The SME author here makes an attempt to debunk the idea that Lean + Six Sigma = “Lean Sigma.” He compares it to trying to cross breed his Cat and his Poodle into something called a “Catoodle.”
An image I created to illustrate this:
Pretty harsh words:
“Six Sigma is not a stand-alone philosophy which the average worker on the floor can embrace, like the Toyota Production System. It’s a management tool for a very select few, certainly not worth the effort required to train an entire workforce on how to use or apply it. Like the Catoodle, there is no Lean Sigma.”
But, In my most recent experiences with Six Sigma people (in manufacturing and at a hospital), I was thoroughly unimpressed with the results of Six Sigma. I saw lots of training and lots of green belt certificates, but few results and no culture change. I’ve seen “analysis paralysis” beyond belief — using complex Minitab and statistical tools to solve a problem (such as materials shortages) that was easily solved in a day using lean tools and common sense (put in visual controls and a kanban system).
I could care less what fancy formulas you use if you can’t fix anything or can’t get results.
One hospital I visited showed me data that showed “the amount of time you waited for cancer treatment did not correlate with patient age.” Why would they have even thought there would e a correlation? How stupid. Just because you have data on 1) patient waiting time and 2) the age of each patient doesn’t mean you should run Six Sigma statistical tests. Was there a reasonable explanation that the cancer treatment center staff was discriminating against older (or younger) patients by making them wait longer?
Episodes like that kill any enthusiasm I might have ever had for Six Sigma.
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