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What do you use Lean Six Sigma for?【Business Process Improvement!】(Lean Six Sigma)

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What do you use Lean Six Sigma for?【...

“What is Lean Six Sigma used for?” The answer is to improve the business process flow. It can always be applied to repetitive processes such as daily process. This article briefly introduces the flow of the Lean Six Sigma project.

(Duration: 5:14)

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The difference between “Process” and “Project”

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma, Black Belt.

The other day, one of my co-workers asked me “What do you use Lean Sigma for?”  I thought that would be a good theme for this video.  If you have any questions about Lean Sigma, please write it in the comment section below.

What Lean Sigma is used for, frankly speaking, is to improve processes, or to create a new process.  “Process” can also be said as “day-to-day operations”.  You can use Lean Sigma partially in day-to-day operations, but Lean Sigma is usually used in projects.  Then you may respond “Project?  Since I’m a general employee, I’ve got nothing to do with that”.  Please do not think like that.

I’m also a certified PMP, a Project Management Professional.  That textbook says that a project is an activity that has a clear beginning and a clear ending.  According to that, since day-to-day operations are repetitive tasks, so they don’t have a clear beginning and ending.  Therefore they are not a project.  If you only work on day-to-day operations, you have nothing to do with projects.

However, for example, if your boss asked you to do some temporary work, that work would be a project.  Another example, if you intended to make your task better and did trial and error in between your regular tasks and completed the improvement, it would be said that you succeeded in your process improvement project.

Considering those perspectives, we are doing many projects everyday.  You can apply Lean Sigma to all those projects. You can especially make significant results on process improvement projects.

The basic flow of a Lean Sigma project

1) Select a target process to improve.

I’m going to explain the basic flow of a Lean Sigma project. First, among your company’s, department’s or your own tasks, decide which process will be the target process for this improvement project.

In order to clarify the target process better, diagram the current target process. The Value Stream Mapping that Toyota has developed is the best. A Value Stream Map describes only the flow of information and objects and shows you a process, not in detail, but a wide perspective overall.

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2) Clarify the CTQ, Critical To Quality.

Next, who will decide whether the final product of the process is good or bad? That person will be the customer.  The customer might even be internal stakeholders sometimes.  Then, you will decide the most important measurable factor item that measures the quality of the process. This is not the most important to yourself, but to the customer.  We call it CTQ, Critical To Quality. This is the most important point. If you set the wrong measurement item, it will be a tragedy. You will surely fail in your project.

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3) Design the ideal process and transform from the current one to the new process.

Then, diagram the ideal process that should achieve optimization of the CTQ. Of course, there is a gap between the current process map and the ideal process map.  While always looking at the CTQ measurement, transform the current process to the ideal process and hand the new process over to the day-to-day operations manager. This is the completion of the Lean Sigma project.

I know this explanation is very rough. Lean Sigma has a lot of powerful tools for each phase of a project. I will continue to talk about these topics in more detail in the future. If you like my videos, please click the subscribe button. Thank you for viewing.

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<< Mike’s Comment >>

I’ve mentioned something about this in my first video.  Before I started uploading videos, when I searched for “Lean Six Sigma” in Japanese on YouTube, the result was only one video.

I was shocked, but I also thought “If I upload my own video, it will be on the top page in the search results, won’t it?”

Since I’ve now uploaded eight videos in English and Japanese on YouTube, all my videos are shown on the top page when you search for “Lean Six Sigma” in Japanese.  I took a screen shot of that, for the memory.


However, there’s more competition In English, so my videos are buried in there somewhere.

In today’s video I’ll explain some examples of Lean Sigma usage.  I hope this will help you visualize a little better what a Lean Sigma project is like.

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