Category: Analysis

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Concept Explanation

This paper will analyze an article entitled “What is Lean Six Sigma?” that was written by Mike George and Peter O’Rourke in 2011 and posted on Strong America Now website (

Lean six sigma is a waste and cost elimination methodology that traces its roots in the 1950’s. It existed as two separate entities referred to as six sigma quality improvement methodology and lean process efficiency methodology in earlier years. The program combines two ideas of lean and six sigma to achieve process improvement in industries and organizations, and as a combined entity, the program has been in use from the 1990’s. The methodology has since proved its effectiveness in reducing total costs of industries and organizations applying it (George and O’Rourke,2011). Following this, the industries and organization using the methodology have been able to stay competitive since both the lean process and six sigma are complementary (Meredith  and  Shaper, 2010).

In understanding the Lean six sigma methodology, it is important to note what the two main entities that make it up entails. The lean approach focus is mainly on elimination of steps, activities and processes that do not add value hence helps save on costs and time. On the other hand, six sigma focuses on the customers and quality improvement (George and O’Rourke, 2011). It thus follows that combining lean and six sigma results to efficient and consistent organizational processes (Meredith and shaper, 2010).

It then follows that understanding of lean six sigma is very important since many organizations, both private and governmental, are embracing it. This is not only because the methodology saves on costs for business entities, but it also reduces wastage in non business organizations thereby reducing expenses (George and O’Rourke, 2011). Apart from that, the methodology also increases employee involvement and  customer satisfaction which in turn leads to the business being a success (Richards and Media,2013).


When researching, many similarities than differences were noted between what have been studied in the module and the research sources. For instance, lean six sigma, as in the module, is defined as a methodology to improve organizational operations (100% effective training, 2013). Apart from the definition, similarities were also noted in what entails lean six sigma. The research just like in the module was able to note that the methodology entailed two entities, lean and six sigma (Richards and Media, 2013). It was also noted that lean has an origin in the automobile industries (Dietrich and Media, 2013) and that Toyota embraced the system enabling it make huge profits and become one of the largest motor companies in the world (George and O’Rourke, 2011).

It is also important to note that, in both the module and sources researched, both lean and six sigma have benefits but combing the two into lean six sigma results to the most efficient methodology that focuses on both elimination of waste and consistency of the processes. In addition to that, not all organizations embrace but it is a trend that most are seeing as much profitable (Deiterich and Media, 2013). Apart from that, it was also noted that both lean and six sigma as separate entities have certain principles to be followed in order for them to be effective. For six, sigma, these include understanding customers and stakeholders quality requirements and the processes leading to this, involving and equipping the workers in the processes and undertaking a systematic improvement of activities (British Quality foundation, 2013). In leans case, the principles include defining value from customers point of view, identifying the value stream make value flow, have customers pull value and lastly pursue perfection (Meredith and shaper, 2010).

Article Summary

What is Lean Six Sigma?” by Mike George and Peter O’Rourke

Lean six sigma is an efficient and effective methodology proved to have eliminated wastage and saving on costs in organizations. It traces its roots in the 1950’s, but it then existed as two separate entities that make it up, lean and six sigma. The two were enjoined in the 1990’s. The basis of lean six sigma is the DMAIC process that involves the definition of value, measuring the value, analyzing the problem, improving affected areas and controlling.

Lean approach is centered on organizational speed and efficiency in its processes. This is done by identifying and eliminating non-value activities. The approach has its origin in the manufacturing sector and has been popularized by Toyota. Better understanding of the lean approach requires one to define the term “lean time”, also referred to as “lean cycle”. The term basically refers to the amount of time that an organization requires to deliver services or goods to its customers after they have made a request of the same. On the other hand, six sigma approach came about as a result of the need to reduce variations in products and its main focus is on quality improvement. Combining the two creates a very strong, efficient and effective CPI methodology.

Lean Six Sigma Application

The methodology has evidenced to be a cost saving methodology for both profit minded and non-profit minded organizations. For instance, the U.S army has recorded saving up to fourteen billion dollars in its expenses after applying the approach (George and O’Rourke, 2011). In addition to that, it has the potential to increase participation of all workers in the firm processes thus reducing idleness while at the same time reducing costs by minimizing wastages leads to increased business profits. Focus on customer satisfaction may result to increased sales as the satisfied customers will spread the word about the good services. Increased sales will mean increase in profits (Richards and Media, 2013).

In conclusion, to ensure the best service deliverance while at the same time saving on costs, lean six sigma must be embraced by various governmental departments, organizations and businesses (George and O’Rourke, 2011). The methodology would also enable manufactures create more quality products without time waste and at a faster rate to satisfy the consumers (Deiterich and Media, 2013).

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