Lean is a core part of Lean Six Sigma, and involves removing inefficiencies from your systems and processes by removing Muda (waste), Muri (overburden) and Mura (unevenness). It is about concentrating your efforts on what gives value to your customers, and removing everything else.
What are the ‘7 Wastes’?
The key aim of Lean is removing the 7 wastes from your company, as these are the main ways that you waste money, time and effort. These are:
- Transportation – moving goods / people between different locations
- Inventory – having more stock than is required, tying up money which could be used better, getting in the way and potentially decreasing in value
- Motion – more activity in a process than adds value
- Waiting – time when goods are not being worked on and people are not creating value
- Overproduction – producing more end product than is required
- Overprocessing – processing that doesn’t add value that the customer needs
- Defects – costs from unusable products, or rework costs
An optional 8th waste is:
- Potential / Skills – staff working below their maximum capacity
By removing these wastes from your processes when designing your procedures, you can greatly improve the outcomes of your Six Sigma projects. There is more information on the 7 Wastes (Muda) page.
There are some useful tools that can be borrowed from lean for using in your work / Six Sigma projects: