While Lean is generally about eliminating waste and speeding things up, Six Sigma is a methodology for process optimization using statistical techniques. Historically, Six Sigma was much more than a method for optimization. In many cases, it became a holistic approach to process excellence. But in the era of Lean methods, Six Sigma today has been taken back to its roots as a step-by-step approach to optimization.
Lean Six Sigma was conceived in the early 2000s and was popularized by Michael George’s book of the same name. The concept of Lean in combination was still, at its core, Six Sigma, with the Lean addition taking on two different meanings depending on who you talked to. In one case, it was about leaning out Six Sigma: getting through Six Sigma projects faster (they historically took 6+ months which was absurdly long). In the other case, it was about first applying the principles of Lean to a process to remove non-value added steps, then focusing optimization using Six Sigma on the essential remaining steps. In truth, the best approach pursues both objectives.
Six Sigma is a proven methodology for data-driven decision making. Learn about the history, roles and roadmaps.
With a long history in performance excellence, we believe in a holistic approach. Learn about our framework and how it compares.