LEAN and Six Sigma are complementary strategies to satisfy customers. On the one side, LEAN eliminates waste from your processes and provides a tool set almost everybody in your company can apply successfully. On the other side, Six Sigma reduces variation in your processes and supports to have products and processes in specification a customer desires. Although there is a lot of synergy between LEAN and Six Sigma, a study from “The Avery Point Group” shows that since a couple of years companies are looking more for LEAN talents than for Six Sigma talents. There are four good reasons for that.
Regarding the infographic from “The Avery Point Group”, in 2013 the demand for LEAN talents exceeds the demand for Six Sigma talents by 24% and the demand for LEAN talents has been even stronger in the previous three years. There are four good reasons for this effect:
- LEAN is easier to learn and understand for employees without a mathematical or engineering background. Lower educated people can be integrated easier in professional teams.
- LEAN can be applied without having a huge amount of (statistical) data. Therefore LEAN can also be applied in small sized companies where strict process definitions and collecting data is not that critical for business success.
- LEAN supports more than Six Sigma a cultural transformation by introducing a Kaizen culture.
- LEAN shows faster results in (manual) assembly industries than Six Sigma does.
It looks like Six Sigma is beaten by LEAN, but this might be a temporary impression. More and more of the world becomes automated. Processes become more and more complex. This will automatically lead to more complex problem solving and break through strategies … and Six Sigma will be back as complementary part of LEAN.