When to Use Lean and When to Use Six Sigma?

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The two well-known methods are Lean and Six Sigma. These approaches are well known for their capacity to improve productivity, cut waste, and improve overall organisational performance. However, choosing between Lean and Six Sigma necessitates being aware of their differences and advantages. In this blog, we will explore the Difference Between Lean and Six Sigma and offer guidance on when to apply each strategy successfully. This book will assist you in making decisions, whether you’re thinking about enrolling in Six Sigma Course or trying to optimise your processes.

Understanding the Difference Between Lean and Six Sigma

Let’s define the key distinctions between Lean and Six Sigma before exploring each method’s specific applications. Both techniques seek to increase productivity and simplify procedures, but they approach the task from significantly different directions. 

Lean Methodology

Lean or Lean Manufacturing, or Lean Thinking, aims to find and remove waste from processes. Anything that doesn’t add value to the finished good or service is considered waste in this sense. It takes many different forms, including excess inventory, overproduction, pointless wait periods, and more. The Lean methodology maximises workflow, reduces interruptions, and guarantees resource utilisation. 

Six Sigma Methodology

Six Sigma is a data-driven strategy that focuses on minimising errors and variances in operations. It adheres to a methodical approach to problem-solving known as the DMAIC cycle (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control). Six Sigma attempts to improve processes to a point where errors occur infrequently—roughly 3.4 per million opportunities—by employing statistical analysis and measurement techniques. 

When to Use Lean

A lean approach excels when you wish to cut out superfluous operations and build a more effective workflow. It works particularly well in manufacturing, construction, and healthcare sectors that deal with physical processes or actual goods. Lean is the way to go if your objective is to shorten lead times, improve resource utilisation, and maximise overall operational efficiency. 

Imagine a manufacturing plant that struggles with an overabundance of inventory and protracted production pauses. The facility may locate bottlenecks, lower inventory levels, and make sure that work flows smoothly from one step to the next by implementing lean concepts. In addition to increasing production, this lowers the expense of keeping surplus inventory.

When to Use Six Sigma

Six Sigma is the methodology of choice when it comes to enhancing product quality while simultaneously reducing the number of faults and variances. It is particularly useful in fields like healthcare, aerospace, and electronics manufacturing, all operating in an environment where even a marginal departure from the expected result can have substantial repercussions. Six Sigma is a methodology that can offer your company the resources to methodically handle problems like reoccurring difficulties, faults, or inconsistencies if your company is experiencing these issues. 

Imagine a situation at a contact centre where a growing number of customers complain about the variable quality of the service they receive. The concepts of Six Sigma call for the collection and examination of data to identify and eliminate the factors that contribute to deviations. The call centre will be able to provide customers with an experience that is more reliable and pleasant if these issues are addressed and data-driven solutions are implemented. 


Your organisation’s specific objectives and problems are the primary factors to consider while deciding between Lean and Six Sigma. While the Lean methodology emphasises minimising waste and optimising process flow, the Six Sigma approach centres on using data to drive decisions on quality improvement and defect elimination. Both approaches have shown effectiveness across a wide range of sectors and have resulted in extraordinary achievements. It is vital to analyse your organisation’s requirements before moving forward with any of the two approaches. Do you have problems wasting resources, being inefficient, or not using your assets? It’s possible that becoming lean is the answer.

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