Lean and six sigma: Better Together

Six Sigma and Lean Methodologies,

are often used interchangeably. Both processes are in essence continuous improvement processes that work towards the same goal of making organisational workflows more effective, reducing waste and driving out inefficiencies.


Lean is a bottom-to-top approach which encourages the members of the organisation to identify deficiencies or wastes in the process. Six Sigma, on the other hand, is a top-to-down approach that requires experts to understand processes, collate data and analyse it for possible problems.

Used together, lean and six sigma offer an alternate perspective and blend together to provide collaborative solutions based on experience and data as shown in the figure below.

Here’s how lean and six sigma overlap to mutually benefit each other:

  • Reduced operational cost: Waste from any cause leads to increased cost and both methods help reduce waste, thereby economizing the product and bringing down the cost of operations.
  • Increased quality: Streamlined and standardised processes are the outcomes of both lean and six sigma. These reduce chances of potential defects and thereby quality loss. Higher quality products save money and time.
  • Increased productivity: Addition or removal of a step or modification of a process can improve productivity and reduce defects. Both lean and six sigma are known to employ methods that elicit positive process changes, thereby increased productivity.
  • Higher number of satisfied and loyal customers: Both methods are customer-centric and gives organizations a competitive edge.
  • Improved employee morale: Both methods offer a standardized training and improved workflows along with offering the employees a voice, which together are known to boost morale and improve productivity.



Although lean and six sigma use different tools and techniques and different ways of getting to uncover challenges and implement changes, they both ultimately have the same end goal viz., to help organisations reduce waste, improve productivity and customer satisfaction.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *