Which of the Process Improvement Disciplines is Best?
Organizations looking to enhance operations, cut waste, and maximize customer value often communicate a business process improvement disciplines, like Six Sigma, Lean or Kaizen. Because Anexas offers solutions that support the implementation of those, and other, process improvement methods, we are often asked which one is that the best. To explore that question, let’s study the principles and strengths of every.
Kaizen is more of philosophy than a selected tool. The word, in Japanese, simply means “good change” or improvement. Adopting a Kaizen mindset means acknowledging that everything are often improved and made to perform more efficiently and with better quality. The Kaizen approach are often applied to small opportunities for improvement addressed by individual, front employees, or to larger more complex problems which are addressed by teams and sometimes called, “Kaizen events.” Kaizen is a perfect every-day philosophy for organizations. It leverages the insight of employees the least bit levels to spot and act on opportunities for improvement, big or small.
Lean may be a business philosophy and methodology that's focused on improving business results by identifying and eliminating waste and maximizing the worth delivered to customers -- delivering the simplest quality on time or as quickly as possible. Any energy, money, and time that are used on processes or activities that don't provide value to the customer are targeted for reduction through various methods. Practitioners use a range of tools including value stream maps, and gemba walks to prepare the advance effort. Lean provides excellent tools not just for improving existing processes, but also for designing and developing processes when there aren’t any processes in situ or when major overhauls are necessary.
Six Sigma is an approach to limiting defects and variability in business process so as to realize quality outcomes. It offers two project methodologies, DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) and DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, and verify). These are supported the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach made popular by W. Edwards Deming. Six Sigma is right for optimizing and maintaining processes that are generally effective to start with.
So Which is Best?
So which one is best? It's kind of a trick question, and not necessarily the correct one to ask. The question is valid, it’s but a small amount like asking, “Which tool is best?” it'd be a hammer or it'd be a screwdriver; it depends on whether you're trying to hold an image or fix a loose doorknob. Each approach is similar temperament for various situations and problems.
The important thing is to pick the right tool for the job. Or to combine them, as many of our customers do.