. See our Case Studies section for more information.
The difference between Lean Practitioner and Lean Six Sigma training is in the level of focus that is emphasised on Lean principles. Lean Practitioner training is solely focused on Lean principles and is all about efficiency and reducing waste in an organisation. During Lean Practitioner training, participants are taught how to utilise a number of Lean tools and are placed in a simulated production line environment where they can see the before and after state through Lean implementation. Lean Six Sigma training focuses heavily on problem solving, as it is primarily a data driven, problem solving methodology, which aims to eliminate defects in any process. Lean is also covered during Lean Six Sigma training as a high level overview. Participants will be challenged through a simulation and work their way to perfect accuracy through the usage of Lean Six Sigma tools. If you’re having difficulty deciding what course is best suited for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice on 1300VATIVE (82 84 83).
Lean and Six Sigma are two separate, yet somewhat similar methodologies. The term ‘Lean Six Sigma’ is simply a combination of the two methodologies and is generally how it is referred to today. In the 1990’s, the two methodologies, (Lean and Six Sigma) were brought together to create one powerful framework. Lean is about eliminating waste in order to maximise and improve efficiency. Six Sigma is a data driven, problem solving methodology, which aims to eliminate defects in any process. Together, they create a very powerful framework for continuous improvement, thus the demand for Lean Six Sigma was formed.
When an organisation becomes more efficient, it immediately begins to improve profitability through an increase in capacity and lower running costs. Some organisations receive a return on their investment within the first month of their program, whilst others take longer. A number of factors come into play, such as the size of the organisation, the initial level of inefficiency, the ‘low hanging fruit’ (the quick-win opportunities) and many more. With any Lean business improvement program that is commenced through Vative, all of these factors will be discussed in the beginning and programs will only commence once both parties agree to the expected outcomes. Our work is only complete once you are satisfied. As an organisation we stand by this level of trust and professionalism. Therefore, if you’re concerned about ROI, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 1300 VATIVE (82 84 83)
These terms are simply short for saying ‘Lean for a particular industry’. For example, Lean Manufacturing is referring to ‘Lean’, tailored to suit a manufacturing environment, whereas Lean Office is somewhat different in its execution and tailored to suit the Office space. Vative have different divisions that separately specialise in each of these areas.
What is Lean? To put it simply, Lean is a process improvement methodology, developed since mass production at Ford began in 1910. It was, however properly established by Toyota afterwards. It is a framework for creating efficiency and a culture of continuous improvement through the eradication of waste. Waste, in Lean terms is a reference to wasted time and resources spent on tasks that do not add value to the customer or the business. Waste can appear in many forms, but some of the obvious ones are time spent looking for tools, long changeover times, re-work, inefficient processes, excess overtime, disorganisation and non-standardised work. Businesses often save millions of dollars after implementing Lean and vastly improve workplace culture throughout the business transformation. It is applicable to all industries and workplaces such as factories, warehouses, depots, hospitals, offices and more.
A key Lean principle is ‘measurement’. Everything is measured in order to continuously learn and improve. When developing a Lean program, KPI’s and targets are always set. Vative in particular, will set targets from the beginning and work with you until those targets are reached. Our job isn’t completed until you get a return on investment (ROI). Furthermore, the difference will be evident both visually and from a data perspective. It is an exciting journey to watch and take part in.
No, there are no prerequisites to start your Lean Six Sigma training. All we ask is that you approach the Lean Six Sigma training with an open mind and the drive to initiate change within your organisation. We recommend that participants start from the foundational steps and work their way up. There is a requirement that all participants undertaking a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Program completes a Green Belt Program first. This is because the content covered in a Black Belt Program may be difficult to grasp without a Green Belt background.
In some cases, subject to eligibility criteria and availability, you may be eligible to utilise government grants that appear under the business improvement banner. The Australian government has a number of assistance programmes that have been designed to support businesses of all sizes and industries. Vative can provide assistance around general questions relating to eligibility and program options that are best suited for your organisation and business improvement plans. We can manage this entire process for you. Contact us on 1300 VATIVE (82 84 83) for more information.